‘Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow’, a Goya-nominated animated film, was created at The Thinklab, a studio located in the Rochapea neighborhood of Pamplona

Shanghai, 1934. The Inspector Suna lone hunting spider, leads her latest mission against her archenemy Red Lobster. After defeating him, their vacation aboard a plane to San Francisco ends abruptly when millionaire Dr. Spindlethorp is found murdered. And what seems like one more case, will decide the fate of humanity. This is the synopsis from Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widowfilm directed by Navarro Julio Soto Gurpide and created and produced in the Pamplona studio The Thinklabthan with the one you just received for this job Add two Goya nominations for best animated film. The first was with Deep in 2018. On this occasion, the abyssal beings give way to the spiders and other insects, that have been designed “so that they are not scary at all and are adorable and funny”, say those responsible, who wanted to go one step further and move away from the typical stories starring bugs, to bet on a family film that is inspired by the genre of film noir. Mystery, crimes, adventures… only in a tiny world parallel to that of humans. The message is clear: “No matter how small you are, you can save the world”. The movie will reach more than 300 theaters on Wednesday, December 28.

The Thinklab is located in the Rochapea neighborhood. From this space this film of about 6 million euros budget Y more than 265 professionals involved, from financing to post-production. “Not counting the Navarra Symphony Orchestra,” says Julio Soto Gúrpide, who has spent a large part of his career in the United Stateswhere he initially traveled to study with a scholarship from the Government of Navarra.

“We have never seen an animated script like this, with all the paradigms of the criminal genre, but transferred to a story for children and with insects as protagonists”

Julio Soto Gúrpide – Director of ‘Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow’

From documentaries to ‘Deep’

In 2005 he decided to return to Madrid and there he joined The Thinklab team, which six months earlier had created Adriana Malfatti Y Jose Tatay. “At the beginning we worked providing 2D and 3D services to different television channels, but above all to Disney”, says Malfatti, CEO of the studio and executive producer of its projects.

At the same time, they were developing documentary proposals directed by Soto, as Palestine, my beautiful Dacia Y Radiophobia, which analyzes the Chernobyl accident and participated in more than 60 festivals around the world, obtaining a dozen international awards. Precisely, Eneko Gutiérrez saw that film when he was studying at the University of Navarra and a short time later he had joined a team where he is now a delegate producer and partner projector.

In parallel, the studio also began to develop some animation work like the fiction short dissection of a stormwhat qualified to participate in the 84th edition of the Oscarsand the series fluffs! until it came Deep“with which We went from budgets of 1 million euros to 5 or 6 million”, entering, thus, in the “league of animation studies in Spain”, says Gutiérrez.

This movie was seen all over the world, including the United States, distributed by Lionsgate, and China, where it was shown on up to 13,000 screens. And the producer received her First Goya nomination.

Adriana Malfatti, CEO of The Thinklab; Julio0 Soto Gúrpide, creative and director of the studio’s projects; Zayra Muñoz, production manager, and Eneko Gutiérrez, delegate producer, pose at the production company’s headquarters, located in the Rochapea neighborhood. Unai Beroiz


The transfer to Pamplona

The success of this film spurred The Thinklab partners to work hard on a catalog of animated feature films, and that’s where they were when In 2019, the manager of the Audiovisual Cluster of Navarra (Clavna), Arturo Cisneros, contacted Soto. “He told me that here was being created a hub digital production and animation and that Navarra was very open to hosting production companies in the sector”, says the director. They then talked to javier lacunzathen general director of NICDO, who detailed the issue of tax incentives, and with Sodena“and there we saw that it was an attractive possibility,” adds Malfatti, who, after doing the math with Gutiérrez and evaluating the pros and cons, “we decided to move to Pamplona”, settling in “just a few days before confinement” decreed by the pandemic, remember.

In spite of everything, “we worked very hard” during the following months and “We managed to close the production of Inspector Sun, continues the producer delegate. And his partner points out that, “despite the fear that existed at the time, we managed to attract professionals from Poland, France, England, Belgium, Italy…”, many of whom have remained after completion of this work. They are in productions of other studios established in foral territory, “and we will count on them again for our next film”.

At the end, “It is true that a talent attraction focus is being created” for this sector, says Malfatti. And Soto remembers how since they have settled in La Rochapea life around has changed. “People have rented flats, have gone to have breakfast in the nearby cafeterias, to eat the menu of the day in the restaurants in the area…”, he says. “Something that a couple of years ago seemed like an adventure is becoming a viable project,” continues Gutiérrez, who, like his colleagues, defends a clear policy: “If there is in Navarra, it is done here”. This is the case, for example, of the film’s music, composed by Fernando Velazquez and recorded by Navarra Symphony Orchestra in Baluarte. Specifically, some work has been outsourced from Inspector Sun, especially post-production.

An award-winning script and careful design

As for the film, already in 2016, “when we were promoting Deep in the United States, we are interested in the screenplay“, work of Rocco Pucillo and 58th Samuel Goldwin Award. “For a time he had the option on the script Tim Burton”, but time passed and The Thinklab took over the rights.

“We liked it above all because we had never seen an animation script like thiswith all paradigms of the criminal genre, but transferred to a story for children and with insects as protagonists”, points out Soto, who, as he did in the case of Deepwanted that all the spiders, beetles and other bugs that appeared in the film existed in reality. And that they did not generate rejection, that is why “we bet on a careful design of the characters”, in charge of Sylvain Deboissy (Storks, Minions, Rio, etc.), “to make them likeable” and to get the family audience to “connect with their cause” and with the adventures that the protagonists live to save the world. Not in vain, the film has obtained the certificate of Especially recommended for children.

“Life in the neighborhood has changed; the people who have come to work with us have rented flats, have breakfast in the nearby cafeterias, eat the menu of the day in the restaurants in the area…”

Julio Soto Gúrpide – Director of ‘Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow’

“I think they’re going to love it. They are not scary at all, they are adorable”, Adriana Malfatti intervenes, who together with Eneko Gutiérrez is in charge of controlling production times so as not to go too far. “It cannot go beyond 24 months, and in this case we did it in 18”, despite the complex financial structure, which involves several countries. Of course, intellectual property is “entirely ours”. “There aren’t many independent studios like us”says the executive producer, who, like his partners, does not rule out other formulas “if Disney or Netflix calls us, for example,” he admits with a laugh.

The nomination and new projects

Perhaps that unique identity is what has made The Thinklab stand out and has given them their second Goya nomination. “This year was especially difficult, so we are very happy”says Gutierrez. Soto and Malfatti corroborate this and acknowledge that the candidacy came at an unbeatable moment, shortly after the premiere, scheduled for the Wednesday December 28 in 300 theaters in Spain. Then Portugal, Italy, Russia, Poland, Israel, the United States and Latin America will arrive, among other places.

Of course, the machinery does not stop and in the study of the Rochapea neighborhood they are already working to close the production of evolutiona comedy starring a teenager and her pets, while they continue with the project of Metal Heroesa musical in which Sony Pictures is involved.

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‘Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow’, a Goya-nominated animated film, was created at The Thinklab, a studio located in the Rochapea neighborhood of Pamplona


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