Mummies_dir Juan Jesús García Galocha_Credit 4 Cats Pictures SL, Anagu Grup SLA, Moomios Movie AIE 2021

Source: 4 Cats Pictures SL / Anagu Grup SLA / Moomios Movie AIE 2021


Producer Jordi Gasull from Barcelona-based 4Cats Pictures is behind some of the most remarkable Spanish animated hits of recent years.

His most recent success story is Jesús García Galocha’s Mummies, which was handled internationally by Warner Bros and garnered a total global box office of over $50m. Other notable titles include Tad The Lost Explorer And The Secret Of King Midas, and Capture The Flag, both directed by Enrique Gato and made with partners Edmond Roch’s Ikiru Films and Nico Matji’s Lightbox Animation. 

Directed by García Galocha and Pedro Solís, Buffalo Kids is the new animation film from 4Cats Pictures and is featured in the Annecy Presents showcase this year. Gasull talks to Screen about sustaining Spain’s animation boom, explores the factors contributing to the success of Mummies and reveals his upcoming project with Warner Bros.

Jordi Gasull

Source: 4Cats Pictures

Jordi Gasull

The last few years have been brilliant for Spanish animated cinema, but do you get the impression audiovisual servicing is being prioritised over the production of original content?

I don’t entirely agree. For example, Sergio Pablos is an immensely talented artist who has created his own IPs (like Despicable MeSmallfoot, and Klaus) which only Hollywood can absorb. And this, in some way, is also good for us. Another symptom of this country’s growth is that the US’s Skydance Animation has just been set up in Spain through Ilion Animation [Planet 51]. I think we are in a good moment. What we need is the ability to aspire to larger budgets to compete on equal terms. Sergio Pablos could easily be working at any studio in the United States, but he chose to establish his own studio [SPA Studios] in Spain.

As you have also done in Guadalajara with your studio Core Animation?

Yes. It’s not yet the big leap we aim to make, but it’s important because it’s not easy to increase financing from Spain and the risks are very high. Galo [Juan Garcia Galocha], Pedro Solís, David Ordieres, Jaime Otegui and I have created Core Animation, and with it, we intend to make a significant leap.

What would be the way to increase that financing in Spain?

It would be good to have more public support. In Spain, there are still many who criticise subsidies for cinema. However, we should inform them that, for example, the state contributed €1.5 million to Mummies, yet we have returned €4.5 million in terms of VAT, personal income tax, and box office taxes, making it a great deal for the state while also reinforcing the country’s cultural brand. I believe the subsidies in Spain are well designed, but we wish we had even more, akin to France and Italy. Although the number of titles produced in Spain is significant, larger public allocations would be advantageous.

4Cats’ latest production, Mummies, has been a resounding success. Why do you think that is?

If we knew, Warner or Pixar would have already signed us up! An Egyptian friend told me it was the first time mummies were the protagonists of a movie, and they reflect the beauty of Egypt. It is genuinely an all-audience film. It was a fortunate combination of factors [that made it] the seventh most-watched Spanish film outside of Spain ever, and the first in the post-pandemic era.

What kind of films will you keep making in the future?

I grew up with Disney movies and consider Walt Disney one of the people who has influenced me most. I am interested in family cinema with universal values, that show the light at the end of the road. This is what Buffalo Kids is. And following these values, at Core, we are already working on a project [Dreams], which will be done with Warner Bros. It will have a script by Javier Barreira [Mummies]. Another project is, obviously, Mummies 2. The mummies are more alive than ever!