Major changes are afoot at Spain’s Weird Market, one of the country’s most important get-togethers for the animation and video game industries, which kicked off on Tuesday in Valencia and runs through October 2.
Weird Market has consistently evolved over the years, refusing to adhere to a strict format or dedicate itself to any one form of media. It changed its name, from 3D Wire to Weird Market, in 2019; has added dedicated sidebars for video games, transmedia, comic books, and board games to its programming; and this year the market relocated from Segovia, about 20 minutes outside of Madrid by train, to the Mediterranean coastal city of Valencia.
Weird Market director Jose Luis Farias spoke with Cartoon Brew from the historic city, explaining the importance of this year’s event:
This 14th edition of Weird Market is very important because we believe that we have found a new home in Valencia, where the animation and video games industries are already very strong and complement one another, as well as several other industries that we have been incorporating such as board games, illustration, and comics.
He went on to explain that this particular edition stands out as a milestone in the ongoing evolution of Weird Market, and will lead to bigger and better things in the future:
We believe that this is a new beginning for Weird Market, and it will let us grow even more. In fact, we have already noticed it in terms of accreditations and participating companies that are attending as a means of scouting talent.
Weird Market’s rapid growth in recent years corresponds with a larger growth seen across the Spanish screen industries, particularly in the animation and video game sectors. According to Farias:
The video game and animation sectors in Spain are incredibly buoyant right now. There is tremendous need for content globally, and Spain is very well positioned, and specifically Valencia, to help fulfil that need.
This year’s Weird Market catalog will feature 170 projects, including 37 short films, 22 feature films, 38 series, 35 video games, 16 web series, and seven transmedia productions, as well as 11 comics and four board games as the Market continues to broaden its reach. Of those, 24 have been invited to pitch in person in Valencia.
Prizes up for grabs include the Movistar Plus+ Short Project award, RTVE Best Video Game Project, Most Innovative Video Game Project, Video Game Weird Plus award, and the Best Young Creator Series Project award, granted in partnership with Annecy’s MIFA.
The 2022 market is produced with support from the Valencia Provincial Council, the City Council of Valencia, and the Generalitat Valenciana.
“We couldn’t be happier to be embarking on this new adventure in Valencia, and we’re enthusiastic to kick things off this week,” said Farias.
Below, we look at a small sampling of the projects which will pitch at this year’s event. But we encourage anyone interested check out the full slate here.
The Hundred Deaths of Peck – JuanPe Arroyo Molina (2d short)
Peck is a goblin who works as the cleaning guy at a brutal Orc Fighting Pit. Although his ambitions are great, his chances of one day becoming a champion in the pit are less than none, that is until he discovers a trinket that grants him immortality. How many ways can a goblin die in a five-minute short? Arroyo plans to show us.
The Quinta’s Ghost – James A. Castillo (vr short)
This 3d-animated vr work turns on one of Spain’s greatest-ever artists, Francisco de Goya. After falling ill, he is visited by ghosts from his past, inspiring him to paint the darkest paintings of his career as a means of exorcism. The work, however, may cost him his sanity and even his life.
The Treasure of Barracuda – by Adrià Garcia (feature)
Produced by leading Spanish indie Inicia Films, The Treasure of Barracuda is a 2d kids and family feature penned by Amelia Mora, who has worked on several key Spanish film and tv titles over the years including as story editor on [Rec]² and The Red Band Society. This film follows Chispas, an orphan girl searching for her uncle who accidentally ends up on a pirate ship. The boat is full of misogynistic ruffians who have never accepted a female on deck before, but to find the treasure they seek they must be able to read a book. Fortunately for young Chispas, she’s the only literate on board.
Brian the Brain – Tomás Peña (series)
Aimed at adults but featuring child characters, Brian the Brain turns on a boy who’s exposed brain gives him telekinetic powers. What makes him unique also makes him a target however, and he’s forced to live a nightmarish existence as a guinea pig for a multinational pharmaceutical company researching how to recombine human DNA. Bliss is producing and looking for partners while in Valencia.
Pictured at top: The Quinta’s Ghost, The Treasure of Barracuda, The Hundred Deaths of Peck, Brian the Brain