Aardman Animations’ founder Peter Lord will receive the honorary Chinelo del Año at Mexico’s 10th Pixelatl animation festival, hosted by the city of Cuernavaca. Taking place in an online format, the event runs Sept. 7-11.
Organization has confirmed the attendance of executives from Disney Animation, Netflix, Nickelodeon, Illumination Entertainment, Lucas Films, Bento Box, Titmouse, HBO Max, BBC, Gaumont and Disney Plus, among others.
Conceived as both an exhibition platform and cluster of networking events, talent recruitment programs, masterclasses and workshops, Pixelatl main thrust is to extend the international reach of Mexico and Latin America’s animation industries.
Activities include a conversation with Byron Howard, the co-director of Disney Animation hit “Zootopia”; a workshop given by Sandra Equihua, the character designer – and a key creative influence – on the much-anticipated Netflix title “Maya and the Three”; and sneak previews of Pixar’s SparkShorts program with presentations by two of the selected directors: Louis Gonzales (“Nona”) and Aphton Corbin (“Twenty Something”).
Other initiatives embrace panels with bank executives to show the upside of animation investment and a presentation of animation software Botticelli, designed in Mexico. The edition hosts the presence of international delegations from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Spain and Peru, among others.
“We can finally say that we have a growing animation industry in Latin America with many new studios of a larger rise and ambition. Training programs have also considerably upgraded,” said Pixelatl CEO José Iñesta.
According to the Animation White Paper published by Quirino Awards Mexico now boasts four animation lobbies, 110 production companies, 45 training facilities and 11 animation focused events.
This year, six Mexican animated productions competed at the Quirino Awards, three of them in the running for best feature: Eduardo Rivero’s winner “A Costume for Nicholas,” Leopoldo Aguilar’s “Cranston Academy: Monster Zone” and Eric Cabello Díaz’s “Xico’s Journey.”
Mexico’s animation industry is also diversifying addressing Lucha Libre, ancient civilizations, our cities, idiosyncratic characters, our sense of comedy, horror and so on. According to the 2020 Statistical Yearbook of Mexican Cinema published by Mexico’s Imcine film institute, an animation movie “Cranston Academy,” ran up the highest number of international theatrical releases last year – six in all.
Mexico’s Ciudad Creativa Digital – like other institutions across Latin America such as ProChile, Peru’s Promperú and Colombia’s Proimágenes – has initiated an animation support program.
Pixelatl’s own largest achievement, in Iñesta’s opinion, is, however, “the supportive, beautiful community that has grown around the festival.”
“This year, artists like Axur Eneas (creator of Cartoon Network’s “Toontorial”) have purchased festival passes and give them away on their social networks because they remember how transforming the event was to them and they want younger generations to have a similar opportunity,” he added.