First animated 3D feature film, Menique, finally ready in Cuba

OnCuba magazine talked to Esther Girzel, director of ICAIC's animation study and executive producer of the film; Ariel Blanco, its producer, and Padron, its scriptwriter.

Why did you choose to make this movie in 3D?Esther HirzelThe magic mirror was the only character designed in 3D since the beginning given its complexity, but then the background didn't match. After that, the idea was to make the characters in 2D, but that didn't match either. Then, in 2008, we decided to make it all in 3D. Events led us that way. Little finger is a Finnish story, a French writer turned it into literature and Jose Marti added a few elements to the story when he translated it for La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age). We also added a few elements, as a free version we maintained the central plot but we made some arrangements so that this would be a stronger story because the Little finger we all know always succeeds, here he has to make a living, so the plot is more complex. There are new characters, diverse characterizations of other characters, and shifting figures. The script was enriched with allegories to the Cuban and Latin American cultures, as well as the production, which shows a mix of the Middles Ages with the colonial and contemporary periods in Cuba.It is a beautiful story that shows us that knowledge is more powerful than strength, which made us embrace this dream and hold tight to it. We started to work on this idea in 2005, but with traditional animation in paper, we were just starting to learn how to work with computers in this new studio. The idea gradually evolved given the development of the digital industry which pointed us that we could also use computers for this endeavor, so we included digital animation, which speeded up the production. However, it went all the way around, it took us a lot longer. In the preparation stages we began to get to know 3D animation techniques and for the sake of innovation and update and relying on the human talent we started dreaming higher and decided to produce it in 3D in 2008. One year training was enough to include computers. It was still a 2D project but after getting in touch with and developing 3D products we wanted to mix several animation styles in the movie. That was our purpose, during its production we decided to make it entirely a 3D film.

Why has it taken so long?The biggest setback was mastering the new technologies. 3D animation demanded more technology than we had available, so that delayed us considering the existing difficulties at that time to purchase the technology required.

Read the rest of the interview here