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Luis Matta Almeida

Luis Matta Almeida
Sparkle Animation
Pitching: Biriki

What is the biggest issue facing the animation industry?
From when we start a show to its air date, the audience we were targeting could be as many as four years older. There are so many caveats to what could happen during the production window, and kids develop faster than anyone, so the toughest thing is to keep a show relevant during the whole process.

What is Sparkle doing in response to this?
We can track children’s interests by using technology, and we’re also looking at scientific studies done by academics. Being able to see ahead helps us manage uncertainties and analyse networks and trends, so we can define our priorities.

Are physical animation studios essential or is working from home the future of the industry?
Studios have worked with home-based freelancers for a long time, so we’re used to it. You can get great professionals who don’t want to emigrate for whatever reason. Freelancers working at home existed before the pandemic, but it’s definitely increased. Some work, however, has to be done in person, so studio space isn’t going to go away. What I think will happen is we’ll move to a hybrid situation that will save costs.

How do you feel about Disney’s decision to close many of its TV channels around the world?
I think this is just the beginning – other channels will soon follow suit. It’s been on the horizon for a long time and has accelerated, of course, because of the pandemic. Most kids don’t watch linear TV regularly nowadays, which causes advertising to migrate to online platforms. It’s no longer enough to be a TV programmer – you have to be a media programmer who can take a TV show and turn it into a multiplatform project with greater commercial value. This is a challenge for producers, as we now need to think of our projects as simultaneous with other media coverage.

Tell us about the project you are pitching at Cartoon Forum.
Biriki (26×7′) is a show that has been successfully developed in workshops with children in various places around the world such as the US, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, India, Nepal and Portugal. It’s based on an Italian book series by Bruna Ferrazzini, which was first published in 2003 and has since become a global initiative aimed at restoring kids’ confidence during the pandemic. Children’s self-esteem took a hit during lockdown and we want to give them their power back. Swiss-Italian prodcos RSI and Cinedokke are also helping make the series under patronage from Amnesty International.


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