After the critical and commercial successes of Puss in Boots and Kung Fu Panda 2, producer Guillermo del Toro is preparing to team up with DreamWorks Animation once more. Del Toro is slated to exec produce a new animated feature titled Alma, about a little girl drawn into creepy toy store. Though the imagery is plenty sweet — as you can see in the header image, the titular character is just plain adorable — there’s also an underlying spookiness to the premise that could be a great fit for del Toro’s sensibility.

Former Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas is set to helm the movie, which is based on his own short film of the same title, while Sunshine Cleaning writer Megan Holley has been tapped to pen the script. More details after the jump.

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At the 2009 Fantastic Fest in Austin Texas, I sat on the jury  for the animated shorts category. It was at this time that I screened awesome animated short titled Alma from Spanish animator Rodrigo Blaas. I fought hard for Alma, but when you’re part of a group vote it’s all about compromise. While I was unable to convince my fellow jurors to name the movie Best Animated Short Film, we were able to award the film with a “special mention”,  which is basically the runners up prize.We eventually posted the short film in a VOTD column late last year. I knew we’d hear from Rodrigo again, but I wasn’t sure how. Blaas worked at Pixar as an animator, so I always assumed he would end up directing something at Emeryville. I was wrong.

Guillermo del Toro is set to godfather the development of a big screen feature adaptation of Alma with Rodrigo Blass directing for DreamWorks Animation.

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VOTD: Rodrigo Blaas’ Alma

Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas took time off to make his directorial debut with an animated short film titled Alma. Originally from Spain, Rodrigo Blaas has worked in animation for more than ten years, and was able to collect some of the best artists in the field to be part of his independent project: French animator Bolhem Bouchiba, character designer Carlos Grangel and Sergio Pablos, ArtDirector Alfonso Blaas, music composer Mastretta and sound designer Tom Myers.

At the 2009 Fantastic Fest, I was on the jury for Best Animated Short film, and fought hard for Alma. And while I was unable to convince my fellow jurors to name the movie Best Animated Short Film, we were able to award the film with a “special mention”, which is basically the runners up prize. The short tells the story of a young girl who becomes intrigued by the contents of a mysterious toy shop. Watch the short film embedded after the jump.
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