Mexico’s foremost animation forum, Pixelatl, kicks off Sept. 5 in Guadalajara with an array of activities that includes screenings, conferences, panels, works-in-progress sessions, master classes and pitches amid a myriad of sections.
Now on its twelfth year, the event has grown from just 100 attendees during its early years to some 3,500 on average, attracting big guns from major networks, studios and platforms worldwide.
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Execs are expected from Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Pixar, BBC, Netflix, Disney TV, Sony Pictures Television, YouTube, Fox – Bentobox and Paka Paka, among others, says Pixelatl founder-CEO Jose Iñesta, who works with a barebones team of seven people – with only three full-timers among them – to run the five-day event.
Pixelatl also organized Mexico’s extraordinarily large presence at the world’s preeminent animation festival, Annecy, where the June event paid tribute to Mexican animation. The nine Mexico in Annecy programs, comprising 88 short films, will also be presented at Pixelatl.
A host of deals on notable projects were forged at Pixelatl, including hit series “Frankelda’s Book of Spooks,” “Toontorial,” “Viking Tales” and “Villainous.”
Many projects that were first presented and discovered at Pixelatl are either on the air or streaming or ready to go. Some of them will be presented at the forum, including such titles as Lucha Libre-inspired “El Rey Misterio vs The Darkness” a co-production from Viva Calavera! and Mighty, which will soon air on Cartoon Network and Max; “Kaddy, the Fabulous Chaos Enchantress” a Warner Bros. Discovery series from Argentina’s Listo Calisto; Cinema Fantasma’s upcoming feature spin-off “Frankelda and the Prince of Spooks”; and Mexican co-producer Anima Estudios’ much-anticipated “Aztec Batman: Clash of Empires,” a hit at Annecy.
Upcoming series “La vida secreta de tu mente” is among the participating works-in-progress, developed by Pictoline and Mighty Animation for Cartoon Network. “Kaddy” director, Argentina’s Lucila Ayelén Iñiguez, will be presenting the series pilot alongside Niarchos Pabalis, head of diversity, equity & inclusion, LatAm, Warner Bros. Discovery.
Among the experts delivering keynotes, masterclasses or panels are Emmy-winning Spanish director Rodrigo Blaas (“Tales of Arcadia” “Sith”), cinematographer Tristan Oliver who has closely collaborated with Aardman Animation and Wes Anderson (“Wrong Trousers,” “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”), Disney Television Animation’s Pilar Flynn, a co-executive producer on Marvel’s “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur,” and U.K. producer Cara Speller (Oscar and BAFTA-winning “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse”).
Sanjay Bakshi, special effects supervisor at Pixar, will expand on the visual effects utilized in Pixar’s latest feature, “Elemental.”
Mexican talent participating at Pixelatl include Arturo and Roy Ambriz of Cinema Fantasma who will be sharing sneak peaks of “Frankelda…”; Juan Meza-Leon, director of “Aztec Batman: Clash of Empires” whose other credits include “Kung Fu Panda” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”; and lauded stop-motion whiz Sofia Carrillo, now working on her first feature.
“I’ve observed a return to riskier, more experimental animation, more hand-drawn 2-D and stop-motion projects,” said Iñesta of this year’s competing crop of short films. They range from the whimsical dystopian drama of Florentina Gonzalez’s “El after del mundo” to Miguel Anaya’s black-and-white charcoal drawings on cork board, “K-8,” which draws attention to the drug-related violence of Mexico.
Pixelatl’s manifesto this year is “Dare to Believe,” according to Iñesta, who adds that socio-political events tend to inspire the manifesto. Its creative partner for this edition, Lucy Animation, an all-female animation outfit from Colombia, produced an animated promotional short film for the festival, which embodies the event’s focus on collaboration and the importance of community.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller, helmer-scribes of the wildly successful “The Lego Movie” and producers of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” will be receiving the 2023 Pixelatl Lifetime Achievement Award.
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