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Iginio Straffi (born May 30, 1965 in Gualdo (MC), Italy) is the founder of the Rainbow S.p.A. studio, which he co-owns along with the American company Viacom. He is also the creator of Rainbow's Regal Academy, as well as Huntik, Winx Club, and Gladiators of Rome.
Iginio Straffi came up with the idea for Regal Academy around 2009, when it was titled Twisted Fairy Tales. Some of the show's character art from this era can still be viewed here, from the Regal Academy art director Simone Borselli. Straffi wanted the show to be more sarcastic and a little darker at first, but his collaborators were concerned that it would not succeed. They took several years to green-light the show and many tweaks to the concept were made. In 2013, Straffi's team presented the concept at MIPCOM in France, when it was titled Royal Academy. As described in this Animation World Network article, most of the characters had been created at this point, but had different names (Joy was "Violet" and Astoria was named "Pearl"). Eventually, the show premiered in 2016.
Born and raised in the Marche region of Italy, he started professional work in the field of comic book drawing for Italian publishers Comics Art and later Sergio Bonelli Editore, where he mostly worked on the Nick Raider series. His work was also occasionally featured in the Métal Hurlant and Comic Art magazines. At age 27, he moved to France to work on storyboarding production and directed several animated TV series and feature films.
He moved back to his native Marche in 1995, when he founded the Rainbow animation studio, initially providing services for other studios, but eventually producing its first original product: the Tommy and Oscar animated CD (1996) and later TV series (1999). His most successful creation, Winx Club, debuted in 2004 and became a worldwide success, now broadcast in over 130 countries, including Europe, the United States and most of Asia. Aside from its headquarters near Loreto, Rainbow created branch offices in Rome and Singapore. In 2011, the American giant Viacom became a co-owner of Rainbow alongside Iginio Straffi.
In 2008, Iginio Straffi designed and co-created Rainbow's Maya Fox series of horror comics. In 2009, another show created, directed, and produced by Straffi premiered: Huntik. In 2012, Iginio Straffi directed and produced the animated film Gladiators of Rome, which opened in Italy in October 2012. Most recently, Iginio Straffi produced Nickelodeon's Club 57 live-action series.
Creations & Works
|Tommy and Oscar||Co-Creator/Director||2000|
|Huntik: Secrets & Seekers||Creator/Director||2009-2011|
|Gladiators of Rome||Director/Writer/Producer||2012|
|Maggie & Bianca: Fashion Friends||Creator/Director||2016-2017|
|World of Winx||Creator/Director||2016-2017|
|Fate: The Winx Saga||Creator/Executive Producer||2020-present|