We have chosen animation as a way of recreating historical events and bringing characters to life, and I will once again have the pleasure of working with Ugo Bienvenu for this project. Though they involved different challenges, our previous collaborations were all well received, and so we wanted to find a new approach for this major project together.
From the start, we wanted to use Portuguese azulejos as visual references, blue frescoes that are painted on white ceramic tiles and which adorn the streets of cities such as Porto, Magellan’s birthplace. They immediately evoke Portugal and historic frescoes in the collective psyche. The first painted ceramic tiles were in fact fired in Magellan’s time.
In keeping with his renowned style and aesthetics and with great attention to detail and accuracy, Ugo will give a modern take and bring fresh perspectives to his illustrations. He will lead a team of authors in creating about a thousand drawings in total to tell the story across four episodes.
Each sequence will be storyboarded, then drawn according to specific staging such as camera positions, focal lengths, sets, lighting, and characters. While Magellan is the main character of the adventure, we will identify and follow several secondary characters: Italian chronicler Pigafetta, Andrès de San Martin, the Spanish royal pilot, Juan de Cartagena, Magellan’s enemy, Juan Sebastian El Cano, the Basque who led the last ship and the last men on the first circumnavigation of the world, Antonio Varese, the ship’s boy with a tragic destiny…
In this way, sequences will carry genuine emotion throughout a story that will unfold over the whole series.
With ultramarine blue as a starting point for the story, based on actual azulejos that will be filmed in Portuguese streets, we will shift to several monochrome shades depending on locations and events as the tale progresses.