FDeep lineup of talent and pics confirms Pixelatl’s El Festival as Mexico’s premier toon event.
ew animation events have grown as rapidly or become so significant so quickly as Pixelatl’s El Festival in Mexico. With its fourth edition approaching Sept. 9-13 in Cuernavaca, a relaxed town known as the “city of eternal spring” south of Mexico City, the animation, comics and videogame festival last year attracted more than a thousand participants and 2,500 screening attendees.
And it’s looking to build again this year, with a robust lineup of guests, events and screenings.
Keynote speakers include VFX legend Phil Tippett, The Little Prince director Mark Osborne, comic-book creator Noelle Stevenson, and Michiru Yamame, music composer for Castlevania. Indie animation icon Bill Pympton and U. K. comics writer Leah Moore will teach master classes, with workshops set with the likes of screenwriter Rob Edwards and The Book of Life director Jorge Gutierrez.
More than 70 professional guests overall will attend, representing major studios from 11 countries, as well as executives from the likes of Cartoon Network, Disney, Nickelodeon, Discovery Kids and Sony Pictures Animation.
But the highlight of the festival — organized by Pixelatl, an association that promotes Mexican productions both in country and abroad — is the Ideatoon Summit, a contest designed to encourage development of animated series ideas in Mexico. Open to all Mexican studios, production companies, animators, artists, directors, scriptwriters and producers, the top 16 entries are seen by top animation executives and the winner receives a cash prize of about $ 25,000 to use in producing a pilot.
Last year, the winner was Mariachi Zombie, which Vancouver-based Atomic Cartoons bought after seeing it at the festival. Six of the finalist studios are working for some of the channels that saw their projects.
Other awards are given for best international animated short, best Mexican animated short and the best comic-book work.
This year’s lineup of animated features includes Shaun the Sheep Movie, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Song of the Sea and The Book of Life.
Two competitive shorts programs under the common theme “That Which Unites Us” will include international titles such as Adam Elliott’s Ernie Biscuits and Mexican entries Los Ases del Corral from directors Irving Sevilla and Manuel Báez; Fuimos Colores by Marcos Almada and Carlos Azcuaga; Olas al Cielo, from Gildardo Santoyo del Castillo; and Zimbo, by Juan Jose Medina and Rita Basulto.
The festival offers plenty of networking opportunities, including an industry dinner and multiple parties well suited to mixing with potential contacts.
This year’s festival will launch the Association of Digital Creators, which looks to build a strong animation community in Mexico and help animators to find the financial tools they need to bring their ideas to life. [
To kick off the 2015 World Animation & VFX Summit, Animation Magazine and Animation Libation Studios have once again teamed up to present the annual World Animation Celebration. Two days of screenings, industry panels and guest speakers will be hosted by Sony Pictures Animation on its studio lot in Culver City, California at the end of this month.
This year’s film selections are culled from entries which have poured in from students and professionals from over 40 countries. The final assemblage covers the gamut of animation techniques and genres, with prize categories for CG, Traditional, Stop- Motion, 2D Digital and Experimental films. WAC and the organizers aim as always to provide attendees with an illuminating look at the global industry and emerging talents.
The festival is organized into one-hour screening blocks, running in the Ray Harryhausen Theater. These are interspersed by live panels and guest speakers in the nearby conference room. There will also be time for socializing and networking with a separately ticketed VIP Mixer on Saturday night and an awards ceremony Sun- day night, which will reveal the winners in each category ahead of the Best in Show announcement reserved for the Summit ( Nov. 2-4).
Guests confirmed for WAC at press time include Butch Hartman ( creator, Fairly OddParents), David Silverman ( director, The Simpsons), James Lopez ( creator, Hullabaloo), Robert Hughes ( director/ producer, Phineas and Ferb and Milo Murphy’s Law), Tony Bancroft ( director, Animal Crackers) and Zahara Dowlatabadi ( animation producer and co-author of Producing Animation). There will also be a Judges Panel and daily professional Portfolio Reviews, and director Tee Bosustow will be on hand to discuss his UPA documentary The Boing