If you want a view of where Mexican animation is headed, there’s no better place to find out than Pixelatl Festival, a key annual event that not only connects Mexican artists and producers with each other, but creates invaluable networks between Mexican artists and the international animation marketplace.

The multi-faceted event offers screenings, workshops, a market, and an expo over the course of six days. The upcoming edition is set to take place September 5-10 in its usual location – the historic town of Cuernavaca, Mexico – about an hour south of Mexico City. Cartoon Brew is delighted to premiere the trailer for the 2017 edition, which supports the festival’s theme this year – “Diversity.”

Choosing diversity as a theme in the current global climate is hardly accidental, according to Pixelatl’s organizers. That’s because a key goal of the event is to encourage the development of Mexico’s animation industry in a healthy and organic way, one in which individual Mexican creators input their own voices and ideas into the global animation scene, rather than follow market trends set by other more experienced animation-producing countries.

“With the international political situation that we are facing, we cannot remain silent and we urge the international creative community to realize that it is through sharing and accepting our differences that we can inspire better stories,” Pixelatl director José Iñesta told Cartoon Brew. “In the end, we as humans are very vulnerable and deep down face the same fears. We are conditioned to circumstances, but we are not determined by them and we can only thrive if we reach out to another human. Every story is a mix of stories and it’s urgent to tell and share our stories and at the same time discover ourselves in them; and perhaps, somebody else will find us there as well.”

The trailer was created by the budding Mexico City studio Sociedad Fantasma, founded in 2014 by Carlos Rupit, Gabriel Pich, and Liz Dot who were creative directors of different advertising agencies before banding together to launch their animation company. The boutique shop worked with Pixelatl’s organizers to develop the colorful concept, which explores how the mixing and blending of characters’ personal differences changes something within each of them. Fantasma co-founder Gabriel Pich explained to Cartoon Brew that the ‘force fields’ surrounding each character are meant to represent how each person can impact another person even if they don’t physically touch – or know – each other.

Besides its festival, screenings, and workshops, Pixelatl also includes the competitive Ideatoon Summit, in which Mexican artists and studios pitch projects to international animation executives and distributors, and receive advice on developing and producing ideas. And beyond animation, the event also offers plenty of events dedicated to the professional development of video game and comic book professionals.

Pixelatl has more than doubled in size over the past few years, attracting over 1,800 attendees last year, and as the attendees have grown, so has the guest list. This year, over 100 international guests and delegations have been invited to attend from Canada, United States, Spain, Chile, and Poland, including artists and executives from Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney, Netflix, ILM, Rare, and Square Enix. Guests in previous years have included Mark Osborne, Phil Tippett, John Kricfalusi, Shannon Tindle, Noelle Stevenson, Pete Browngardt, Regina Pessoa, and Jorge Gutierrez.

For more information about this year’s conference and Ideatoon Summit, visit ElFestival.mx.