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First-Ever LXiA Spark Animation Grant Recipients Announced

The inaugural program’s fellows, Cecilia De Jesus and Anthony Gallego, will receive a $10k grant, professional development sessions, and mentoring by an industry professional; the program is supported by Netflix in partnership with the Latino Film Institute.

LatinX inAnimation (LXiA), announced its first-ever LXiA Spark Animation Grant recipients. Sponsored by Netflix, the program is designed to uplift the presence of Latinx animation filmmakers, offering a grant of $10,000 towards the development and production of an animated short film. In addition, the grant fellows receive a series of professional development sessions and be paired with an individual mentor.

The two inaugural LXiA Spark Animation Grant Fellows are Cecilia De Jesus and Anthony “Ant” Gallego.

Cecilia De Jesus: An LA-based Filipina/Mexican American designer, animator and filmmaker, De Jesus has worked on several title sequences for film and television, including Sonic the Hedgehog the Movie, Motherland, Phantom Thread, and The Hate U Give. She is currently a motion graphics artist at Trailer Park Group, where she designs and animates trailers for film, television, and social content. De Jesus also contributes her animation skills towards projects for non-profit organizations such as Feeding America, the LA Regional Food Bank, and World Wildlife Foundation.

While her animated short Back to Normal, which explores themes of mental health during the pandemic, will be her own first short film, De Jesus has supported other independent filmmakers and their collective work has screened at Cannes Film Festival, Denver Film Festival, and the LA Film Festival.

“For me, receiving the LXiA Spark Grant means a chance to bring a story to life that means a great deal to me and will hopefully help others,” shared De Jesus. “It also means I can be part of the effort to add more diverse voices to the world of animation.”

Anthony “Ant” Gallego: A 2020 graduate from the School of Visual Arts in New York, Gallego completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2D animation. With an early career spanning Transistor Studios, Studio Zmei, and CBA Studios, Gallego has a passion for writing and producing horror movies. With the LXiA Spark Grant, he is excited for the opportunity to launch his animated short, Yuri, which dives headlong into the subjects of death and self-grief.

“Receiving the LXiA Spark Grant means a great deal to me,” noted Gallego. “It just is an indescribable feeling to receive recognition for your artistic efforts on this kind of scale. I’m beyond excited to see how people react to Yuri.”

LXiA Spark Fellows will have approximately 16 months to complete their animated short films. The shorts will also enjoy a special screening at LFI’s annual Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) in 2023. For its inaugural year, the LXiA Spark Animation Grant was awarded to individual Latinx filmmakers living and working in the United States.

“The LXiA Spark Grant is specifically geared to making sure that our fellows are set up for success,” explained LXiA founder and co-director, Magdiela Hermida Duhamel. “That’s why we have the mentoring and professional development series built into it. We want the LXiA Spark Grant to be truly formative to our fellows’ careers.”

“Equity is at the center of our work,” added LXiA co-founder and co-director Bryan Dimas. “We’re excited to see these projects come to life and what it means for investing in Latinx talent.”

Netflix’s support of the LXiA Spark Grant builds on their partnership with the Latino Film Institute, and is part of Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity, an effort to create more behind-the- camera opportunities for underrepresented communities within the TV and film industries.

Source: LatinX in Animation

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is assistant news editor at Animation World Network.