Peruvian Animation, Features and the Lack of Short Films

Peruvian animation is young. VERY YOUNG.

It didn’t start in the 1910s like in Japan [1][2] or didn’t become a massive cultural phenomenon alongside Walt Disney. Peruvian animation didn’t developed through history with the zoetrope, a magic lantern or a flip book. Peruvian animation gave its first major step in the year 2005 when a CGI movie called Piratas en el Callao (Pirates in Callao) — not to be confused with that little Disney franchise Pirates of the Caribbean (Piratas del Caribe, in Spanish) — hit our local theaters.

The movie was horrible [1], I don’t even want you to look at the trailer for how awful it was. But by then, Pixar had already given us films like Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, so… as unfair as that comparison would be, it was just disheartening.

As a Peruvian who truly loves animation and grew up with it, I have a wish very deep within me — I want Peruvian animation to be good. Seriously, no kidding. I also have very deep respect for new animated features and I try everything out. I’m even willing to see where Chinese animation is going with things like Legend of a Rabbit, though I still haven’t found a copy of the elusive The Dream of Jinsha (夢回金沙城).

Two years ago, I wrote a post titled (Re)evaluando la Animación en PerúRe-evaluating Animation in Peru (sorry, only in Spanish), in which I talked about the over-saturation of modelers in the Peruvian animation market, and the lack of actual animators with a background in traditional animation. Obviously, the issues within the Peruvian animation industry aren’t solely based on the technical aspects of their products, but at the core of the problem lies… storytelling.

But that, of course, is a whole other issue for a whole separate post.

Technically speaking, of course, Eduardo Schuldt has improved from his work in Piratas del Callao to his most recent work in Los Ilusionautas, which is the first second Peruvian film to be presented in 3D — 3D tag on the poster, 3D glasses and all.

— EDIT —

Cinencuentro points out that this is actually Schuldt’s second 3D feature after Lars y el Misterio del Portal.


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

12 Responses

  1. Mirella says:

    Oh Peruvian Animation… I know it’s unfair to compare because it’s the industry is in diapers, but ugh, it obviously shows their animators are not actors. I saw LARS Y EL MISTERIO DEL PORTAL some time ago, and while the modeling has become decent, the illusion shatered the moments the characters moved :P It didn’t look natural at all, the same with the facial or body expressions. Then there was that awful script and the cringe-worthy way they delivered the lines. It seemed to be done by dudes trying to be cool and failing hard :P And finally the story, it kinda didn’t made sense, but it could have worked, I mean the “rule of cool” works if you do it right… it wasn’t.
    So yeah, I think you need a post also on why the Peruvian animation has crappy storytelling. I mean, I can accept less than perfect animation just fine if the story is compelling enough to make me forget about it.
    Also yeah, they should make some short films. See how they do, make and effor in animation and storytelling :P

    • amy says:

      @Mirella, yeah – but that was a whole issue entirely.

      I mean, if you take a look at the trailer for The Dream of Jinsha (or the poster), you are going to think “OMG, this looks so freaking beautiful” but from the reviews I could find, it seemed the storytelling was all over the place. LOL

      Then you take things like the first Hoodwinked, and you kinda think… things can look clunky, but at least they can be kind of funny.

      But as animation — as in CGI — gets more and more “easier” to put in the market, one has to get more and more discerning. Clunky animation is just very hard to not care about because there are other 15 productions that don’t have clunky animation.

      So like I said… that’s an issue for a whole different post xD

  2. I agree with you whole-heartedly. Though I can’t speak from experience (neither being an animation student nor seeing a Peruvian animated film), I can attest to the fact that before one can go into the fray with the big stuff (CGI, 3D, etc.) one MUST have the fundamentals. I believe in order for directors to ensure that their work is up to snuff to even be released in theaters, they need to work out the technical kinks first and make the work presentable.

    I mean, I know doing side projects, shorts, etc. doesn’t bring in cash. But if you’re spending tons of money on an animated feature and on reputation alone people aren’t buying tickets, you’re losing money anyway. Why not invest your time and effort into moulding your craft so you can make features that are worth while to your audience? Like you said, the biggest animation studio in the world (Pixar) had a very bumpy ride before Toy Story came out…Peruvian directors should take heart from that and just work at it until it produces something fans will actually want to see. Especially being a baby medium…? It needs to be nurtured before it’s just flung out of the nest in search of an audience.

    • amy says:

      @Camiele White, yeah. But that’s a problem with the actual “animation school” system here because they don’t teach you to animate, they teach you to use the software. As far as I’m aware, people are not taught how to develop a story, how to develop characters or the basics of storyboarding and camera shots. There are no acting classes, so most people… which happens usually with all new animation students, aren’t really loose to goof around.

      So in the end, people know how to use Maya or AfterEffects or Flash.

      Obviously, the quality of the renders also suffer because of budget constrains… but that would improve if they get to work on more stuff for less time. Trial and testing via short films would make their learning process easier, and they could focus on the little things.

  3. ghost says:

    This is what happens when you’re a businessman first and an artist later. Ha! Animators suffer for their art… especially in places like Japan.

    • amy says:

      @ghost, yeah I read that Japanese animators are very underpaid compared to the actual salary of people in Japan of course. I was surprised considering how big we think the industry is there.

      In other news… Dreamworks in thinking about a studio in Shanghai. Maybe to produce or some others are complaining it might be to outsource. Hope the latter doesn’t happen.

  4. Camiele says:

    @amy, See. and that’s why YOU wrote this article and I didn’t…HaHa!

  5. I am not a “produced” writer, nor an animator, but my love is storytelling. The world’s response to my stories so far has been “I enjoyed that, but no money for you.”

    If anyone in Peru or anywhere else is willing to take a chance on my writing, I will probably let them try.

    • amy says:

      @Andrew Garrett, I have no idea how to get in contact with Alpamayo any longer :( their website is over and they don’t have a FB page. But I did find an animation studio called Aronnax which apparently is behind Ilusionautas. Here’s their website in english.

  1. July 31, 2012

    […] Peruvian Animation, Features and the Lack of Short Films [en] Filed under Chinese, Drawings, English, Jobs, Sharing, Short Films and tagged animation, animation school, china | Leave a comment […]

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