‘The Future Ahead’ Is Already Here at Animayo Gran Canaria

Animayo, the International Festival of Animation, Visual Effects and Video Games — Spain’s only designated “Qualifying Festival” for the animated short film Oscar category, has unveiled the program for its 17th edition. The 2022 event, taking play May 4-7, returns to a face-to-face format in addition to an online phase that will be held from October onwards.

Under the motto “The Future Ahead”, Animayo will transform the island of Gran Canaria into a hub of knowledge for art and cutting-edge technologies like never before, with all the activities to be held at the La Caja de Canarias Cultural Initiatives Centre (CICCA) and the Guiniguada Theatre.

Animayo press conference
Damián Perea (center) detailed Animayo’s 2022 program at the Gran Canaria press conference.

“This is a festival that has been transformed in a natural way. Our own world has brought all these new technologies,” producer and director of Animayo Damián Perea pointed out. “Two years ago we were the first festival in the world to make an entirely virtual animation festival featuring avatars; we were already in the metaverse. Now it’s time to inform, train and discuss in order to continue creating that much needed critical mass.”

The Festival is introducing an important new feature this year: the Animayo Discussions, featuring special guests, with no restrictions on  audience questions — fully interactive discussions “that arise as a direct response to the need to generate a number of knowledge-based conclusions,” as Perea puts it. “In general, people talk about the metaverse in a very superficial and polarized way, but we need to understand all the nuances, and to do so Animayo is bringing in specialists from this virtual universe. We also think it is equally important to include a gender perspective by addressing the role of women in the industry, who only reach 30% in terms of visibility in decision-making positions.”

Animayo VR
New immersive technologies are a key focus of this year’s Festival.

Three discussions will be held at the Guiniguada Theatre from 18.15 to 20.00 hours: “Women in the Audiovisual Industry” (Thursday, May 5), “Metaverse, Virtual Reality, NFTs, what does the future hold?” (Friday, May 6) and “Ethics and morals in Artificial Intelligence” (Saturday, May 7).

For the first time in the Canary Islands, Animayo will premiere  an augmented reality exhibition only visible through the lens of a mobile device; NFTs in their own right “which will be available for purchase, with 100% of the profits benefiting associations and NGOs that help Ukrainian refugees.” An exhibition dedicated to the painterly, aesthetic 2D animated short film, Amanece la Noche más Larga (Dawn of the Longest Night), based on a story by  three-time Goya winner Ángel de la Cruz — directors Carlos Fernández De Vigo and Lorena Ares will be attending the Festival as guests.

Hidetaka Animayo
Studio Nowake founder Hidetaka Yusumi returns to Animayo as one of 2022’s guest speaker.

Once again, Animayo has positioned itself as an innovative space where animation, visual effects, art, science and technology come together. The on-site phase will dedicate more than 80% of its time to the real heart of the festival, which is training. Educational activities will take place at the La Caja de Canarias Cultural Initiatives Centre (CICCA) led by a team of 23 renowned guests, including:

  • Luis Labrador (3D Modeler/Environmental Modeling Supervisor, Disney Animation Studios, U.S.), Encanto
  • Matt Tokarz (Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Platige Image, Poland), The Witcher
  • Henri Magalon (Producer/Founder/CEO, Maybe Movies,
    France), Ernest & Celestine, Calamity, Long Way North
  • Claus Toksvig (CEO/Partner & Producer, Norlum Entertainment, Denmark), Song of the Sea, Long Way North
  • Carlos Zaragoza (Production Designer, Sony Pictures Animation, U.S.), Vivo
  • Aurora Jiménez (Visual Development Artist, DreamWorks Animation, U.S.), The Bad Guys, Vivo, Hotel Transylvania 3, The Emoji Movie
  • Hidetaka Yosumi (Character Technical Director, Facial Rig Developer & Founder, Studio Nowake, Japan), Tangled; Love, Death + Robots; Wreck-It Ralph
  • Yuan Yinzi (Founder & CEO, Metaverse Summit, France), Metaverse expert and guest speaker (VR Days Europe, World XR Forum, Indie Game Factory)
  • Edgar Martín-Blas (CEO & Creative Director, Virtual Voyagers, Spain), award-winning virtual, augmented and mixed reality company; clients include Disney, Vodafone and Ferrari.

International guest panelists from prestige studios and specializing in new technologies will conduct 14 master classes, three discussions, three workshops, 10 recruitment sessions (Skydance Animation, The Spa Studios, Platige Image, Dr. Platypus & Ms. Wombat, Punk Visual Studio, Amuse Studios, 3 Doubles Producciones, Mondo TV Studios, La Creme Films and BMCAFF Studio CGI Production) as well as portfolio reviews.

Nore than €500,000 in Animayo Talent Scholarships for in-person and online training with access to the most important national and international schools related to the sector, collaborating with Animayo for
the 2022-2023 academic year, including U-tad (University Centre of Technology and Digital Art, Madrid); UDEM (University of Monterrey, Mexico); ESCAV (Higher School of Art and Audiovisual Communication, Granada) and Pixelodeon 3D School (Online School of Digital Arts).

Animayo Audience

Outside the classes and panels, the public will be able to enjoy the best animated films for adults. The Guiniguada Theatre will host the screenings of the short films from the five International Official Sections in Competition. There will be more than 60 films from over 20  countries, which will be reviewed by the 15 members of the Animayo International Jury — the Grand Prize winner will be directly longlisted for the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. Animayo will also offer thematic screenings, such as a focus on Polish cinema.

For the third consecutive year, the international official competition section “My First Festival” (May 7, noon to 13.30h) will invite kids ages six and up to vote for the Best Children’s Short Film. The selected films address the importance of respecting one’s own feelings and each other’s individuality. The event is free to attend with ticket reservation (email animayo@animayo.com with the subject “Book My First Festival” with the  name, email and telephone number of the adults and the number of children who will be attending).

The program is the perfect addition for younger kids to “Sin Salir del Aula” (“Without Leaving the Classroom”), which has enrolled more than 8,500 students on the island of Gran Canaria alone. Aimed at primary, high school and art school students, the activities combine animation and visual effects with free screenings, an official competition section and educational master classes, also free of charge, over TV. (April 25-May 25).

Animayo Masterclass

As mentioned above, Animayo’s training offers will include a number of master classes and workshops held at CICCA, continuing a partnership established in 2014.

Master Classes:

  • “Dawn of the Longest Night. How it was made: from idea to NFT. Exclusively for Animayo” – Carlos Fernández de Vigo and Lorena Ares. (Founders Dr. Platypus & Ms. Wombat). May 4, 10 to 11.30 a.m.
  • “From your notebook to the screen / My life as an artist” -Aurora Jiménez (Visual Development Artist, DreamWorks Animation). May 4, 12 to 13.30h. In collaboration with U-tad.
  • “Creating the Metaverse” – Edgar Martín-Blas  (CEO/Creative Director, Virtual Voyagers). May 5, 10 to 11.30 a.m.
  • “Ideas come from observation / Design and visual narrative” – Carlos Zaragoza (Production Designer, Sony Pictures Animation). May 5, 12 to 13.30h. In collaboration with U-tad.
  • “Animation career: Recruitment and production outlook – case study” – Zofia Sieracka (Senior Recruiter, Platige Image). May 5, 16.30 to 18h. In collaboration with the Polish Institute of Madrid.
  • “Metaverse: Linking Web2 to Web3” – Yuan Yinzi. (Project Manager, Ubisoft / Founder, Metaverse Summit). May 5, 18.30 to 20h.
  • “Blender: the Swiss army knife of animation” – Daniel Martínez Lara (Director, Pepe School Land). May 6, 10 to 11.30 a.m.
  • “The Metaverse, NFTs, GameFi, Web3 and more” – Isidro Quintana (CEO, Triple O Games). May 6, 12 to 13.30h.
  • “Analysis of my professional career: From Spider-Man 2 to Encanto – Luis Labrador (3D Modeller/Environmental Modelling Supervisor, Disney). May 6, 16.30 to 18h.
  • “24 years of digital character creation” – Hidetaka Yosumi (Character Technical Director, Facial Rig Developer & Founder, Studio Nowake). May 6, 18.30 to 20 h.
  • “Panel: Young talents in animation” – In collaboration with U-tad. May 7, 10 to 11.30 a.m.
  • “Creative leadership: how to navigate working alongside creators and managing artistic projects with inventiveness / The case study of The Witcher – Matt Tokarz (Sr. VFX Supervisor, Platige Image). May 7, 12 to 13.30h.
  • “Independent filmmaking and co-production” – Claus Toksvig (CEO/Partner/Producer, Nørlum Ent.). May 7, 16.30 to 18h.
  • “How remaining fascinated by the human mind, emotions and good or bad habits keeps me going through all the storms of filmmaking” – Henri Magalon
    (Producer/Founder/CEO, Maybe Movies). May 7, 18.30 to 20h.


  • “Creating XR projects” – Edgar Martín-Blas. May 5, 17 to 20h. A journey through the process of creating virtual and augmented reality projects; from concept to 3D design.
  • “Concept art for films: visual design of a sequence from scratch” – Carlos Zaragoza and Aurora Jiménez. May 6, 16.30 to 20.30h.
  • “Blender. Using the Swiss army knife of animation” – Daniel Martínez Lara. May 7, 17 to 20h. In collaboration with Pepe School Land, Lara’s animation school (Barcelona).
Animayo session
Animayo attendees can take in informative sessions covering the creative journey, new technology and career tips.

Schools and universities from all over Spain are taking advantage of this gathering of experts and center of knowledge-sharing by sending groups of students to attend the Festival, with the active collaboration of the University of La Laguna (the oldest higher education institution in the Canary Islands), the Gran Canaria Higher School of Art and Design, the Fernando Estévez Higher School of Art and Design, the Felo Monzón Grau Bassas Secondary School, the Pancho Lasso School of Art and the Fuerteventura School of Art being particularly noteworthy.

“This is undoubtedly the best edition. I know I keep saying the same thing every year, but the year that I don’t feel that way, that we haven’t really surpassed ourselves and I can’t say it, I’ll retire,” said Perea, who added he was “proud to celebrate life again and to bring all the young — and not so young — people together face to face with the specialists in this community, as well as giving more opportunities to the new generations.” These words were echoed by Teodoro Sosa, Councillor of the Presidency of the Gran Canaria Island Council, at the same media presentation, who pointed out,”Animayo is a great privilege for Gran Canaria. A great international showcase for training and employment in the audiovisual industry.”

The Festival is supported by the Gran Canaria Island Council, the Society for the Promotion of the City of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the La Caja de Canarias Foundation, the Canary Islands Government, the Canary Islands Institute for Cultural Development, the Guiniguada Theatre, the Canarian Film Library and all the institutions, organizations, universities, schools and private companies that have sponsored and collaborated with Animayo for 16 years, making the Canary Islands a highly fertile ground for new generations.

Advance ticket sales with a variety of student, group and jobseeker discounts are now available. Visit the animayo.com registration page for details. 



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