Catalan studio contributes to Guillermo del Toro's 'Pinocchio' success at Oscars

Grangel Studio designed Pinocchio and Geppetto for winner of Best Animated Feature Film 

A still from 'Pinocchio'
A still from 'Pinocchio' / Courtesy of Tripictures
Gerard Escaich Folch

Gerard Escaich Folch | @gescaichfolch | Barcelona

March 13, 2023 03:11 PM

March 13, 2023 07:38 PM

The Barcelona-based Grangel Studio is part of the team that was awarded the 2023 Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film for their work in Mexican director Guillermo del Toro's 'Pinocchio.'

The company designed the Pinocchio and Geppetto's figures in a project that started in 2010 but was later stopped as no funding was available until Netflix joined the production team and funded the project with €40 million.

"We believed in the project since the first day Guillermo del Toro proposed it as the stop-motion technique is the technic that we most like," Carlos Grangel, one of the founding members of Grangel Studio alongside his brother Jordi, said in an interview with Catalan News.

"It is a miracle that a stop-motion movie won an Oscar. This is the most traditional, archaic, and artisanal technique that exists," said Carlos Grangel from Grangel Studios / Catalan News

One may think the Grangel brothers followed the Oscars ceremony live, but this was not the case as "we worked all the weekend, and we heard this morning when everyone started calling and texting," he added in an interview with this media outlet.

"It feels wonderful" to win an award such as this one.

Colleagues competing

One of the most complicated moments for this Catalan studio, members of the Academy with voting rights, was the time to vote for the candidates.

"We had already voted, and we were competing against some of our colleagues at Dreamworks, who were nominated for 'Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,' which we have also taken part in, and we have made 14 productions with them," Carlos said.

Grangel Studio has won Emmys and been nominated to the Academy Awards for other movies, including Tim Burton's 'Corpse Bride'. Still, Guillermo del Toro's 'Pinocchio' is their first Oscar.

"The truth is that you cannot control anything," Carlos Grangel said before adding that awarding an Oscar to a movie in stop-motion animation "is a miracle."

Overall, there were 350 workers with "the most traditional and archaic technique that exists" across the globe as people in Manchester handcrafted the figurines before the shoot in Mexico.

No large film productions in Catalonia

Grangel Studio believes it is possible to have large-scale productions similar to Guillermo del Toro's 'Pinnochio' in Catalonia, but "the problem is the funding."

Having €40 million to invest in an animated movie "is impossible in Catalonia or Spain, where very good movies are made with a budget of €6 to €7 million."

"We do not earn a lot of money, but our work is high-quality and needs a lot of time; you cannot rush it," Carlos Grangel said to Catalan News.