As part of LALIFF 2021, LXiA is presenting a day of premieres, panel discussions, an animated short contest, and master classes, featuring speakers like Jorge Gutierrez, Sherley Ibarra, Carlos López Estrada, Phil Lord, and Lindsey Olivares.
LatinX in Animation (LXiA) has just announced its first-ever Animation Day as part of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival’s 20th Edition.
Co-founded in 1997 by actor, director, and producer Edward James Olmos, the Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival (LALIFF) showcases talents and perspectives of Latinx filmmakers from all over the world.
Until now, animation has not had a standalone event; this year, Animation Day has programmed a line-up boasting exclusive premieres, panel discussions, an animated shorts contest, and master classes. Sponsors for the event include Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios.
From June 2-6, audiences will have access to LXiA’s first-ever Animated Shorts Program, presented by Cartoon Cartoons, Cartoon Network Studios’ recently announced animated shorts content initiative. In keeping with LALIFF’s international lens, the program will feature works from directors across Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Germany, the UK, and the US. The Animated Shorts jury includes Manny Hernandez, Executive Producer for the upcoming Cartoon Network Studios series We Baby Bears; Doreen Spicer-Dannelly, Executive Producer and CEO of Spicerack Productions, Inc.; and Carlos Zaragoza, Production Designer for Sony Pictures Animation’s original animated musical Vivo. The winning animated short will receive a one-year subscription to Storyboard Pro presented by Toon Boom.
Animation events kick off on Thursday, June 3rd, with the live debut and Q&A of Crypt TV’s first animated horror drama for Facebook Watch, Woman in the Book. Directed by Jeanette Jeanenne and Jeanette Moreno King, the series’ lead voice talent features Diane Guerrero and Alfonso Herrera.
On Friday, June 4th, the day begins with virtual coffee chats, or cafecitos, that will spotlight professionals from studios that include Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Television Animation, Netflix, and Nickelodeon Animation Studio, capturing the scope and variety of perspectives in the animation industry.
Among the highly anticipated cafecitos is a discussion with some of the team behind Sony Pictures Animation’s The Mitchells vs. The Machines, which is out now on Netflix, including Producer Phil Lord, Production Designer Lindsey Olivares, and Head of Story Guillermo Martinez. The cafecitos will also include a conversation between Charise Castro Smith, Screenwriter and Co-Director on Disney's forthcoming feature Encanto, and Encanto's Producer Yvett Merino. Additional cafecitos will feature executives such as Nickelodeon’s VP of Recruiting and Talent Development Camille Eden, Creator and Executive Producer of Cartoon Network Studios’ Victor & Valentino Diego Molano, and a roundtable discussion with Disney Television Animation.
In support of industry professionals, Nickelodeon Animation Studio will also provide exclusive talks with recruiters in Storyboarding and Design as well as artist portfolio reviews. Complementing this, Animation Day will feature a set of masterclass workshops and talks. In partnership with Netflix, Animation Day will include a Writing for Animation Masterclass aimed at preparing emerging writers with the necessary skills to land their first writing gig. Instructors for the three-hour class include Maya and the Three writer/director/executive producer Jorge Gutierrez, alongside Sherley Ibarra, Animation Outreach & Engagement, and Creative Executive Julian Malagon. Walt Disney Animation Studios will also present a Masterclass discussion with Carlos López Estrada, Director of Raya and the Last Dragon, in conversation with film journalist Carlos Aguilar.
Covering topics from page to post, Animation Day promises an expansive and extensive program for attendees. LALIFF’s Executive Director, Rafael Agustín, remarked, “Animation is an often-underappreciated art form that is sometimes mislabeled as a ‘genre’ when it's actually a medium. LALIFF is proud to spotlight the array of storytelling and industry professionals that make up this very special sector of the entertainment industry.”
Animation Day’s program has been curated by the Latino Film Institute’s newest signature program, LatinX in Animation (LXiA). Launched in 2018 by Co-Founders Magdiela Hermida Duhamel and Bryan Dimas, LXiA was acquired by the Latino Film Institute the following year in 2019. LXiA represents a diverse group within the animation, VFX, and gaming industries and is dedicated to uniting a talented pool of innovators with heart to create exceptional stories across multiple platforms. LXiA does so by organizing activities and events focused on networking, community service, and professional development. But, this will be LxiA’s first Animation Day of its own.
“I feel like I’ve been preparing my whole life to create, empower and unite a group of people with entertainment,” says Duhamel. “Animation Day at LALIFF is one of those milestones that brings credibility and visibility to our community.”
Dimas added, “What I am most proud of LXiA for is just the general enthusiasm and passion from the animation community. We started as a small group of 60 people, and now, even with a pandemic, we have over 2500 members in less than three years. It’s definitely a movement we’re building.”
LALIFF will run from Tuesday, June 2nd, to Sunday, June 6th. Animation Day will be held Friday, June 4th. For the LALIFF full programming slate and schedule please visit www.laliff.org.Tickets will go on sale on May 11 and will be available to purchase through the festival’s site here.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.