On a set of more than 20 square meters that represents a cave, a mythological two-headed griffin of six meters cohabits with a flying fairy of barely 10 centimeters; in another room, a girl places hair by hair on the leg of something that looks like a tarantula and, in another, a group reviews what has just been shot frame by frame on the computer.
There is a mechanical crane in the forum, completely Mexican-made, used to position the camera and bring it closer to the characters, as well as another national invention that, by adapting a drill, works to move everything with precision and agility.
The brothers Arturo and Roy Ambriz supervise them. And they are happy because they are making the continuation of Frankelda, an original series made entirely in stop motion and whose first part was released a few months ago on Cartoon Network and now is available streaming on HBO Max.
El stop motionwhich took to the air in Mexico for “Pinocchio” by Guillermo del Torois the animation technique with puppets manipulated to the millimeter so that, by taking 24 photos per secondgive the sensation of movement.
At his 30-something years of life, the Ambriz brothers have made 240 minutes counted between seriesshorts and other productions, equivalent to almost three feature films.
“I think we are late in Mexico with that, because I can’t believe that in 2023 Not a single Mexican stop motion film has been releasedwhen there are other countries that had theirs in the 70s and 80s”, considers Arturo.
Is right. Few have dared to dabble in the technique. In Mexico there are no official figures for stop motion production, even in the short film it is rare who occupies it. last year in pixelatl festivalsspecialized in animation, as well as the one from Morelia, only two participated, being plants die tooone of them.
There are no allusive academic mechanisms either. Just with the creation of Chucho’s workshop, driven by Del Toro and where five minutes of “Pinocchio”, courses have been developed. Mexico could obtain part of the Oscar that the film from Jalisco receives, without a good bet on this technique.
“We see ourselves in the need to generate new artists”says Angélica Lares, director of the Workshop, knowing that the technique is going to explode.
Rene Castillo and Luis Tellezwho were part of the Mexican team of “Pinocchio”For now, they are the ones who have been closest to making a feature film. Castillo, who in 2002 captivated with his short film Down to the bone and you won at Annecythe most important gender contest in the world, has spent more than a decade trying to establish the kingdom of thingshis debut feature.
The delay was first due to economic issues, then allying with a Chinese company. The other was that after seeing Del Toro’s harshness when it comes to scriptwriting, he reviewed his and saw that he could still improve it, because in technique, says Téllez, Mexicans do not ask the rest of the world for anything.
He has spent a six-year term with Inzomnia, a film where he will tell theor what would happen if a pill could keep people awake for 24 hours. It’s been animated for about 20 minutes now.
The rest is intended to be finished in El taller del Chucho, in Guadalajara. “Now that I put it in comparison (with what he did in ‘Pinocchio’) we weren’t doing so bad, we were getting to the same thing, not with these toys (technology) that of course will help. The difficult thing to raise the money”express.
Very expensive? No! The Ambriz brothers consider that one of the problems for stop motion in Mexico is the belief that it is expensive. They have shared budgets for their productions with other live action productions and it is practically the same cost (about 20 million pesos).
For the continuation of “Frankelda”, which has been in the works for half a year, they have 75 people working between the different departments, 80 characters (more than a hundred puppets) and around thirty sets: “Although here the difference is that these are works that travel, are translated into different languages and make it easier to recover the investment”Roy says.
They are now in the process of “The Ballad of the Phoenix”, which would be his tape to which Gael García Bernal has already uploaded to give voice to one of the characters. Other stop motion animators in Mexico are Rita Basulto (“Rain in the eyes”), Karla Castañeda (“Jacinta”), Sofia Carrillo (“La casa triste”) and Juan José Medina (“Cages”)
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