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An increasingly important category as the world’s animation industry scours for new talent, this year’s 3rd Quirino Awards Animation School Short section will showcase rising talents from Portugal, Bolivia and Brazil in contenders “Néstor,” “Gravedad” and “I Guess It Went Something Like That.”

A portrait of an obsessive-compulsive man living in an ever-swaying  houseboat, “Néstor” marks the first year short of Portugal’s João Gonzalez at the U.K.’s Royal College of Art. Made with zero budget and conceived on a tight deadline, the author took on direction, animation and musical composition –played by the cellist Miguel Teixeira.

Gonzalez also used 2D frame-by-frame animation to achieve both complete visual control and aesthetic freedom. The technique also proved highly apt for the framing he wantedd, including shots rarely found in an animation film.

2D frame by frame is “immensely appealing, especially when I am developing a film with a more surreal theme,” Gonzalez told Variety.  The shorts’ dark shadows and limited color palette also contribute to the a gloomy sense of the central character.

Gonzalez is now developing his second short, a drama about a father and son who parachute from their house, perched on the top of a wind-swept cliff, to go sell the ice they produce at a distant village.

A buzzed-up title, “Néstor” has also garnered three more 2020 Quirino Awards nominations, for visual development, animation design and sound design.

“Gravedad” depicts a world where gravity explains all changes and emotions. Directed by Bolivia-born Matisse González, now based out of Germany, the visual style and technique are both minimalist, in accordance with the main character’s extreme. González says that she also discovered that “the more minimalist the characters’ expressions are, the more emotion can be drawn from them.”

São Paulo-born graphic artist and writer Giovanna Muzel da Paixão trained at Brazil’s UFPEL Art Center. Her graduation short was financed through her internship grant. “I Guess It Went Something Like That” draws the relationship between an anxious woman and her best friend, a backpacking green tiger who is seeking the call of the wild.

“I like to define the art style as ‘charmingly crooked!’ I borrow a lot of elements from Fauvism and Expressionism in the lines, places and characters and I really enjoy mixing in my stories everyday life with the fantastic,” Muzel said, also announces she’s writing a feature about three sisters who have drifted apart until in adulthood they receive a voicemail from their deceased mother.

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I Guess It Went Something Like That Courtesy of Quirino Awards

All three shorts can be viewed online at Latam Retina Latina and Spain’s Filmin platform through June 15. 2019 and 2018 category winners “Tántalo” and “Patchwork” are also included in selection.

Directed by Spain’s María Manero, “Patchwork” turns on Loli, 60, who is going to receive a liver transplant. But it takes the viewpoint of the donor. In line with such as subject, the short is made with a “recycling and patches style,” Manero, who was education in Bristol and Spain’s Valencia.

“I’d love to make movies without complexes, via experimentation and play. I’m seduced by films that are impossible to classify, for exanple,  a fiction that is partially documentary but it is animated and both dramatic and comic,” she says.

Trained at Buenos Aires’ University (UBA), Argentina’s Juan Facundo Ayerbe and Christian Krieghoff co-directed “Tántalo” as a graduation short. It’s an animated variation on the myth of Tantalus, Zeus’ son who was punished, eternally feeling temptation but never its satisfaction. In the short, a malleable 2D-3D character suffers this suffocating desire over and over.

Krieghoff and Ayerbe’s warm to short-form animation. “The format and shorter projects encourage experimentation via a more tangible, controllable structure,” Ayerbe says; Krieghoff concludes: “We see ourselves pouring our worries and desires into this type of pieces.”

The 2020 online Quirino Awards ceremony takes place Saturday, June 27.

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Gravedad Courtesy of Quirino Awards