Animator brings life to stories, real and imagined
Rebecca Davis
AFA Journal staff writer

Above, Robert Fernandez

April 2018 – “I love the Ryan Defrates project,” Robert Fernandez told AFA Journal. After all, he is director and executive producer of this new animated series from American Family Studios; isn’t that what he is supposed to say?

There is no doubt that he speaks the truth, lives the truth, and seeks to point others to the truth as an 18-year veteran producer and creator of animation for children.

“Animation was something I dreamed of doing for a long time,” he said. “It’s just a different medium … that allows you a huge amount of creativity since you are not working in the physical realm.”

Ryan Defrates
Many years ago, Fernandez was involved primarily in live-action projects, and he currently produces two documentaries a year; however, making animated children’s films is the heart of his career, and Ryan Defrates: Secret Agent is a big part of that.

Fernandez and his crew at Cat in the Mill Productions do all of the animation for Ryan Defrates. AFS’s own Kendra White and her brother Jeremy White write the script. Fernandez highly commends their work.

“… the way each episode handles different subject matter is very clever and well done,” he said. “There’s a lot to learn from the series, and it’s great entertainment. … I’m thrilled to work on it, as it’s something very different from all the other projects I’m involved with.”

The Torchlighters
Fernandez is also known for his work on The Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith animated DVD series that highlights the work of real-life men and women who lived solely for the cause of Christ. He believes the project was engineered by God as an answer to his prayers.

“Some years back, I started reading a lot of missionary biographies, and each time I did, I was tremendously edified spiritually and challenged as well,” Fernandez said. “I started praying fervently to be able to bring the stories to animation; this was before I was even working in that field.”

Years later, The Torchlighters came to life.

“One thing I always keep in mind when I produce and write is to convict and encourage believers and to create things that would also speak to the non-believer,” Fernandez said.

The Pilgrim’s Progress
That applies to his current work taking John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress from the pages of a book and turning it into animation. Fernandez is involved in this project from writing and scripting to character designs to casting to recording. The Pilgrim’s Progress is only months away from being completed.

“Media has a lot of influence on our lives; … people of all ages spend a lot of time immersed in some sort of media, and the content matter rubs off,” Fernandez said. “It affects us deep in our hearts. What we do is challenging, but I believe it meets a very real need, and that’s why I feel God wants us to continue providing more.”  undefined 

Three new episodes of Ryan Defrates: Secret Agent have just been released. The new stories include a new pirate villain and Granny with her exploding hot sauce from an earlier episode. Viewers will also learn more about Ryan’s family.

Both Ryan Defrates and Torchlighters (AFAJ review, 3/18) are available at or 877-927-4917.