The twelfth edition of Pixelatl, Mexico’s leading animation festival and market, will start next week in Guadalajara and run from September 5-9.
The theme for this year’s event is “Dare to believe.” According to organizers, that idea must include oneself and others because “only through others can we grow and truly heal.” The message matches up well with the festival’s inclusionary history of inviting artists and organizations from across Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula to foster greater international cooperation.
Representatives from over 40 networks, platforms, and studios will be at this year’s market. Attendees include Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, Flying Bark, Nickelodeon, BBC, Titmouse, Lucasfilm, Sony Pictures Television, and Gaumont.
Here are five key highlights to look forward to at Pixelatl 2023.
1. Pitching Sessions
Pixelatl’s pitching sessions are among the most important in the Latin American animation, comics, and video game industries. This year’s sessions include:
- Ideatoon: Dedicated to animated series currently in development from across Latin America.
- Shortway: Run in partnership with Annecy; this sidebar is for Latin American short films.
- Adult Animation: Pixelatl and Warner Bros. Discovery jointly evaluate original adult-targeting Latin American IPs and back production of a pilot episode for one selected project.
- PAAL: An opportunity for artists to pitch their illustrated children’s books, with one selected winner to be published by Pixelatl.
- SecuenciArte: A platform for Mexican indie comic book artists to pitch their ideas, with three selected to be published by Pixelatl.
- VMX Video Game Showroom: Mexican game developers share the latest on their upcoming titles.
Short Film Screenings
The festival has divided this year’s short film screenings into 14 sections. It will also host the domestic debuts for nine History of Mexican Animation programs, which premiered at Annecy in June. During Annecy, we spoke to the curators of the History of Mexican Animation programs about their larger goal of creating a digital database to preserve the country’s animation heritage.
Mexican Production Spotlight
This year’s Pixelatl will highlight and update several important ongoing Mexican productions:
- Cinema Fantasma will share details on Frankelda and the Prince of Spooks, an upcoming feature spinning off from the popular HBO Max Latin America stop-motion series Frankelda’s Book of Spooks.
- Viva Calavera will share new details on its upcoming series Rey Mysterio vs The Darkness, featuring the legendary luchador.
- Kaddy the Fabulous Sorcerer of Chaos is an upcoming Cartoon Network/Warner Bros. Discovery series from Argentina’s Listo Calisto which will debut the pilot episode at Pixelatl.
- Aztec Batman: Clash of Empires: Mexican co-producer Ánima Estudios will host an update on the ambitious feature-length production that superimposes Batman into Mesoamerica during the time of the Spanish invasion of Central America.
Ibermedia Next Financing
Ibermedia Next is a new initiative to promote the lines of support for Latin American and Iberian productions. It was established in partnership with the Quirino Awards, Ventana Sur’s Animation!, Next Lab, and Pixelatl.
At this year’s Pixelatl, Ibermedia Next will reveal its first group of selected projects for its Latin American/Iberian co-production financing of up to €150,000 ($162,000), backed by funding from the European Union’s plan for recovery, transformation, and resilience. In addition to providing financing, the teams behind the selected projects will receive training, consulting, promotion, and distribution aid valued up to €95,000 ($103,000).
Animation, vfx, and gaming experts will host keynotes, masterclasses, and panels. This year’s speaker lineup includes director Rodrigo Blaas (Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia), cinematographer Tristan Oliver (The Fantastic Mr. Fox), story artist Gabriel Lin (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem), Emmy-winning producer Cara Speller (Love, Death, & Robots), Oscar-winning vfx artist Hal Hickel (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest), art director Yingjue Chen (Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans), Pixar vfx supervisor Sanjay Bakshi (Elemental), video game writer/designer Meghna Jayanth (80 Days), and Emmy-winning writer/story artist Alonso Ramirez Ramos (Gravity Falls).
The 2023 Pixelatl Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are The Lego Movie directors and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Pictured at top: 2023 Pixelatl trailer, produced by Lucy Animation Studio.