Converted into the First Festival of Animation, Visual Effects and Video Games in the world made on a 100% virtual platform, this 15th edition of Animayo Gran Canaria has exceeded all expectations, marking a milestone in the history of these festivals with more than 35,000 participants and 22,000 new registrations from countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Denmark, Russia, the Czech Republic, India, Canada, Chile, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Peru, in addition to Spain.
Among the more than 1,600 works submitted to Animayo, of which 67 were selected for the film competition, Kapaemahu by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson under the animation direction of Daniel Sousa (U.S., 2020), came out on top with the Grand Jury Award for 2020. Kapaemahu thus obtains a direct pass for the Oscar Preselection in the Best Animation Short Film category, as Animayo is currently the only Academy Awards Qualifying Festival in Spain, designated now for three years. Besides, the winner receives a cash prize of €3,000 (~ USD 3,400) and an honorary trophy.
Kapaemahu, which means “stones of life” in native Hawai’ian, brings to life a powerful Hawai’ian legend in which four extraordinary Māhū, or two-spirit individuals — the third gender, both male and female — brought the healing arts of Tahiti to Hawai’i and imbued four giant rocks with their powers; rocks still venerated today. The piece is a vivid animation seen through the eyes of a child and narrated in the ancient Hawai’ian dialect.
The International Jury was chaired by Claus Toksvig Kjaer, a Danish animation producer on outstanding projects such as Oscar nominee Song of the Sea or Long Way North, winner of the Audience Award at Annecy. The International Jury also included Cecilia Aranovich, Lizzie Nichols, Carolina Jiménez and Marcos González P.
The Spanish Jury gave the award for Best Animated Short Film in Spanish – Animation with Ñ to El pájarocubo, from Marcos Mas and Jorge Alberto Vega Rivera (Colombia, 2019). This jury comprised Rafa Zabala, Christian Dan Bejarano, Marcos González P., Cecilia Aranovich and Lizzie Nichols. Finally, the jury for the Official Section of Cinematic, Music Videos and Commissioned was formed by Edu Martín, Arturo Monedero, Rafa Zabala, Marcos González P. and Carolina Jiménez.
As a whole, the Winners List 2020 represents a selection of films in which not only the visual artistic quality stands out, but also the tremendous sound quality. So, for the first time in Animayo, the Jury decided to award a Special Mention for Best Sound Design to Konstantin Bronzit and his shortfilm He can’t live without cosmos. Also noteworthy is the soundtrack for the short film The Tiger Who Came to Tea, composed by the British musician Robbie Williams. Likewise, this year’s Social Awareness Award winner made an impact handling the hot topic of the situation of immigrants in the United States: The Office of Missing Children by Michael Schiller (U.S., 2018).