Tad, The Lost Explorer And The Emerald Tablet – Crafting An Animated Sequel

Scriptwriters, Manuel Burque and Josep Gatell knew they had an exciting feat ahead of them in writing Tad, The Lost Explorer And The Emerald Tablet. “Commissioning the third film has been a huge challenge for the whole team and, especially, for us as screenwriters to create a new story that continues to improve the franchise, that maintains its spirit, and that does not become cliché or predictable.”

“The saying that sequels are never good is NOT true for Tad,” says scriptwriters, Manuel Burque and Josep Gatell. “If the first film was a success with critics and audiences, the second part not only maintained this success, but also expanded Tad’s universe, both on an emotional level with the characters of Sara and the Mummy, and on a technical level in terms of animation quality and visual effects.”

“An animated feature film is always a mammoth journey of at least three or four years, and you have to be very sure that the journey is worth it. If the project has a “3” on its back, you undoubtedly think very carefully about this step, even more so if it is coupled with Tad’s name, who I cannot let down,” says director Enrique Gato. “With every film I like to make sure that there are new, unexpected ingredients that will surprise and keep the audience glued to their seats, waiting for the next scene. When you are dealing with part three of a saga, this task becomes more complicated, and it was clear to me that it was not going to be a bed of roses to find a new adventure for our hero. It took nearly two years of scriptwriting to put together a new story that would guarantee that Tad would have a well-deserved sequel. A sequel that does not simply take advantage of the inertia of the previous movies, but rather takes this saga up several notches.”

Producer Nico Matji says, “When we started the first Tad Stones short film, back in 2003, we only wanted to make a 35mm animated short film and here we are right now, about to release the third Tad feature film. Along the way, 19 years have passed, three short films, two feature films and a TV miniseries and yet, every time we face a new adventure with our favourite hero, we get a twinkle in our eyes.”

“When we were asked to write the script, Enrique Gato told us: ‘We have to take it up a notch and make it the best film in the saga.’ It was our first animated film and we had been dreaming of this moment all our lives: we had to make the grade. We set three goals. First, we needed to lay the foundations by finding a theme that would give more depth to the story and at the same time touch on the emotions of the audience, both children and adults. But we couldn’t overlook the fact that we were making an adventure film: we had to make it even more thrilling than the previous films. And finally, the comedy. You cannot make a Tad movie without guaranteeing plenty of hilarious moments. So, we decided to increase the risk and madness decibels.”

The two writers say, “The theme we have chosen is recognition and the dangers of seeking fame at all costs and forgetting what is really important: friends, family, the team that accompanies us along the way. In this film, we start with a Tad who has discovered Paititi and the Midas necklace but has never been able to tell the tale. Tad should be the most famous archaeologist of all time, but his discoveries are too dangerous and he has to hide them. So in the eyes of the world, Tad is still a workman who likes to treasure-hunt. However, he is dying to be an archaeologist, to be accepted as one of the community of adventurers.”

 Now, thanks to a clue about a magical and very ancient Egyptian artifact, the Emerald Tablet, he will have the opportunity to achieve his goal… although he must be careful that his ambitiousness does not spiral out of control and he winds up like the previous owners of the tablet: dominated by its magical powers and, what’s worse, alone. The writers continue, “In this film, Tad risks everything. Fortunately, he is not alone in this adventure. Beyond his desire to find the tablet and become the famous archaeologist he always dreamed of, Tad will learn that the most important thing is not the treasure you find – the most important treasure is the people who accompany you on the adventure.”

Gatell and Burque finish with, “When it comes to comedy, Mummy was already a safe bet. There is no better character to get carried away into absurdity and enjoy. But we wanted him to have more crazy characters by his side. That’s why we created the Egyptian mummy Ra Amon Ah, aka “Ramona” and we made Jeff and Belzoni into one animal with the head of a parrot and the body of a dog or vice versa depending on whether he sneezes (Jeffzoni or Beljeff). Tad will suffer from everyone’s craziness and the audience will love it. We couldn’t be prouder of the result. We are like children screaming with excitement because the dream has come true.”

“We began the film’s pre-production in 2019 and after nine months, wham, the lockdown hit. At that time there were only about 30 of us working on the film on site, and there were still many empty spaces in the office. What we didn’t know was that we weren’t going to go back to the office, that we were going to spend almost two and a half years working remotely and that we were going to make the best Tad Stones film of the whole saga thanks to a great script written by Josep Gatell and Manuel Burque,” says producer Nico Matji.

“Producing an animated feature film involves the enormous task of balancing several million computer files (which constantly change hands in perfect synchronisation and require more than 350,000 hours of work). It is the painstaking work of the supervisors and the whole team that makes it possible for the train to stay on track and for the 120,960 frames that make up our film to become a reality in the end. As a producer I can only be proud and grateful for the work carried out by the whole team and especially the digital artists. We are like Olympic athletes, always aiming higher, further and making better films for the audience to enjoy.”

“Ten years after the release of ‘Tad the lost explorer’, which meant the take-off of ‘Tadeomanía’, the brand has definitively established itself in our country as the most successful animation saga,” says producer Álvaro Augustin. “But not only in Spain. Due to the unprecedented box office result -the first two deliveries became the highest-grossing Spanish animated films in history- and to the recognition of the critic -both have won 4 Goya, 3 Gaudí and a Platino Award, among other awards-, there is to add the international success achieved by Tad, whose adventures have been enjoyed by viewers from Latin America or China, among many other territories. A whole phenomenon has also led to the launch of different products linked to the brand, from video games and a series of divulgations to different toys and a musical, among others. Before the premiere of this third delivery, we can only make one wish: long live Tad!”

Enrique Gato (Director) had more than seven years of experience in the videogame world before becoming a filmmaker, mostly in charge of animation and cinematic scenes. He worked for well-known videogame companies such as Pyro Studios (2001-2003), where he was responsible for the successful Commandos and Praetorians videogame saga, and also in Virtual Toys S.L. (2000), where he was in charge of creating the videogame based on the TORRENTE movie. In 2004 he began production of the short film TAD STONES and in 2006, he received his first Goya Award for best animated short film for the same film. With his sights set on the dream of directing a feature film, in 2006 he began production of the short film TAD STONES AND THE BASEMENT OF DOOM.  And once again he won the Goya Award for the best animated short film in 2008. In 2008 he co-founded Lightbox Animation Studios with the aim of producing animated feature films. The first was “TAD, THE LOST EXPLORER“, which was released in 2012 and became a phenomenon at home and abroad. It was released in more than 35 countries, including China. In Spain it had almost 2.8 million viewers and won three Goya Awards: Best Animated Film, Best New Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. In 2015 the feature film “CAPTURE THE FLAG” had a worldwide distribution deal with Paramount Pictures, premiering halfway around the world, including the United States. In Spain, “CAPTURE THE FLAG” got close to 2 million viewers. In 2016, Enrique Gato co-founded the Lightbox Academy School of Digital Arts, aimed at training a new generation of animators and digital artists who today participate in developing animation projects all over the world. In 2017, TAD THE LOST EXPLORER AND THE SECRET OF KING MIDAS was released, and once again set a new record as the most watched Spanish animated film in history, surpassing the first film in the saga.

Josep Gatell (Writer) has a degree in Audiovisual Communication from the University of Navarra. A scriptwriter since 2005, he has worked in both fiction and entertainment. His recent work includes consulting producer for the series Mentiras Pasajeras (El Deseo), the feature film screenplays Es por tu bien and Operación Camarón co-written with Manuel Burque, both of which reached the top three at the box office in the years that they were released, and the executive producer for the second season of the series El Vecino forNetflix. In addition to his professional activity, Josep teaches screenwriting at various universities and educational institutions, he is the co-author of the book Objetivo: Writers Room together with Teresa de Rosendo, which deals with working systems in screenwriting rooms in the USA, he has taken the Showrunner Drama Exchange offered by MediaxChange in Los Angeles, and he has been a member of the board of directors of the screenwriters’ union ALMA both as a member and vice-president.

Manuel Burque (Writer) wanted to direct films so he went to study audiovisual communication in Salamanca, after which he moved to Madrid, where he studied screenwriting, acting and cinematography. When he finished, he wrote a play called Esperando al Ruso, which won the Enrique Llovet national prize, he made three short films with Fran Araújo. He also wrote a miniseries with Fran called Vuelo IL7714 and adapted Perdona si te llamo amor for the cinema. Shortly afterwards he co-wrote Es por tu bien (2017) and Operación Camarón (2021) with Josep Gatell for Telecinco Cinema, both of which were among the highest-grossing films in the years in which they were released. Leticia Dolera chose him to star in her film Requisitos para ser una persona normal, for which he was nominated for a Goya Revelación. Since then, he has worked as an actor in series including Buscando el norte and Félix. He has co-written two seasons of the series Vida Perfecta with Leticia Dolera, which won a double award at the 2019 Canneseries Festival for Best Series and a Special Award for Best Actor. It also won two Feroz 2020 awards: Best Comedy Series and Best Supporting Actor. And it is nominated for Best Series and Best Supporting Actress at the Fotogramas de Plata. He currently directs and presents Buenismo Bien on Cadena Ser, Dentrísimo on Spotify and presents Radio Gaga. Winner of the 2018 Ondas Award for Best Current Affairs Programme.