The idea to create the show Raffi came from a conversation Santiago O’Ryan (scriptwriter) and Ricardo Villavicencio (director) had back in 2015. “At that time, Ricardo was doing an animated music video for a band and his dog “Raffi”, whom I had already met, was in it. He is a funny, Pomeranian dog… the kind of small dogs that draw your attention on the streets when you see them, they look like cartoons. When I saw “Raffi” I told Ricardo: “We have to do a show with your dog!” remembers Santiago O’Ryan.
Why is Lunes betting on content for kids when it is better known for content for adult audiences?
“Ideas don’t have a determined age when they are created, that is not how we approach a project, because most of our projects come from us as a creative studio. Our ideas evolve, change, just like our own interests at some point in our lives. In the end, they are ideas, and they are not conceived as part of a focus group or directed to a specific audience. While working on ‘Raffi,’ we are also in post-production of an animated short film for adult audiences called ‘Hermanos Casablanca,’ it’s very natural for us to work on ideas for different audiences,” says Santiago.
From idea to Screen
With the idea ready for development and eager to get the required funds to start the project, Santiago and Ricardo put together the “bible”, developed stories, characters and the world of Raffi. For some time, they have been working as a duo, so the creative part and roles came naturally to them, just like the ideas. In 2018 they were selected for the Annecy Pitch “Animation du Monde” with the project “Tom, the Forest Ranger.” “In that sense, we have a consolidated working method that always gives us a few surprises,” says O’Ryan.
Raffi is a show for younger audiences. It’s about a curious and hyperactive dog and Ema (6), a big-hearted adventurer. They live on a farm in the middle of the city, where they try to be the best farmers in the world, like their mother, and as long as they are not distracted by their adventures or their dad’s delicious apple pie.
Trying to finance the series, “…we applied to the (public fund) CORFO Series, which for us is a fundamental tool, that unfortunately has reduced its budget in recent years. This fund allowed the project to take the leap in quality it needed, we created a pilot episode, scripts and a more complete ‘bible’ … this happened around 2015,” says O’Ryan.
Over time, the project improved more and more. Thanks to these improvements “Raffi” won the CNTV fund, which finally allowed it to enter production.
“Raffi” is a co-production between production company Lunes, which defines itself as more of a creative studio, with more than 11 years of experience in the creation of original animated projects. The founding members and scriptwriters are José Navarro, Jorge Campusano and Santiago O’Ryan. And, on the other hand, is Villavicencio Studio – based in New York – this is the production company of Ricardo Villavicenio: the owner of the Pomeranian dog Raffi. Ricardo is an artist/designer with a background in visual and graphic development projects, both independent and commercial.
“Raffi” is halfway through production (in several stages simultaneously,) with episodes in the stages of sound editing, others in color grading, and some recording the final voices. “We hope to finish early next year. We are very excited to share what we have been working on during all these years, but from experience we know that we first have to focus on where we are right now, the time will come when we discuss the rest. We even want to bring Raffi, Ricardo’s dog, to the premiere,” (laughs) O’Ryan. He also mentions that they will soon release a teaser for people to know more about Raffi and from there, start drawing the attention of their audiences.