Luis E. Saavedra

What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Luis E. Saavedra and I work as a Director of Altairfilms ,Co – Founder of Antares Render related to Offshoring
services and Cinema from Chile exporting Chilean films to festivals and independent markets.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Excellent question! First at school I really enjoyed drawing and me and some friends had a comic book magazine, well just a bunch of fotocopies put together ! After that, I studied Industrial design and for a while I designed and built desks for offices. I did many of them and it was a very physical job, I spent many hours at night in empty buildings finishing those offices. After that, I worked in the printing bussiness as a Graphic Designer in the pre-press process, which is very interesting regarding the color creation for Offset prints. I learned a lot from these both experiences and I related them to animation years later.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Through the years I have been involved in great projects, both animation and film but the one I always remember is the first one;
“Discovery”, because that was my first comission. In 2001 I was granted by a Government contest with US 6000 to develop a 10 min piece of animation in 6 month. I had never worked in animation before and I had to work very hard to finish it. I even had troubles with my then girlfriend because I was spendig a great amount of time working day and night, she finally broke up with me! But the experience was great, drawing though the night and with no worries about anything, just enjoying the oportunity

How did you become interested in animation?
My grandfather introduced me into the comicbook universe when I was little, classic stuff like Alex Raymond with “Flash Gordon”, “The Spirit” of Will Eisner and Jean Giraud mostly known as Moebius. I also remember a lot of cartoons, Chuck Jones and the Bugs Bunny world. I also remember watching the “Star wars Holiday Special” and the great animation that Nelvana produced for that show,  but the main interest came when I saw the film ” Heavy Metal”, It was a moment when I realized that animation was not only for cartoons, the story, the music and the designs were so unique that gave  me the conviction that I could do some animation. I always watch that film from time to time!

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Chile, South America and I guess I was always attracted to tell stories through animation. My first oportunity came with a
contest known in Chile as FONDART, where you can get money to produce your own stuff. So I wrote this sci-fi story involving places of the city of Valparaiso, where I live and they liked it. After that I kept trying to develop more projects that involved more people;
illustrators, designers, animators, programmers and musicians.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
When we are on full production we start the day with early meetings so we all know we are on the same page regarding the storyboards, designs and music. Every two hours we stop to check on things such animation and editing. We usually try to end the day with as much of animation as we can and at the end pizza & beers!

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The creative team process is something that I really enjoy, how the puzzle begins to take shape to form the final cut, how the different
pieces, storyboards, animation and music get together for the final product. Because that is the moment when you realize if you are doing a good job as a director, if you were able to transmit your ideas to the team and manage to create a good enviroment for work.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Meeting people that are not open to be part of a team. When you are working in something that requires good comunication between everyone, sometimes you meet peolple that are not willing to let their ego go and play for the team.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
That would be getting any project going or finding financing for them.  Sometimes you fall in love with projects that are hard to start and you have to work in those that are not very fun but get the money going!

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
We work with G4 Mac computers and custom PC put together by my brother, Computer Engineer and a in house render farm. Wacom tablets are always welcome also!

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I remember going to Anifest at the Chec Republic and meeting the Korean director Moonsaeng Kim of the film “Beautiful days”, great guy and with wise advices for animation. A highlight for me also was having the oportunity to visit Skywalker Ranch, great place and great people!

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
When I was 17 I did my senior year in Santa Clara, California and I spent a year there. During that time my grandfather got very ill and
finally died before I could come back. He was always suporting me and I felt very sad for that so as a tribute he is one of the characters
in “Altair and the light of power”.

Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
We are trying to move forward on “Kren”, an animation series about a small boy that arrives in a desolate world ruled by 4 species in fight for water, he will become the hope for all species and return to peace. It is based in the geography and animals fron Chile.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metalurgy?
Playing guitar is very relaxing, I try to find time to play during the day, George Harrison stuff!

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the bussiness?
Perfect your talent so you can show it in any moment, if you can draw something fast during a pitch it always gives you extra points!
Travel if you can, get the oporunity to experience a different reality from another country and culture, it will give you a different
perspective about your work and life. And finally, believe in what you are doing, believe that the world needs to see what you are doing and you will have to do the necessary to show it !

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