UPDATE (1/19/24): Geraldine Fernández has confirmed she did not work on The Boy and the Heron. In a statement, the Colombian admits “there was never any participation in the illustration and design in the film.” She goes on to explain she got caught in a lie and felt unable to set the record straight. The illustrator also adds that she wishes she’d “gone viral for something real” and asks for forgiveness, promising she will “work hard so that my professional talent as a designer precedes me.”
Read on for how she went viral below. And for the memes.
Geraldine Fernández went from being on top of the world to being the object of ridicule. The difference between those two was simply facts. The Colombian illustrator, who had claimed to have a large hand in the animation of Studio Ghibli’s latest movie, The Boy and the Heron, admitted she had greatly exaggerated her participation in the movie in an interview with Blu Radio.
“I had to illustrate more than 25,000 frames, it was sheet by sheet, scene by scene, everything by hand, some things were digital,” she’d originally told Colombian newspaper El Heraldo. “The first part of the movie, almost the entire first part of the movie, which is like 15 minutes, I did that entire scene, literally the Colombian woman opens the movie,” she’d added in an interview with streamer Pablo González.
She had been exaggerating for a long time before that, with the story of her participation in the movie a central focus of a talk she gave to a university in Barranquilla last October.
After her story went viral post The Boy and the Heron winning a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film, the internet started fact-checking the story. First came the news that Fernández didn’t feature in the credits, a very strange omission for someone who claimed to have put in so much work. Then came the memes.
Finally, Fernández admitted the lie and apologized.
“I worked on a couple of scenes from The Boy and the Heron, I exaggerated.” Fernández admitted. To El Heraldo, she clarified. “It is not real that I made the 25,000 frames alone. It was a team effort. I made 200.″
There has been no official confirmation of whether Fernández did work on the movie, in any capacity, on her part. But Cartoon Brew did reach out to GKIDS, the film’s American distributor, and was told, “Fernández’s name does not appear anywhere in the credits for The Boy and the Heron.”