Every year, the festival wing, appropriately titled El Festival, of Mexico’s Pixelatl – an association dedicated to the creation and promotion of multimedia content – takes center stage as Mexico’s premier event linking students and professionals in animation, comics and video games to the international marketplace. Held over five days in the city of Cuernavaca, Morelos, about an hour from Mexico City, awards were handed out over the weekend.
Pixar’s Lee Unkrich was awarded the Chinelo in Animation, a career achievement award which last year went to Oscar-nominated stop-motion director Henry Selick, responsible for “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Coraline,” and in 2015 was given to special effects pioneer Phil Tippet, who scored Oscars for both “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.”
The top prize for a series went to Edino Ferrera’s “Curtis & Bean” a Mexico-Argentina co-production geared towards kids between six and nine years old. The 2D animated series follows two colorful friends who become partners in adventure, trying to make a living just hanging out and chilling.
“La Noria” (The Ferris Wheel), which won best animated short, is a chilling 3D animated piece from Spanish ex-pat Carlos Baena, who has worked in animation in the U.S. since 1994. Baena’s Spanish roots are on full display in the short, and viewers will catch the flavor of milestone Spanish horror hits such as J.A. Bayona’s “The Orphanage” or Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth.” It’s produced by animation and VFX producer Sasha Korellis.
The Girl Power: Pitch Me the Future award, presented in partnership with Cartoon Network, went to “Forgotten Forest” from Madelein Treviño. One of 289 projects pitched from throughout Latin America, it’s the tale of Marty, an explorer looking for her grandmother, guided by a spirit who loves jazz. The award comes with a production prize for a series pilot worth up to $10,000 USD.
This year’s El Festival juries were as colorful and diverse as the competition itself. They featured industry professionals such as Paul Harrod, production designer on “Isle of Dogs”; Punkrobot’s Gabriel Osorio, director of the Oscar-winning animated short “Bear Story”; “Steven Universe” and “Regular Show” writer Kat Morris and Hilary Florido who was an art designer on both. Major studio and broadcast executives were involved as well, such as VP of Content for Animation, Digital and Acquisitions EMEA Orion Ross; Netflix director of content Aram Yacoubian, Amazon Studio’s development executive Aaron Davidson and many, many more.
2018 PIXELATL WINNERS
Best Animated Series
“Curtis & Bean,” Edino Ferrara
Animated Series Special Mention
“Huge,” Diego Herrera León
Best Animated Short
“La Noria,” Carlos Baena
Animated Short Special Mention
“Weekend,” Trevor Jiménez
Girl Power: Pitch Me the Future Award with Cartoon Network
“Forgotten Forest,” Madelein Treviño
Best Animated Short, Student
“Carnival,” Azucena Castillo
Animated Short Special Mention, Student
“Kvazar,” Alan Girón, Eric Rodríguez
“El Rumor de los huesos,” Imosh Raritzon