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Xosé Zapata Pérez

Xosé Zapata Pérez
Pitching: Polka Dot Zebra

What is the biggest problem facing the animation industry right now?
In production there is a lot of variety and democratisation in many countries, with low budgets, but I am concerned about distribution – it is still dominated by few companies. In the short term, the industry is growing and developing many business areas. But in the medium term, cinema and animated series will have a problem if they don’t get new audiences like Pixar did at the beginning of the 20th century.

What is your company doing in response to this?
We are very small – we survive and that is enough. The problem in the European industry is survival. We do not have the economic conditions to compete with India, China or the US. The creativity or originality of European animation does not pay the salaries of animators. We at Sygnatia are content to survive in one of the countries with the worst conditions and worst support for animation: Spain

How do you see the increased impact of the metaverse on animation?
We tell stories – technique is important – but the stories come first. We cannot believe the metaverse is going to solve our problems. It is a business that will be controlled by giant companies and technology companies. Our job is to tell stories and transmit the best values to our children and our audience. I believe technology companies do not seek that – they are products of savage capitalism and only seek short-term benefits with few moral or ethical values. That’s why I think the metaverse is not an end, it’s just a means for Meta and other big companies to make money.

How do you work with YouTube Kids and is it a platform that supports high quality animation producers?
We do not work with YouTube Kids. Yes, [it supports high-quality animation] but I have seen many friends ruined by changes in YouTube rules. When you are in the hands of a company like YouTube, you are not independent, even if it seems you are. Depending on a single provider is never good. YouTube Kids is making agreements with broadcasters such as [Spain’s] TVE – that is a way for small companies to collaborate with YouTube and not be toys in its hands. With the support of national television channels and institutions, it is possible to regulate the relationship between small producers and giants such as YouTube.

Tell us about the project you are pitching at Cartoon Forum.
Polka Dot Zebra (42×5’) is a small series supported by Televisión Española (TVE-Clan) and coproduced by Sygnatia in Spain and Bro Films in Portugal. We are looking for a third country, preferably Italy, to complete the financing and start production. The series is about a lit¬tle zebra who, instead of stripes, was born with spots and learns that being dif¬fer¬ent is not only nor¬mal but actually makes life more fun.


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