Animac Festival 2020 Celebrates Time Capsule: All Highlights

Animac Festival 2020 Celebrates Time Capsule: All Highlights

Animac 2020, the International Animation Film Festival of Catalonia, will bring together in the city of Lleida (Spain) from 27 February to 1 March the best national and international talent in the world of animation, with screenings, lectures and workshops, around the theme of memory, under the title Time Capsule.

Animation is “a powerful medium to recover the past, collect and convey memories, the time lived and history, which enables us to talk about what is very difficult to explore using live action - Carolina López, director of Animac.

This year’s programme will deal with the issue of memory from different aspects (political and social, European and feminine).

The 24th Animac will bestow the Honorary Award on William Kentridge (Johannesburg - South Africa, 1955), for being a global artist, an original and committed filmmaker, and an essential benchmark in animated memory and art in animation whose animated drawings go beyond the walls of the dark room to also vibrate in the best museums of the world. Animac will offer a complete retrospective of Kentridge’s works.

 In 2017 Kentridge received the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts “for being one of the most complete and innovate artists of the international panorama and for expressing emotions and metaphors related to the history and reality of his country, which nonetheless transcend the latter and raise essential questions regarding the human condition. He is, accordingly, an artist deeply committed to reality,” as pointed out in the minutes of the jury.

Animac 2020 will open on Thursday 27 February at 8.30 pm at the Teatre de la Llotja in Lleida with a selection of shorts addressing the issue of memory, this year’s main theme, from different viewpoints. The films to be featured in the opening session are Mémorable directed by Bruno Collet, Dcera (Daughter) directed by Daria Kashcheeva, both nominated for the best animated short in the last Oscars®, Barcelona de Foc and The Physics of Sorrow, the two latter directed by the Bulgarian Theodore Ushev, who this year will actively participate in Animac.

The short Barcelona de Foc, which will be premiered in the opening of Animac, is a film that follows the mobilisations in Catalonia after the controversial court decision surrounding the events of 1 October 2017. 

During the opening of Animac 2020 the Animation Master Award will be given to the French director Florence Miailhe for her prolific career as director of shorts using the technique of painting animated under the camera lens. Her films have been selected and awarded in many international festivals. Moreover, Miailhe will hold a masterclass on Saturday 29 February at 12.30 pm.

As a director, she has made 9 shorts, mainly on painting animated under the camera lens, for which she has won 80 major awards. In 2002 she received the César for the Best Short with Au premier dimanche d’août and in 2006 she received a Jury Special Mention Award at the Cannes Film Festival 2006 for her short Conte de quartier, among many others. In addition, in 2015 Miailhe received the Cristal d’honneur at the Annecy Festival.

 Her impressionist films reflect, from a unique viewpoint, the detail of daily life with a great command of colour and drawing. Mythology is another of her main interests. Notable among her works is the 23-minute short Méandres (2011) using the technique of animation with sand, based on Ovid’s epic poem “Metamorphosis” and made in collaboration with Elodie Bouedec and Mathilde Philippon. In the last 10 years, Miailhe has been working on her first feature film The Crossing, exploring migration, which she is about to complete.

Animac 2020 will offer a retrospective of Florence Miailhe with the following titles: Hammam (1991), Shéhérazade (1995), Au premier dimanche d’août (2002), Les oiseaux blancs, les oiseaux noirs (2002), Conte de quartier (2006) and Méandres (2013).

At the closing ceremony of Animac 2020, on March 1, the Trajectory Prize will be presented to Jordi Artigas, for his valuable contribution to the study and dissemination of independent animation films in Catalonia and for its connection with the beginning of Animac, because in 1996 Artigas was the first director of Cinemagic, the precursor sample of what Animac is today.

The closing ceremony will feature the films Mind My Mind, directed by Floor Adams, and The One-Minute Memoir, directed by Joan C. Gratz, that will be present at Animac 2020. 


This year’s Animac open call has received 943 projects from 61 countries such as France, Spain, the US, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Czech Republic, Argentina, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal and Mexico, among others. 187 films have been selected to be screened in Animac 2020 from all those received in the open call, which, along with the retrospectives and the official sections, amount to over 250 films (including shorts, feature films and series) over the four days at the La Llotja in Lleida and the CaixaForum Lleida. In total, there will be 7 world premieres, 5 international premieres (first screening outside their country of production) and around 40 premieres in Spain.

Notable among the shorts to be screened are Esfinge humana, by Maria Lorenzo, and Crazy, by Inari Sirola, which will have their world premiere at Animac, as well as Carne, by Kamila Kater, and Purpleboy, by Alexandre Siqueira, among others.

Animac 2020 will programme 7 feature films, among which it is worth mentioning the animated documentary Zero Impunity, part of a global transmedia project that brings together activism and investigative journalism; L’extraordinaire voyage de Marona, the new feature film by the Romanian director Anca Damian, a moving story of canine innocence with playful, expressive and ground-breaking animation, and Les hirondelles de Kaboul, a story set in Kabul in summer 1998, with a city in ruins occupied by the Taliban.

There will also be 3 medium-length films, including premieres of The Snail and the Whale and Zog, both in the section Little Animac.

The section Animac Cartoon will this year have around ten series, some of which are world premieres, such as the Spanish Hero Dad, made with 3D animation in real time, which will be an exclusive world premiere, and The Owl House, produced by Disney, which will be a European premiere. Moreover, it will also be possible to see the new special of Panique au Village, La Foire Agricole, or the Japanese Zip! Shimezo, among many others.

Apart from its comprehensive programme of screenings – with the usual sections of feature films, shorts, shorts by students from around the world, monographic sessions, retrospectives and series –, Animac 2020 will offer for yet another year lectures and activities by the greats of animation aimed at filmmakers, professionals and students, live shows, workshops, and the section Little Animac especially programmed for a family audience.


Yet another year, Little Animac brings culture closer to the family audience through animation with a carefully designed programme of six sessions featuring unconventional themes and aesthetics. This session will include the premiere of the medium-length feature films The Snail and the Whale and Zog, among others, and the feature film Strike, whose director, Trevor Hardy, will be the Little Animac special guest


 The Bulgarian Theodore Ushev returns to Animac after becoming one of the biggest names in world animation. His most recent films will be screened in the opening of Animac and he will deliver the lecture “Animation as a time capsule”, on Friday 28 February at 6 pm.

Animac 2020 will also be visited by the Estonian animation filmmaker, producer and academic Ülo Pikkov, one of the most original international creators in illustrating time and memory through stop motion. He will deliver the lecture “Memory in stop motion” on Sunday 1 March at 12.30 pm, and Animac will devote a retrospective to him.

 The French cartoonist and filmmaker Aurel will deliver a lecture about the work process of his long-awaited animated film Josep on Saturday 29 February at 6 pm. The film tells the story of the Catalan Josep Bartolí, anti-Franco combatant exiled in the French concentration camps, and sketcher, painter and set designer who ended up emigrating to the USA and forming part of the 10th Street group with Pollock, Kooning and Rothko. The actor Sergi López and the singer Sílvia Pérez Cruz have voiced the film.

The Mexicans Karla Castañeda and Luis Téllez, two great talents of stop motion animation cinema made in Latin America, mentored by the Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, will deliver a lecture in Animac 2020 on Saturday 29 February at 4.30 pm about the animation currently being made in the Mexican state of Jalisco, one of the most important focuses of stop motion animation in the region. They are part of a generation of young independent Mexican animators, together with figures like René Castillo, Rita Basulto, Juan José Medina, Sofía Carrillo and León Fernández, among others, who are earning international recognition thanks to their works made with the stop motion technique.

 And to celebrate this creative talent from Mexico, Animac 2020 will programme the special session “Mexican Animation” with the screening of the shorts: Jacinta and La Noria, dir. Karla Castañeda; Viva el Rey, dir. Luis Téllez; El octavo día, la creación, dir. Juan José Medina and Rita Basulto; Hasta los Huesos, dir. René Castillo; Los Aeronautas, dir. León Fernández, and Cerulia, dir. Sofía Carrillo.

Klaus, a Spanish production,  boasts technique and savoir faire of the animator Fernando Moro ─ son of the brilliant José Luís Moro, founder of the emblematic animation studio Estudios Moro. Fernando Moro will deliver an exclusive lecture in Animac, on Friday 28 February at 4.30 pm, about his professional career: he has 30 years of experience as an animator and has worked for studios such as Fox or Warner Bros, under the direction of the celebrated Don Bluth and on productions such as Anastasia, 10+2, El Cid, Asterix and Vikings, Nocturna and Planet 51 or the series Cleo & Cuquín, which he directed.

In addition to this lecture, Fernando Moro will hold a workshop for professionals and Animac Campus students (with prior registration) entitled Classical, not old, animation, at CaixaForum Lleida, on Thursday 27 February from 11 am to 2 pm

The official patroness of Animac Campus, Nuria G. Blanco, will give a talk on Thursday 27 February at 7.30 pm, based on her own experience as a producer at the prestigious Irish studio Cartoon Saloon. Trained at the Edinburgh College of Art, she has participated in hits like the pre-school series Puffin Rock or the Oscar-nominated feature film The Breadwinner and the multi-award-winning short Late Afternoon, which were shown at Animac 2018.

She is now working on the anticipated series by Fabian Erlinghauser and Nora Twomey Dorg Van Dango, is developing her own animated series Silly Sundays, which tells of the playful Sundays of three Mediterranean children, and she has set out on the adventure of writing her first feature film. A unique opportunity to get to know a truly inspiring talent.

Javier Galán (Peekaboo Animation) and Pedro Alpera (Pikkukala) are coming to Animac and will deliver a lecture on Thursday 27 February at 6 pm about these two production companies that have a studio in Barcelona and fight to get quality, energetic and 2D children’s animation series off the ground in international co-productions.


Animac 2020 will welcome the tandem of director Regina Pessoa and the director and producer Abi Feijó, two of the best exponents of animation cinema made in Portugal. Animac will include a screening of their latest film, Tio Tomás: A contabilidade dos dias(directed by Pessoa and produced by Feijó), which recently received an Annie Award for best animation short, and the Special Jury Award in the last Annecy Festival and can be seen in the Shorts 3 section of Animac 2020. Pessoa’s award-winning short features the music of Canadian composer Normand Roger, Animac 2018 Honorary Award.

 Moreover, Pessoa and Feijó will lead the animation workshop for animation students of the Leandre Cristòfol Municipal Art School in Lleida, in the framework of the 24th Animac.


The space Networking and Pitch continues to be a benchmark for emerging professionals thanks to the activities programmed that builds bridges between emerging talent and established professionals. This year 39 projects at gestation stage have been received to participate in the Incubator, 22 Portfolios to be reviewed by experienced mentors, and 10 companies will take part in the Market Pitch of Animac to offer and showcase their services.

 This year stands out for the extraordinary quality of the national and international projects received for the Incubator, notably the one presented by the Goya best animation short 2019 winner, Manuel Sirgo, or this year’s nominee, the Galicia-born David Fidalgo. This section will even feature works in this embryonic state, the new feature film project by the special guests of Little Animac, Trevor Hardy, among many others.


As in previous years, the educational and leisure side of Animac has its epicentre in Animacrea, where the professional stands will be combined with more playful and experimental activities for families and visitors. There will be animation workshops organised in collaboration with the best animation schools in Catalonia so that audiences of all ages can try their hand at animation using all techniques, manual and digital. Moreover, there is also the Open Screen and Kids Space for the youngest at home.

In the educational framework of Animac 2020, workshops for young people of the city and workshops for teachers will be held, along with those of Animacrea.

And, as ever, Animac brings animated cinema to children and young people through the School Sessions, to be held from Monday 24 to Friday 28 February, with a total of 10,500 students registered.


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