Imaxinaria Imaxinaria

Alberto Vázquez, the award-winning director of Unicorn Wars and Birdboy: The Forgotten Children, and Matilde Rodríguez, curator of the International Exhibition of Contemporary Illustration in Santiago de Compostela, will launch the Imaxinaria International Animation Festival in Galicia in the northwest of Spain on May 10.

Speaking with Cartoon Brew, Vázquez explained that the goal in launching the event is, “To show the public the artistic and expressive possibilities of animation and bring this wonderful medium closer to them. We want people to see that animation is cinema by showing them works that they can’t find in theaters or on platforms.”

To that end, organizers have put together a diverse program that includes a short film competition of 50 titles from around the world. The films are divided into seven blocks of shorts that run about 70 minutes each. Winners from across the competition will split €4,000 in cash prizes.

The jury for this year’s competition includes a trio of award-winning filmmakers in Isabel Herguera (La gallina ciega), Khris Cembe (Soy una tumba), and Nuno Beato (My Grandfather’s Demons). Oscar-winning filmmaker Michaël Dudok de Wit (Father and Daughter, The Red Turtle) is being honored as the first Imaxinaria “Padrino del Festival” and will present a masterclass along with screenings of some of his work.

Additionally, Imaxinaria will host five screenings – one per day – of independently produced animated features, several masterclasses and workshops, and project pitching sessions.

Features screening at Imaxinaria include:

  • The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Lotte Reiniger, Carl Koch (1926)
  • Unicorn Wars, Alberto Vázquez (2022)
  • My Grandfather’s Demons, Nuno Beato (2022)
  • The Red Turtle, Michaël Dudok de Wit (2016)
  • The Boy and the World, Ale Abreu (2013)

There will also be a Focus sidebar intended to introduce local audiences to animated films from other countries. This year’s focus will celebrate a century of Portuguese animation by hosting non-competition screenings of several standout Portuguese titles from the past several years:

  • Água Mole, Alexandra Ramires (Xá), Laura Gonçalves
  • Agouro, David Doutel, Vasco Sá
  • Purpleboy, Alexandre Siquiera
  • Tío Tomás, A Contabilidade Dos Días, Regina Pessoa
  • Nestor, João Gonzalez
  • Elo, Alexandra Ramires (Xá)
  • O Casaco Rosa, Mónica Santos
  • My Grandfather’s Demons, Nuno Beato

Imaxinaria will take place in the Galician city of A Coruña on the northern coast of Spain. The reasons, according to Vázquez, are several:

A Coruña is a city with a long tradition in animation. Many animators live in the area since two films have been produced here recently, Unicorn Wars and My Grandfather’s Demons. We also have a public university where animation and video games are studied as well as an animation specialization at the School of Image and Sound. Also, I’m from Coruña and it’s a great pleasure to do something that will leave a mark on the city.

The festival will be held at the headquarters of Afundación Abanca, a local non-profit organization that promotes educational social, and cultural activities to improve Galician society. Afundación runs a program titled “Cultura x Alimentos,” or “Culture and Food” in English. Imaxinaria will join in on the program, and offer free accreditation to this first edition in exchange for donations of non-perishable food items that will be directed to local food banks.

Launching a festival is no easy feat, but Vázquez and the Imaxinaria team are excited by the work they’ve done so far and extremely optimistic for this year’s inaugural edition.

I hope there will be a full house. Animation interests a lot of people and considering the students, the schools, the quality of content, and all the promotion that we are doing, we are convinced that it will be a success. The idea is to bring the industry to Imaxinaria and make the festival a key event in Spain.

The festival will run May 10-14, and full program details can be found here. For now, they’re only available in Spanish and Galician.

Imaxinaria poster, design by Imaxinaria

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