Iran’s ‘In the Shadow of the Cypress’ and Guatemalan Pablo León’s ‘Remember Us’ Win Top Prizes at Spain’s Animayo Gran Canaria Fest

Animayo Gran Canaria’s top two winners this year, one from Iran, another Central American, touch on the same theme that is encapsulated in what a character says in Guatemalan Pablo León’s 2D animated short, “Remember Us,” winner of the festival’s best short film of Spanish-Speaking Nationality – Animation with Ñ.

“You fight your wars twice, first in the battlefield, then in your memory,” says the journalist in “Remember Us” who chronicles three stories of the civil war that tore El Salvador apart for 12 years.

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“In the Shadow of the Cypress,” winner of Animayo’s Best International Short Film prize, centers on a war veteran struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who takes out his pent-up rage on his daughter until something unexpected washes up on the beach before their house.

With Animayo being the first and only animation festival in Spain designated a qualifying festival by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, both shorts get a direct pass to vie for the Oscars in its short film categories.

Last year, the Animayo Grand Jury prizewinner, Yegane Moghaddam’s Iranian stop-motion/2D hybrid short “The Uniform,” was among the five nominees shortlisted for the animated short film Oscar.

Disney animation legend John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin”), who served as jury president, praised “In the Shadow of the Cypress” by Hossein Molayemi and Shirin Sohani for its scenography, use of light, script and story. Aside from winning the Grand Jury Prize, it also took home the best 2D Award.

For this 19th edition held May 8 to 11, 59 works competed in four Official Competition sections: International, Animation with Ñ, Cinematics, videogames and commissioned films, and the children’s and young people’s section, ‘My First Festival.’

As always, it counted on the support of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, the Society for the Promotion of the City of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Turismo Gran Canaria, the Foundation of La Caja de Canarias, the Government of the Canary Islands and ICEX-Invest in Spain. The festival also relies on the participation of several production companies, studios, schools, and universities.

Winners of the 19th Animayo:

International Awards

Grand Jury Prize

“In the Shadow of the Cypress,” Hossein Molayemi and Shirin Sohani. Iran.

Best 2D

“In the Shadow of the Cypress”

Best 3D

“Ruthless Blade,” Zhang Bo and Nicolas Nemiri. China.

Best Stop Motion

“A Rapariga de olhos grandes e o Rapaz de pernas compridas,” Maria Hespanhol. Portugal.

Best Screenplay

“Orage,” Benoît Michelet. France.

Best Art Direction

“Summer 96,” Mathilde Bédouet. France.

Best Student Short Film

“The Navel of the Moon,”  Sara António, Julia Grupińska, Bokang Koatja, Tian Westraad, Ezequiel Garibay. Gobelins School. France.

Best Comedy

“Todo Bien,” Diana Acién Manzorro. Spain.

Best VFX (Visual Effects)

“Beauty,” Aitana Belda, Aroa Celdrán, Carmen Castrelo, Carla Martinez and Lewis Sánchez. Spain, La Salle, Universitat Ramon Llull.

Best Independent Short Film

“To Bird or Not to Bird,” Martín Romero. Spain.

Best New Talent

“O Estado de Alma,” by Sara Naves. Portugal, Spain.

Best Social Short Film

“Raja,” Louisa Maria Würden and Franziska von Holst, Germany.

Best Short Film of Spanish-Speaking Nationality – Animation with Ñ 

“Remember Us,” Pablo León. Colombia, Guatemala, USA.

Jury’s Special Mention in Spanish for Best Social Awareness

“Daisy,” Aditi Dixit, Shecid Domínguez Aguilera and Joffrey Atienza Zamora. Spain.

Jury’s Special Mention in Spanish for Best Art Direction

Beauty,” Aitana Belda, Aroa Celdrán, Carmen Castrelo, Carla Martinez and Lewis Sánchez. Spain – La Salle – Universitat Ramon Llull.

Cinematic, Spots and Music Videos

Best Commercial / Commissioner

“G’day, the Short Film,” Michael Gracey, Australia.

Best Music Video

“Colmillo,” Tainy, J. Balvin, Young Miko, Jowell & Randy’. Directed by Pau Carreté.. Canada, Spain.

Best Video Game Cinematics

“Magic: The Gathering, Dawn of the Phyrexian Invasion”

Author: Axis Studios, Wizards of the Coast, U.K.

Audience Awards

Children’s Audience Award – ‘My First Festival’

“Luki & the Lights,” Toby Cochran, Sascha Groen and Anjo Snijders. U.S., Netherlands.

Adult Audience Award

“The Navel of the Moon,” Sara António, Julia Grupińska, Bokang Koatja, Tian Westraad, Ezequiel Garibay. Gobelins School. France.

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