Mexico's prominent presence as the honored country at Annecy is a significant achievement that took Pixelatl, the organizer, at least a year to prepare the programs and acquire classic and recent short films for showcasing.
Jose Iñesta, the founder-CEO of Pixelatl, mentions the efforts made to restore works of animation artists, including contacting their widows. The Mexican film institute, Imcine, assisted in recovering 11 shorts, some dating back to the 1930s.
For the tribute to Mexico at Annecy, Iñesta collaborated with seven renowned Mexican animation professionals to curate and organize nine programs consisting of 88 short films. Of these, 39 are directed by women, and 29 are produced by Imcine.
Imcine's funding for animation is limited, as it is allocated among various formats, including live-action. This lack of state support led to the creation of Pixelatl, an association dedicated to promoting and creating Mexico's multimedia content.
Private funding for animation is also scarce, with television networks being more interested in investing in telenovelas than animation, according to Iñesta.
“Some 12 years ago, when Pixelatl started, there were around three people working in animation in Mexico, now we have a proper animation industry, thanks to Pixelatl,” says Iñesta.
Pixelatl hosts an annual festival in September that showcases Mexico's animation, comic, and video game industries. The event provides training, recruitment opportunities, and a market for screenings, panels, and pitches.
Notable projects, such as "Frankelda's Book of Spooks," "Toontorial," and "Villainous," have secured deals at Pixelatl and were picked up by Warner Bros. Discovery Kids & Family.
Pixelatl's activities include Ideatoon, a call for animated project pitch bibles, and Secuenciarte, a call for graphic novels or comic books. They also have categories for short films and illustrated books for children.
Each year, Pixelatl selects a creative partner who develops an animated promotional short film based on the festival's manifesto. This year, Lucy Animation from Colombia is the creative partner.
Pixelatl's manifesto for this year is "Dare to Believe," inspired by socio-political events. Their online platform, Aula, was launched during the pandemic and has expanded their reach.
Mexican animation, according to Iñesta, is a testament to the talent and determination of Mexicans who continue to tell stories despite economic challenges.
The 2023 Pixelatl Festival will take place from September 5 to 9.
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