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Lluis Gomez

Buñuel and animation as a technique, not as a genre.

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Buñuel and animation as a technique, not as a genre.

26 April 2019, premiere of “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles“, the latest film co-produced by Hampa Studio, with Sygnatia, Glow and Submarine.

This film is the maximum Spanish exponent of the argument that animation is not a genre but a technique. This is how they understood it at the Malaga Film Festival where it was nominated for best film, winning the critics’ award for best film, best first film and best music.

Official banner of the film “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles”.

Brilliant animation

The animation of the film is exquisite and refined, nothing strange knowing that it has been directed by the great Manuel Galiana. From the beginning Manuel knew exactly what he wanted. “A very sober animation, with no fuss or useless movements”.

The animation, sometimes in “twos” (a drawing every two frames), “threes”, even “fours”, reduces the fluidity of the movements, moving away from the style of children’s animation and towards a style more typical of films for adult audiences. The effort of the animation is invested in achieving very powerful poses, expressions and good acting, which gives a lot of strength and life to the characters, reinforcing the story itself. This style of animation is the key for the spectator, from minute 1, to stop paying attention to the animation and focus on the wonderful story directed by Salvador Simó.

Thanks are due to Manuel Galiana for treating Spanish viewers as a culturally mature audience, capable of understanding the animation style and at the same time forgetting about it. This puts us on a par with French and Japanese cinemas. Impossible to achieve without the generosity and humility of Manuel, who clearly puts animation at the service of the story.

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Critical acclaim

We are very happy because the public and the national and international critics have not only understood this, but have been full of praise for the film and the animation. It has to be said that among the hundreds of good reviews there was one that defined the animation as “not very fluid” and “clumsy”. It amuses me to think that there must have been someone who thought that the animation of Spirited Away was not very fluid and that Sorolla‘s brushstrokes were rough, but we can’t ask everyone to know everything, can we?

Animation is not for you

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Animation is the most wonderful profession in this world, the closest thing to being God that a job allows, because we have to give life to inert and invented beings.


Although it does have some downsides. It’s not a very serious job, it’s very demanding, you have to work long hours, it’s not well known by the general public, you have to study constantly, you don’t earn a lot of money (compared to other jobs in the audiovisual sector), it’s not a job that gives you enough stability to go crazy about, and finally, it’s very difficult to put down roots somewhere. It’s the classic job that every parent would try to keep away from their child.

There are many animation schools that, in view of the summer, are going to launch their next promotion soon.People, this profession is totally vocational, if you are one of those students about to take off in the world of animation and you have entered this sector looking for stability and money, animation is not for you!, you have made a complete mistake, but hey, don’t worry!, from Hampa Studio we give you a brief guide on how to last four telediarios in this sector and so you can get to work in the Mall or as a stock boy in the supermarket. (I don’t know if they are better, but of course they will always be more stable jobs than ours).

Please follow these points, don’t leave any of them out and start saying goodbye to your animator career.

1 – Don’t be humble

You must always think that you are the best in the world and that you know everything.

It is always frowned upon the airs of grandeur and even more so coming from juniors. Please take out your pride whenever you can, if you don’t know how, watch a show like Women and Men and vice versa…, it always helps.

People will start to make fun of you… Perfect, we’re on our way!

2 – Have little respect

We spend more time in the studio than in our own home, therefore, try not to show any respect for the work of any colleague (whether in the animation department, lighting, production… or whatever). The less respect you have, the less good vibes there will be, the less creativity will flow and the more it will be noticed in the final result, and we kill two birds with one stone because, having created bad vibes, the work will have suffered, the viewer may become bitter towards us and probably the studio will not be able to get any benefit from the production.

If you try too hard at this point, the crew leads will start to suspect you of being undesirable. Good, good… The first part of the plan is finished. Don’t worry, the next few points will remove all suspicion from them!


3 – Have little enthusiasm

Another very important thing is: have NO enthusiasm for what you are doing. If you are working on a short film, a movie, a series, a spot or an animation cycle for a video-game, no matter how small or how big the project is, you have to hate what you are doing, and you have to show it!

Whatever we’re doing is going to take a lot of time, we’re going to be working long hours, sometimes with a lot of pressure, nerves, weekends, etc. The best thing you can do is, to all this, add constant complaints and a bad attitude so that everyone else catches it and ends up just as burnt out as you are.

Come on, cheer up, you’re doing great, the atmosphere in the studio is starting to get a bit stale 😉 and I’m sure the supervisor has realised that you’re the classic bad apple… great!

4 – Be selfish

Selfishness is the quality that will sink you in the world of animation. Be selfish with your time! If you need to spend more hours in the studio to finish a shot, don’t do it, fuck them! There’s nothing more important than your free time on the couch.

Be selfish with your work! If by order of the supervisor someone has to finish your plan, for whatever reason, don’t accept and immediately apply point 1: YOU are the fucking master, and nobody is able to finish that plan better than you.

If you have to take someone else’s shot, be a diva and say that the shot is a mess and you have to redo the whole thing, and of course you don’t have time (Mario Bros is waiting for you at home). Animation is generosity, do the opposite.

If you’re still in, the atmosphere in the studio is starting to get a bit stale and people are getting tired of you…, you’re hitting the nail on the head! ;).


5 – Be a bad partner

Our partners are our family, try not to help them in anything and less when they are in trouble.

At some point, a creative block may cause you to miss your daily or weekly goal. As you have not helped anyone, no one will help you, and therefore you are ready to apply point 4: go home and fuck the shot, maybe it will do itself. Don’t forget to tell this last point to your supervisor. He’s going to love it.

Ok, you’ve already pissed off the supervisor and all your colleagues…, this is going great!!!

6 – Never be self-critical

Don’t watch any animation, don’t look at what people are doing out there, they’re all shits. That mentality will help you to quickly get out of any studio that you step in.

If, for whatever reason, you don’t even get fired…, please, don’t forget to reinforce that behavior with excuses like: “of course, with time it can be better…” or “with what Pixar’s people charge, that’s the way it is…” etc.

If you have reached this point and have not yet been fired, you are very close, you just need a little patience.

7 – Be uncomfortable

When it’s time for daylies or reviews, you have to be very defensive. It is the perfect moment to bring out your character. There’s nothing better to get the shit kicked out of you than being uncomfortable, making bad faces, making bad gestures or having defeatist and defiant attitudes when they are explaining a retake to you.

Please don’t forget to have a bad attitude so that the supervisor will consider you impossible.

8 – Bring your overgrown ego from home

When facing a retake or coming up with ideas, you have to defend your own idea to infinity. Even if you see that what they are telling you works better, NEVER admit it. Argue as much as you can, to the point of exhaustion, if possible.

Animation is a team effort, but you think you are Cristiano Ronaldo and move on. You don’t need anyone.

Probably, if by any chance you’re still going, the supervisor will pass you by and they’re giving you minor shots to keep you entertained while they look for a replacement (a monkey with a keyboard) before kicking you out.


9 – Don’t be interested in improving, what you know now is more than enough

Never have the spirit of self-improvement. A good friend of mine, Jaime Maestro, says that “when an animator faces an animation he has to think that he is doing it for himself”. Don’t pay any attention to him, think that you are doing it, you are doing it for filthy people who are taking advantage of you, stay stuck and fuck the others!

If they haven’t found your replacement yet (because the zoo is closed), they will have already made you the most absolute vacuum, both colleagues and management…. Super cool, we are very, very close!

10 – Don’t be proactive

Each project has its own characteristics and, sometimes, you have to adapt to the time and resources available, but do NOT adapt, say that what you are asked for is impossible and that’s it. Do not consider other possibilities or think of alternative solutions. Think that deadlines don’t go with you, pass them by!… and as it is most likely that you won’t make the date, say “…that’s just not the way to do things…”.

At this point, I don’t even think they expect anything from you, in fact…, it would be a miracle if you were still in the studio. But don’t slack off, apply this point mercilessly, so that people will hate you to death. Try to hide pencils and other sharp objects, what you want is to be kicked out, not to have your heart cut out and set on fire.

11 – Don’t contribute anything

When you are given the briefing for your plan, do what you are asked to do but do it mechanically, don’t contribute anything, don’t interpret or bother to understand what you are being asked to do and why you are being asked to do it. Don’t do your part.

This is the last point. With this I guarantee that you will go “out the front door with both ears and tail!!!” or in the “accident and crime” section of the news.


Well, these are the 11 most important points so that your career as an animator begins and ends almost the same day and so you can prepare yourself well for a public competitive examination, and have a more stable and secure job. And in your free time don’t forget to post in the animation forums, saying what bastards the studios and production companies are. Do it day in and day out, lest some clueless studio wants to hire you back and you have to start all over again.

Alex Cervantes

Director – Hampa Studio

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