Jorge is a boy with big eyes and long antennae. He has reddish cheeks full of freckles. A gentle smile is always molded on his mouth. A pair of small wings protrude from his back and he wears a purple poncho with which he covers his diminutive figure. From his lower back protrudes a type of tail that emits light. And it is that Jorge is also a firefly.
In a small room, Jorge prepares his suitcase. He is about to embark on an important journey. Outside, his friends are waiting for him to celebrate one of the most important moments of his short life. Roosters, butterflies, hummingbirds, and reptiles wait attentively while a family of foxes comes looking for him. Mom, dad, and their two new siblings eagerly greet him with a sign that reads “Jorge, welcome to the family.”
Tears begin to flow from Jorge’s eyes. One of the foxes, his new brother, runs to hug him while his friends clap. That night, Jorge, the firefly, sleeps for the first time in his own bed with his little brothers. Jorge has, for the first time, a family.
This is the fable that illustrates the new campaign of the foundation adopt now, which is called “Dreams”. The short film of less than two minutes is a piece created with stop motion animation produced by the Mexican Luis Tellezwho served as supervisor of the second animation unit of the movie “Pinocchio”, by Guillermo del Toroconsidered one of the best films of 2022 and winner of the Oscar award for Best Animated Feature Film.
“It is an honor to participate in a project like this because it transcends into other areas that have to do with the social,” Téllez told The new day about his participation in this short whose development was in charge of the creative team of DDB Latina.
“Since I was little, like almost all children, I made drawings and plasticine dolls. But there was a family trauma there. My father’s brother died on a bicycle, he was run over, so that was a trauma that permeated an entire next generation and we were forbidden to go outside. So we lived in a very small apartment, with almost four walls, and we didn’t play anything. And I remember that with my brother, our way of playing was through plasticine, ”he recalled about his beginnings in the world of animation. “Every night, my mom gave us a spatula to clean the plasticine from the floor because we left behind a mess.”
Téllez said that his initial interest was not in the arts. “For a time that suddenly, I don’t know why, I lost my vocation and came to study a career as suspicious as political science. So, suddenly I was already there, at the university, which later helped me a lot on a methodological level to propose projects”.
But in that process he found an unexpected passion for the seventh art. “When I discovered the cinema I went crazy and became obsessed with watching movies. They also invited me to see a cycle by Jan Švankmajer, who is the great Czech director, and when I saw his work, it was ‘stop motion’ and very different from the animation cinema I had known before. And getting out of that cycle I ran away. As soon as I saw it I said ‘I can do that’. I felt that there were many things that interested me and one of them was also telling stories”.
The animator talked about what makes the medium of “stop motion” so special and that generates so much admiration. “I think that’s like the magic of stop motion. And that it is something that is tangible. It is very close to us. The camera is a kind of philosopher’s stone, like alchemy that disrupts objects and they are not the same after passing through the camera and turning them into animated pieces. So I think that’s something that reminds me even of toys, of everything we touched when we were children. And it’s wonderful,” he said.
Téllez also recalled a time when this style of animation was thought to face the possibility of extinction. “When Shrek and all these amazing projects came out, it was so texture-defining that it was thought to be the death of stop motion. But something very similar to photography and painting happened. When photography emerged they said it was the death of painting. But what happened was that it freed her, freed her from her commitment to reality. So now also stop motion versus 3D is no longer a special effect, it’s already a legitimate storytelling medium in its own right. And I think that continues to amaze many people”.
The story of Jorge the firefly, he explained, arose from an intense creative process and a lot of communication between the DDB team and the artist. “From the beginning, we wanted with the character, compared to the other friends in this universe, to focus on his look and his expressions, what he was feeling and his dreams,” he said. “It is a story with several complexity challenges, given its brevity. Here it was very important that there was a very diverse fauna. The center of the story is that they are different families. The little foxes are different from Jorge, who is a firefly, but all the other characters are different too and they all deserve a family.”
For his part, Mauricio Cortes, creative director of DDB Latina for Puerto Rico, spoke about the challenges of working on a project of this magnitude. “The piece itself is already a challenge. First, because the problem we were facing is a reduction of information to a cinematographic piece that requires so much dedication, since it already has super high levels of complexity”.
“This is an artistic piece from its conception, from its graphic part, from its thought, from its analysis, from the background. Why put a fable and not use real people? We are protecting families, we are protecting people, we are protecting children. There is a challenge of how I tell a story that connects people, that talks to me about adoption without being able to show children who are the ones who are really affected, ”he continued.
Cortés was in charge of developing this project, which, he explained, took 1,440 hours of work. “Those are the challenges of how to communicate. How to free yourself from those communication stereotypes, such simple things we go through. What color is Jorge’s skin? What color should the skin be? Or topics like what kind of fauna it should have. Is it the fauna of Puerto Rico? Is it a global fauna? Is it a local fauna?” he said.
He also expressed that working hand in hand with Téllez was an incredible experience for which he felt very grateful. “The only thing left for me to say is a complete admiration for the work of Luis and what he did. He made the piece fly giant”.
Enrique Renta, who serves as DDB’s creative director, spoke about the main motivation behind the creation of this short film. “We want to move families to open their hearts to accept. First, consider adopting older children.”
“When they reach an age, there are a series of prejudices and beliefs that make it much more difficult for families to open up to adopting because these children often have traumas or have a past with many problems. Our intention is to arouse that interest in adoption. Second, if the family can’t adopt, maybe they can at least do volunteer work for the foundation, or they can donate money to strengthen the foundation so that it can continue to do its work,” she said.
Likewise, Téllez was hopeful for the future of this type of animation in Latin America. “I think it is an incredible business card to be able to be part of a story as beautiful as the one Guillermo invited us to create together, contribute a grain of sand, and I think that possibilities open up for a tradition that is not only from Mexico, but from Latin America, of creators. That you can make the leap to that type of budget and production”.
“In Puerto Rico there are hundreds of children and young people between the ages of 6 and 17 waiting to be adopted. Many people are unaware of this information and it is our work and commitment to make this issue visible. Our work also includes helping families who wish to adopt a dream in the process, a dream that we are sure is the most desired by these children and young people”, commented Sylvia Villafañe, president of Adopta Ahora.