Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hernan Henriquez GUGULANDIA

Hernán Henriquez is one of the founders and pioneers of Cuban animation. He began his career shortly after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. His first job was doing clean-up lines and cel coloring at the animation department of the Publicitaria Siboney agency. He then joined Jesús de Armas and Eduardo Muñoz in the creation of the Animation Department of The Cuban Institute of the Art and Industry of Cinema (ICAIC). Then new government invested in animation, and the first film the studios made was 'El Man' (1960), which was about land reform in Cuba. Henriquez worked at ICAIC for twenty years, and he produced up to five films a year, including 'Osaín', which was the most solicited Cuban animated film by foreign countries.

In 1964, he created the comic strip 'Gugulandia', a full color page published until 1980 in the country's principal newspapers and magazines. The strip was so successful that it was also made into a film. When the economic crisis arrived, Henriquez found himself with a prestigious job, but without any improvements in his personal life. So he left in a boat full of refugees and arrived in the USA in 1980. After having a hard time fining a job in the States (Henriquez had no portfolio to show, because all his stuff was still in Cuba), he finally got 'Gugulandia' published in The Miami Herald.

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