Converted into the First Festival of Animation, Visual Effects and Video Games in the world made on a 100% virtual platform, this 15th edition of Animayo Gran Canaria has exceeded all expectations, marking a milestone in the history of these festivals with more than 35,000 participants and 22,000 new registrations from countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Denmark, Russia, the Czech Republic, India, Canada, Chile, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Peru, in addition to Spain.
Among the more than 1,600 works submitted to Animayo, of which 67 were selected for the film competition, Kapaemahu by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson under the animation direction of Daniel Sousa (U.S., 2020), came out on top with the Grand Jury Award for 2020. Kapaemahu thus obtains a direct pass for the Oscar Preselection in the Best Animation Short Film category, as Animayo is currently the only Academy Awards Qualifying Festival in Spain, designated now for three years. In addition, the winner receives a cash prize of €3,000 (~$3,400 USD) and an honorary trophy.
Kapaemahu, which means “stones of life” in native Hawai’ian, brings to life a powerful Hawai’ian legend in which four extraordinary Māhū, or two-spirit individuals — the third gender, both male and female — brought the healing arts of Tahiti to Hawai’i and imbued four giant rocks with their powers; rocks still venerated today. The piece is a vivid animation seen through the eyes of a child and narrated in the ancient Hawai’ian dialect.
The International Jury was chaired by Claus Toksvig Kjaer, a Danish animation producer on outstanding projects such as Oscar nominee Song of the Sea or Long Way North, winner of the Audience Award at Annecy. His upcoming projects include feature films Calamity – The Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary and The Ape Star, co-produced in collaboration with Maybe Movies and Lee Film. The International Jury also included Cecilia Aranovich, Lizzie Nichols, Carolina Jiménez and Marcos González P.
The Spanish Jury gave the award for Best Animated Short Film in Spanish – Animation with Ñ to El pájarocubo, from Marcos Mas and Jorge Alberto Vega Rivera (Colombia, 2019). This jury comprised Rafa Zabala, Christian Dan Bejarano, Marcos González P., Cecilia Aranovich and Lizzie Nichols. Finally, the jury for the Official Section of Cinematic, Music Videos and Commissioned was formed by Edu Martín, Arturo Monedero, Rafa Zabala, Marcos González P. and Carolina Jiménez.
As a whole, the Winners List 2020 represents a selection of films in which not only the visual artistic quality stands out, but also the tremendous sound quality. So, for the first time in Animayo, the Jury decided to award a Special Mention for Best Sound Design to Konstantin Bronzit and his short film He can’t live without cosmos. Lupus Films’ acclaimed special The Tiger Who Came to Tea (director: Robin Shaw) won the prize for best 2D film as well as the award for best music (composed by David Arnold and featuring a song performed by Robbie Williams). Likewise, this year’s Social Awareness Award winner made an impact handling the hot topic of the situation of immigrants in the United States: The Office of Missing Children by Michael Schiller (U.S., 2018).
The full list of winners is available here.
Defying the limitations caused by the world COVID-19 pandemic, Animayo responded to the crisis with the launch of its most cutting-edge edition on a 100% virtual platform, a globally unprecedented model — with customizable avatars, advanced 3D technology, 100% virtual spaces without the need for VR headsets, real-time voice tools, agility to connect to the system, interaction capabilities and intercommunication between avatars. Seven years ago, Damián Perea, founding director of the International Summit Animayo, had the vision to include an entirely virtual component in the festival, only this technology did not yet exist. But last year, he met Don Stein, founder and CEO of Teooh, a new avatar-based virtual events platform that enables users to “sit” and interact in the same digital space. COVID-19 shutdowns turned out to be the “ideal framework” to reorganize this edition and make it happen.
For this special edition, the organization froze the sale of tickets (the full pass for the festival was priced at €150) and, in a new step of social awareness taken along with the main sponsors and collaborators, the funds available for the Animayo Talent Scholarship were boosted to more than €500,000 to assist students of Computer Graphics, Multiplatform Applications, VR & Simulation, Software Engineering, Programming, Game Design, VFX, Realization, Production in Audiovisual Environments and Animation, among many other degrees, master’s and postgraduate degrees, as well as Higher Degree Training Cycle, doctorates and courses. All of them in universities and schools, national and international, of the highest level in both online and face-to-face modalities, such as U-tad, ESDIP, ESCAV, L’Idem, Universidad Europea, Cesur or ArtHeroes. Applications are open until June 30, upon free registration on the Animayo.com website; for those aged 16 and up.
Apply for the Animayo Talent Scholarship here.
In addition, Animayo 2020 increased its number of speakers by 70% compared to the previous edition. A total of 57 experts from 14 countries, many of them with honors form the Oscar Awards, Annie, Emmy, Lovie Awards, Art Directors Guild of America, VES, ZBrush Live Sculpt-Off, International Media Award, Google best and International Travel & Tourism Award. Renowned international professionals of the industry who have worked in studios such as DreamWorks Animation, Cartoon Saloon, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros., Pixar, Sony Pictures Animation, Ilion Animation Studios, Skydance, Weta Digital or Delirium Studios. Artists who left their mark on recognized works with nominations for the Oscars, Goya Awards, VES or the Webby Awards, among others, such as Klaus, The Hobbit (trilogy), Iron Man, Avengers, The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Alike, Hero, Planet 51, Shrek Forever After, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, The Lord of the Rings (trilogy), Beauty and the Beast, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Underdogs, Mortadelo and Filemón: Mission Implausible, Wonder Park, The Wind Rises, The Illusionist, Wolf Children, Game of Thrones; Love, Death + Robots; Jurassic World and Justice League, as well as video games like Vigor, Argo, DayZ, the Samorost saga, Machinarium, Castlevania Lords of Shadow II, or projects entirely developed in VR like the short film The Remedy.
All shared their knowledge and experiences on the first weekend of the Festival, on May 8 and 9, in eight panel discussions and two debates, each of them moderated by 5 experts, in which we entered into disciplines such as character creation and design; the latest research in virtual reality techniques, video games and animation; work of animators and producers; 3D modelling, digital sculpture; storyboard; production designers, visual development artists, layout and concept artists, and visual effects techniques. Speakers included:
- Esther Morales. Ireland. Senior Lead Character Designer. Cartoon Saloon, Lighthouse Studios, Ánima.
- Juan Pablo López. Spain. Senior Character Artist and Concept Artist. Pyro Studios, SPA Studios, Skydance.
- Tommy Tejeda. U.S. Character Designer. The Walt Disney Company, Fox (The Simpsons), Marvel Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network.
- Miriam Hidalgo, “Perditah”. Spain. Illustrator and Character Designer. Ominiky Ediciones, Estudio Mariscal, Filmax animation.
- Núria Aparicio, “La Pendeja”. Spain. Illustrator, Animator. Nikodemo, Neptuno Films, Editorial Salvat, Grupo Hachette Livre.
- Edgar Martín-Blas. Spain. CEO & Creative director. Virtual Voyagers, Tuenti, Telefónica, Teaser, Xocolat Design.
- Laura Raya. Director of Graduate Programmes and Virtual Reality Projects. U- tad. She has collaborated with companies such as ACCIONA, NEXT LIMIT, GMV, Ra-Ma and Indra, Switzerland, Spain.
- Daniel Peixe. U.S., Spain. Walt Disney Animation Studios, Ilion Animation Studios, Keytoon Animation Studio, BFC.
- Diego Bezares. Founder & Developer. Zinkia Entertainment, BKOOL, G4M3 studios and Mind The Pixel.
- Guillermo Castilla. U.K., Spain. Coordinator of the degree in Video Game Design, lecturer in Animation and researcher, European University.
- Raúl García. U,S., Spain. Animator, Director and Producer. Kandor Moon, Kandor Graphics, The Walt Disney Animation Studios.
- Laia Farré. U.K., Spain. Lead animator. Skydance, Framestore, Mikros Image, Blue Dream Studios.
- Christian Dan Bejarano. France, Spain. Animation supervisor. Skydance, The SPA Studios, The Frank Barton Company.
- Marcos González P. U.S., Spain. Animator. DreamWorks Animation, Encore, Duncan Studio, Buck, Psyop, Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Lightbox Entertainment.
- Daniel Martínez Lara. Spain. Winner of the Goya for Best Animated Short in 2016. Development advisor for Blender Grease Pencil software.
- Ángel Molina, Spain. Project Manager, Art Director. Blue Pixel 3D, Zinkia Entertainment, Magic Films.
- Juan Solís. U.S., U.K., Spain. Character Supervisor. Skydance, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Blur Studio, The Frank Barton Company.
- Luis Labrador. U.S., Spain. Modeling Supervisor. Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks.
- Marlon Núñez. U.K., Spain. Digital Sculptor, Character Artist. BLUR, Realtime UK, Hasbro, Art Heroes.
- Manuel González. Graduate in Journalism. Director of the Spanish TV programme, Zoom Net.
- Arturo Monedero. Spain. Deputy Chairman of the Spanish Video Game Association. Video Game Designer. Delirium Studios.
- Anna Guxens. Co-founder, Design & Development. 3bytes.
- Tatiana Delgado. Spain. Illustrator. Co-founder of Out of the Blue Games.
- Daniel Calabuig. Spain. Author and CCO at Unmemory.
- Mercedes Rey. Spain. Director of Institutional Relations and Strategic Partnerships. U- tad, Pyro Studios, Proein.
- Paula Benedicto. U.S., Spain. Senior Animator. Skydance, The Walt Disney Studios.
- Andrés Bedate. Canada, Spain. Character Animator. Sony Pictures Imageworks, Cinesite, Animum.
- Gisela Prunés. U.S., Spain. HR Specialist. The Walt Disney Studios, Marvel Studios.
- Laura Bethencourt. U.K., Spain. VFX Line Producer. Framestore, Double Negative.
- Cinzia Angelini.Cinzia Agenilini. Italy, U.S. Director, Story Artist, Animator. DreamWorks Animation, Illumination Entertainment, Cinesite.
- Paulo Alvarado. Finland. Head of Story. Rovio Entertainment, Walt Disney Animation Studios.
- Cecilia Aranovich. U.S., Spain. Supervising Director, Storyboard Artist, Director. Warner Bros. Animation.
- Sergio Páez. U.S. Director, Story Artist, Writer.
- Álex Relloso. Spain. Storyboard Artist. Skydance.
- Carlos Zaragoza. U.S., Spain. Production designer. Sony Pictures Animation, Paramount Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Rocket Pictures, Universal Pictures.
- Aurora Jiménez. U.S., Spain. Visual Development Artist. DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Animation, EA, Universal Pictures.
- Lizzie Nichols. U.S. Visual Development Artist. Sony Pictures Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Imagineering, RGH Entertainment. Her clients include Disney Television and Cartoon Network.
- Aya Suzuki. Japan, U.K. Animation Artist, Layout and Concept Artist. Studio Ghibli, Walt Disney Animation, Passion Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Netflix.
- Antonio Arés. Senior Concept Artist. Skydance, Auriga Films, Grupo Zeta, U-tad.
- Carolina Jiménez. Canada, Spain. Lead Layout Artist. Scanline VFX, Weta Digital, MPC, OK Infografía, Skydance.
- Eli Jarra. U.S. VFX supervisor. Think VR, Westwind Media, Entity FX, Pixel Playground.
- Adrián Pueyo. Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Spain. VFX Compositor. Trixter, Weta Digital, Scanline VFX, MPC, ILM, DNeg.
- Pablo Giménez. U.K., Spain. Lead FX TD.Double Negative, MPC, The Mill.
- Roger Kupelian. U.S. Matte Painter, Concept Artist. Digital Domain, MPC, Sony Imageworks, Pixomondo, Weta Digital.
- Rocío Ayuso. Journalist, Writer and Film Producer. El País, R & R Communications.
- Lorena Ares. Spain. Animation Director and Screenwriter. Dr. Platypus & Ms. Wombat, Moonbite Studios.
- Argentina Oliva. Spain. Production Supervisor. Mondo TV.
- Marina Soto. U.S., Spain. Associate Recruiter. DreamWorks Animation.
On May 15 and 16, 15 master classes were given via streaming by international experts in animation, VFX and video games, reaching 21,923 total registrations. Among the topics were 2D animation for cinema, video games and television; 3D modelling; Blender software innovations such as Grease Pencil; secrets of the digital creations of some of the great Hollywood blockbusters; the construction of worlds in video games; tips for creating a good portfolio and successfully facing a job interview; acting in animation; the art of lighting; the secrets of the concept artist; the making of The Remedy, entirely made in VR with Quill from Facebook’s Oculus platform; how to set up and move a demo reel to get a VFX job internationally, etc.
Master class speakers included: Rafa Zabala, Daniel Martínez Lara, Eli Jarra, Roger Kupelian, Edu Martín, Aya Suzuki, Daniel Peixe, Carolina Jiménez and Iván Carmona; Rémy Terreaux (France), Lead Animator, . Dreamworks, Illumination Mac Guff, Kandor Graphics, Skydance, Fortiche Productions; Ivan Buchta (Czech Rep.), Creative Director; Lukáš Kunce (Czech Rep.), PR & production, Amanita Design; Tomasz “Floex” Dvorak (Czech Rep.), Music Composer, Musician, Producer, DJ and Multimedia Artist; and David Benzal (Spain), Concept Artist, Sony PlayStation, Fuji Television, HBO, Ubisoft, The Walt Disney Company, Netflix, Grupo Planeta, Universal Pictures.
The following week, Animayo celebrated the First Online Reverse Trade Mission between Canada and the Canary Islands, organized in collaboration with Proexca. Held May 27-28, 25 producers, independent directors and studios from the animation, VFX and video games sectors were presented and put in contact — 11 from Canada and 14 from the Canary Islands, of which six were from Gran Canaria, seven from Tenerife and one from Fuerteventura. These meetings had the objective of establishing synergies between producers, independent filmmakers and studios, aiming for possible future collaborations, a better understanding of the reality of the Canarian industry as an international platform for the development of animation productions, VFX and video games, showing Canadian companies the quality of the content of Canarian productions through their most recent projects.
Likewise, some novelties of the regional market were presented, how is it working with the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and future prospects, promoting the advantages that the Canary Islands have for audiovisual production and the animation industry. The conference concluded with virtual networking using avatars over the Animayo/Teooh platform. More information here.
The 15th edition of Animayo will return this fall to celebrate its face-to-face phase, in which it will decide the Audience Award and the official section of the My First Festival contest; present the screenings of the Animayo 2020 Awards for all audiences, a video game space and virtual reality space, premiere short films made by children for children (Animayo Educational System), U-future experiences and school screenings for primary and secondary students.