The boom of digital animation in Colombia

The boom of digital animation in Colombia
The boom of digital animation in Colombia

Digital animation in Colombia is experiencing a historic moment. Never before have there been so many export talents, specialized studies and artists gaining recognition in the international industry, with several of our artists in important firms such as Sony Pictures, Hulu or even Pixar, in addition to the top quality productions that are made in the country.

This decade has been the stage in which Colombian animation finally overcame the technical and aesthetic barrier to stand out for its quality.“, says Julián Sánchez, director and executive producer of Dinamita Animación, one of the many success stories in this industry boom.

Founded more than 10 years ago by Julián himself, a professional in Audiovisual Production from the Manuela Beltrán University, Dinamita has been a pioneer in bringing Colombian animation to the international stage, with significant milestones such as its participation in the remake of the series Animaniacsfrom the hand of the Titmouse studio for the Hulu streaming platform, the acclaimed Love, Death and Robots from Netflix, in addition to his participation in the production of the famous animated series for adults Rick y Mortyfrom Adult Swim, which is, for many, the most important animated show worldwide in recent years.

“We attended an event called La Cumbre, organized by the Mexican festival Pixelatl. There, they gave us the opportunity to raise our hands and do an animation test for that very popular Adult Swim series. The studio liked the test so much that they decided to make us part of their production team,” says the artist.

Featured Studies

But Dinamita’s success is not an isolated case. Sánchez points out that Colombia has managed to become an important provider of animation services for the global audiovisual industry. Daniel Vélez, founder of the Colombian animation studio Bombillo Amarillo, agrees with this. He recalls that “historically, Colombians have been neither producers nor consumers of animation, since the few of us who started out started with advertising. Making an animated short at the beginning was already a lot and we started with the subject those of us who liked to draw and wanted to make a living drawing, what we didn’t know is that it was so difficult”.

The growth of the industry has been driven by state calls for proposals and Ministry of Culture programs, which finance pilots that are then sold abroad. A prominent example is the study ZincoTools, who created the series Juaco vs. Pacowhich received investment from Cartoon Network and in 2021 it became the first Colombian digital production to be broadcast by the renowned children’s channel.

Similarly, Sánchez mentions other Colombian studios that are doing remarkable work in the animation industry. Insert Coin, under the direction of Camilo Escárragais one of them. “They make very good quality 3D animation, they have very interesting workflows and clients, and they are also betting on creating their own content,” highlighting the production of projects for world-renowned brands, such as music videos for the dolls. Polly Pocket y Barbiein addition to the web series of MatchboxIPs from the American toy company Mattel. In addition, they are in charge of the series Cocomelonwhich has more than 2.6 million subscribers on YouTube and has even made the jump to Netflix.

Another studio that has had a significant impact is Bombillo Amarillo, who do 2D animation, have opened a 3D animation department and “are generating a very interesting movement in job creation and the professionalization of animators’ profiles.”

Based in Medellin and headed by Daniel Vélez, Yellow Bulb stands out with projects such as the series Zooñadores, Flashlight or the short film Celio and the Butterflyamong others. In addition, since the Covid-19 pandemic, the studio has grown by leaps and bounds, going from having 30 employees in 2020 to more than 70 and billing close to $4.1 billion.

“The pandemic gave us a big boost, because at that time the need for content grew and they started looking at the region, since before they only looked at China and India. They started sending us tests to see if we had the capacity and that’s how we’ve all been growing,” he says.

It also stands out Piragna, who are the animators of the popular children’s character Frailejon Ernesto Perezwhich is a good example of commercial success and audience education, a milestone in this segment in the history of Colombia.

Great artists

As for individual creators, both artists and leaders of important studios highlight the work of Carla Melo Gampert, creator of the short film The dogwhich has been acclaimed at several international festivals, including its official participation in Cannes, in 2023.

In this segment it also shines Estefanía Piñeres, director of the short film Color-idowith a history in important industry events, such as the Montreal International Animation Film Festival, Pixelatl in Mexico and the Animafilm International Animation Festival in Baku.

This without forgetting the work of many more Colombians who have made a name for themselves abroad, such as Luis Uribe Córdoba, from the staff of the international studio Pixar, creators of films such as Intensely 2, Lightyear o Elementsin addition to Andrea Roncancio, who has worked in productions such as Spiderman: Across the spider-verse and the series Arcane of the universe LoLwhose history you can read at this note.

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