Interview #61 Heri Martinez de Dios #GLADIUS #animation

You’re the founder and CEO of GLADIUS, the top Animation, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Film, VFX and Video Games Studio in the Caribbean – how did this start?

The decision to found and develop Gladius Studios came about from our knowledge that Puerto Rico has many talents in art and programming. Once graduated from the university, the vast majority of these talents went to the United States because there used to be no studio available for the development of animated projects and emerging technologies in Puerto Rico. After Gladius was created, about 50 animators have stayed on the island working full-time and permanently. At the same time, about as many freelancers have also gotten an opportunity to stay and work in the field. 


What or who has had the biggest influence on your career?

I have had two major influences: my mother, Dr. Theresa de Dios, who is a professional unlike any other. She is the President of Atlantic University. Of the thousands of executives that I have been able to meet, no one has had her perseverance and capacity of work and production.  Another major influence for me has been Steve Jobs, the chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), and co-founder of Apple Inc. He has been a great inspiration throughout my professional life for having been a fearless and unstoppable innovator. In addition to that, I also read, study and learn from the great works of many mentors within our industry and of life.

Your television credits include Fantomville, the first 3D animated series ever produced in Puerto Rico. Is this your most favourite piece of work?

Fantomville is a very special project, as it would be the first aminated 3D movie completed in Puerto Rico with 100% Puerto Rican talent. That being said, I am excited by every project that is produced with effort, passion and full dedication at Gladius Studios. 

What are your key considerations for directing video-games?

We don’t create a video game just for the sake of making one. If it were that way, we would have  done many already. The most important thing for us, based on our core values, is that it is a final product of great excellence; that it is completely done in the studio without the necessity of sub-contracting other companies, having to buy assets, art or external programming. Direction must always aspire for excellence in design, amination, programming and post-production in order to achieve a spectacular final product, or else, it would not be done.  

As audiences have shifted to streaming content, what opportunities does this bring to you?

This brings on great opportunities for us and for the whole industry. It provides new platforms, alternatives and space to locate projects, as well as to attain new markets.

Could you tell me more about Hotel Paraiso?

Yes. Hotel Paraiso will be our second aminated feature film aimed at family entertainment.  It will be a fun story about how one can achieve success against the vicissitudes of life in a different country and world. This film will begin once Fantomville is finished, which will be released in August 2021.

You have five Emmy awards for technical achievement. Are there any other accolades you’d like to achieve?

The awards are beautiful and a great incentive to keep producing great work.  I am very grateful for our Work Team and to God, who have made them possible. As a CEO and innovator, the main prize for me is to take Gladius Studios as far as possible nationally and internationally. To continue to grow more, creating jobs for Latino talents while demonstrating the best of ourselves.

What do you have coming up next?

Many goals and dreams. I assure you that we are going for much more.  I thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for this great opportunity.


Heri’s awards include UNESCO Young Educator of the Year (1993), Five Emmy Awards for Technical Achievement, Six Telly Awards, Caribbean Business Best Executive Father Award and Executive Innovator Awards by the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and The House of Representatives.

Heri is represented by @EspadaPR

Heri Martinez de Dios IMDb


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