When the original King Kong was first brought to life on the silver screen by Ruth Rose and James Ashmore Creelman in 1933, it was ground-breaking. Mind-boggling. Innovative. There weren’t many people who had heard of stop-motion, let alone seen it in action. Animator Willis O’Brien perfected the craft. The giant ape moved across the screen and climbed to the top of the Empire State Building (even if it wasn’t in one smooth motion). He was a pioneer of his time.
That’s why Paolo Conti and Arthur Nunes, co-founders and directors of Brazilian stop-motion animation studio Animaking, borrowed the royal gorilla’s name for their company when they created it 10 years ago in São Paulo, South America’s most populated city, and one with a business centre that everyone has their eye on.
But now they’re based in Florianopolis, in the state of Santa Catarina, a city better known for its beaches rather than its affinity for business. The duo was convinced to make the move after visiting Sapiens Parque, an innovation incubator focused on industries that are already part of the island city’s makeup, such as technology, tourism and special services. Animaking is now part of an innovation, technology and arts cluster, and the park has shown Mr. Conti and Mr. Nunes an approach they had never seen before. Its purpose is not to exchange funds, but to exchange ideas, knowledge and expertise.
“It’s funny, because when I first visited Sapiens Parque, I thought, ‘These guys are completely crazy.’ I didn’t understand anything,” says Mr. Conti of the idea that he and his team of artists could borrow engineers from another company within their cluster in order to develop new stop-motion technology, and all just by lending that company an artist. “When we were in São Paulo I tried to find the technology we needed, and I found it, but it was very expensive. And people didn’t have time to listen to me, didn’t have time to work together on development. They tried to sell you something that was ready to work. But to do something like stop-motion you have very specific technology that you need to develop together.”
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Originally published on August 29, 2011, in The Globe and Mail.