Starting this year, Spain’s Animayo Gran Canaria will place not one, but two animated short films in the running for an Oscar. Both the winner of Animayo’s International Jury Grand Prize and – effective this 17th edition – the best Spanish-language animated short will be eligible for consideration in the animated short film category of the Academy Awards.

News broke days after the festival wrapped May 7 which saw “Prisoner Outside” by Germany’s Igor Medvedev snag the International Jury Grand award, which includes a cash prize of €3,000 Euros and the aforementioned eligibility for Oscar consideration. Short centers on a long-confined prisoner who uses his imagination to escape from his cell.

Also eligible for Oscar consideration, the best short film in Spanish – the Animation With an Ñ Award, went to “Leopoldo el del Bar” (“Leopoldo from the Bar”), by Spain’s Diego Porral, which revolves around Leopoldo, an old man who has frequented the same Madrid bar for many years. When the bar is shut down, his loneliness catches up with him in the shape of a chatty pigeon which leads him to accept his fate in an unexpected way.

Among the standouts was best director and best student film awardee, “Goodnight Mr. Ted” by Nicolás Sole, a darkly comic black and white mash-up of genres, with nods to “Taxi Driver” and “Toy Story.”

Speaking at a joint press conference held at the Gran Canaria Island Council, its President, Antonio Morales, congratulated Animayo director and producer Damián Perea on the festival’s growing success.

“The Animayo Festival is a true privilege for Gran Canaria. It has become a great showcase for training and employment in the international audiovisual sector, an emerging yet exponentially growing and powerful sector,” he noted.

Perea agreed: “The Canary Islands are the tri-continental bridge between America, Africa, and Europe.”

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Animayo 2022 Courtesy of Animayo

Henri Magalon, producer and founder-CEO of Maybe Movies, France, chaired the international jury composed of leading lights in animation, including Carlos Zaragoza, a production designer, Sony Pictures Animation); Claus Toksvig, CEO – partner and producer, Nørlum Entertainment, Denmark; Aurora Jiménez, a visual development artist at DreamWorks Animation; and Hidetaka Yosumi, a character technical director and facial rig developer at Studio Nowake, Japan).

“On top of the brilliant and warm organization that welcomed us all, I was glad to see some friends from America coming back to Europe after COVID. I was particularly impressed by the very high quality of the masterclasses and the selection of short films in competition,” Magalon told Variety.

Magalon, whose Maybe Movies has produced such acclaimed hits as “Ernest & Celestine” and “Calamity Jane,” also presented a masterclass on his career as a producer, as did his fellow jury members with whom he deliberated over the 60-plus shorts in contention.

“By meeting local talents and studios, I also discovered that the regional financial system is already providing a perfect environment for great films and series, making the Canary Islands among the best places for animation,” he noted.

“I had a great time at the festival but it was a really packed program especially for us in the jury with three rounds of meetings, watching over some 60 short films in a very limited time. But we made it and we’re also really happy about the winners we picked,” said Toksvig, whose company’s credits include the Oscar-nominated “Song of the Sea” and “Big Hero 6.”

The festival marked its first fully in-person edition since the pandemic broke with an attendance of 15,610 while the masterclasses recorded more than 2,000 attendees and 235 recruitment sessions resulted in 53 candidates aspiring to join such companies as Skydance Animation, The SPA Studios and Poland’s Platige Image.

Carlos Zaragoza and Aurora Jimenez of Sony Pictures Animation and DreamWorks Animation, respectively, held a workshop on concept art for films while Daniel Lara, director of Barcelona-based boutique animation school Pepe School Land, led a workshop on the use of animation tools such as the Blender Grease Pencil.

Until June 30, Animayo will be accepting applications for its Animayo Scholarships for Talent, with more than €500,000 ($520,000) available for both on-site and online training, with access to the most important national and international sector-related universities and schools that will be collaborating with Animayo for the 2022-2023 academic year.

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Animayo 2022 Courtesy of Animayo

Animayo ran from May 4 -7. The online edition of Animayo begins in October.

International Awards:

Grand Jury Award

“Prisoner Outside,” Igor Medvedev, Germany.

Best Director

“Good Night Mr. Ted,” Nicolás Sole Allignani, Spain.

Best 2D

“Frydenlund Hair Parlour,” Hanne Berkaak, Belgium, Norway.

Best VFX

“Absence,” Marc Hericher, France.

Best Comedy

“Leopoldo el del Bar” (“Leopoldo from the Bar”), Diego Porral, Spain.

Social Awareness

“Flower under Water,” Aitor Oñederra, Spain.

 Best Stop Motion

“Elena,” Biruté Spdeikaité, Lithuania, France, Croatia.

Best Student Short Film

“Good Night Mr. Ted”

Best Adult Short Film

“Depths of Night,” Step C., Hong Kong.

‘Animation with an Ñ’ Awards:

Best Short Film in Spanish – Animation with an Ñ.

“Leopoldo el del bar”

Social Awareness Award in Spanish

“Mula,” Carlos Balseiro, Mariano Benayón, Spain.

Winners: Cinematics, Commissioned, and Music Videos

Best Video Game Cinematics

“Resident Evil: Village Tale,” Platige Image, Poland.

Best Music Video

“Las Miradas Perdidas” (“The Blank Stares”), Clara Rodríguez, Uruguay.

Best Advertising/Commissioned

“TEDx: Real,” Substance, Berno, Bullpen, Mighty Nice, Mixcode, Nereo, Oddfellows, Post Office, Spillt, State, Australia.