Cruz Antonio Contreras left the comfort zone and won the Oscar

Barely 32 years old, but with a countenance that even suggests a much younger person, the Mexican animator Cruz Antonio Contreras already has an Oscar. Due to his own merits, the man born in Iguala, Guerrero, is one of the talents that our country gives to the world and whose career is just beginning on a path that promises success.

Cruz Antonio was part of the animation team at Sony Pictures Animation for the 2018 feature film “Spider-Man: Into de Spider-verse”, a film that pleasantly surprised locals and strangers and received the best specialized reviews. It is not a coincidence that the Rotten Tomatoes portal gave it a not inconsiderable approval percentage of 97%. And the soul for the success of the film was precisely the impeccable but also innovative animation work that elevated this niche film to a benchmark of what technology can achieve if it is paired with collective talent. Cruz Antonio was part of that consolidated feat with an Oscar for Best Animated Film in 2019, beating another favourite, Wes Anderson’s well-received “Isle of Dogs.”

This weekend, the young Mexican entertainer attended the 37th edition of the International Film Festival in Guadalajara and made time in his schedule to talk to this newspaper about the work through which our country found out about a new talent in the area technique of cinematography, and some perspectives for the future.

A cult of random

“Since I was little I have been a fan of movies, that’s why I love doing what I do now, making movies,” shares Cruz Antonio. “There is an option in Netflix that allows you to play content randomly. I usually click on that option so that the algorithm recommends something that I might like. I’m random because that’s how my family is. When I was younger we went to the cinema without knowing what we were going to see, we saw the first thing there was. Sometimes we found good films and sometimes they were very bad, but I think that with cinema there is never a loser”, he introduces.

Cruz Antonio studied the specialty of Study, Animation and Digital Art at the Tecnológico de Monterrey and later traveled to Argentina to enrich his preparation with the specialty in Dynamic Simulations. With a generous smile, the animator tells about his professional and life decisions as if it were about changing clothes.

Before looking for luck in the mecca of Western cinema, the specialist from Guerrero remembers that he worked in the production of commercials in Mexico City and later moved to Cuernavaca on a government project. “I was doing very well, but I didn’t do anything, to the point that I could go to the movies even on Monday mornings. And I know that doing nothing would be the ideal job for many, but after a while I decided that I couldn’t go on like this, that I wasn’t happy, I hadn’t studied for that. I wanted to make movies, so I made a compilation of works and started sending them to studios around the world, until one of them contacted me and they took me to work in Canada. I was with them for a year and then I had the chance to switch to Sony, where I’ve been for five years”.

His participation in the award-winning film is not a coincidence. Currently, his work portfolio includes titles such as the live action film “The Justice League”, the animated feature film “Beyond the Moon”, which was also nominated for Best Animated Film last year and, for Of course, the second installment of the fantastic spider-hero, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse”.

“If you liked the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie, the second one is even better,” he promises. “As for the animation challenges, the level went up three times. Technology and resources advance a lot. I was recently looking at the work we did on the first one and now it looks a thousand times better. The change has been very drastic and barely three years have passed. Technology is allowing you to create things with much higher quality. In my area we can create clothing with higher polygon density, so you will be able to see micro-wrinkles or hair on the clothing.”

Will we see a movie directed by you?

“I would love to, I think that is the plan for the future. I want to develop myself more, but I feel like it’s not long before I’m in charge of a film within Sony. At least in my area I want to see how far I can go before I start throwing anything on my own. I’ve always wanted to tell a Mexican theme. I feel that Mexico has so many stories that we have not been able to exploit. When people think of Mexico, they immediately think of the Day of the Dead, but there are so many other things. I would like to make a Mexican story that has not yet been told”, he concludes.

Other projects in which he has been involved:

  • “The Dark Tower” (2017)

His first large-scale job within Sony

  • “The Justice League” (2017)

He participated in the animated details of the live action tape

  • Angry Birds 2 (2019)

Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez is part of the cast of the film

  • “Beyond the Moon (2020)

Also nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film in 2021

It is the first musical film from Sony Pictures Animation.

  • “Hotel Transylvania 4” (2022)

It premiered worldwide in January through Amazon Prime Video.

To be released next July 8 through Netflix.

  • “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

Currently producing.

“Spider-Man is my favorite superhero, so working on the film was a dream come true, also because he is the first biracial superhero to appear on screen. Hearing that he speaks to his mother in Spanish is fantastic, it allows you to feel represented”,

Cruz Antonio Contreras, Mexican entertainer.

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