Latinx in Animation Sets Inaugural LALIFF Animation Day for 2021

Mercedes Milligan

Animation Magazine

May 10, 2021

LatinX in Animation (LXiA) is excited to announce 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, LALIFF is a high-profile event that showcases the talents and perspectives of Latinx filmmakers from all over the world.

Animation, however, had not yet had its standalone day at the event — until now. Including sponsors such as Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, Animation Day’s packed line-up boasts exclusive premieres, panel discussions, an animated shorts contest and master classes.

From June 2-6, the audience will have access to LXiA’s first-ever Animated Shorts Program, presented by Cartoon Network Studios’ recently announced animated shorts content initiative Cartoon Cartoons. In keeping with LALIFF’s international lens, the program will feature the works of directors across Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. The jury includes Manny Hernandez, executive producer for the upcoming Cartoon Network Studios series We Baby Bears; Doreen Spicer-Dannelly, Executive Producer & CEO of Spicerack Productions, Inc.; and Carlos Zaragoza, production designer for Sony Pictures Animation’s original animated musical Vivo (coming to Netflix this summer). The selected all-around best animated short will be awarded a one-year subscription to Storyboard Pro presented by Toon Boom.

Animation events kick off on Thursday, June 3 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.

lindsey olivares
lindsey olivares

Lindsey Olivares

On Friday, June 4, the full day of fun begins! Virtual coffee chats, or cafecitos, 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 MartinezCharise Castro Smith, screenwriter and co-director on Disney’s forthcoming feature Encanto will hold a cafecito conversation with the film’s producer Yvett Merino. Additional cafecitos will feature power hitters such as Nickelodeon‘s VP of Recruiting and Talent Development Camille Eden; creator & executive producer of Cartoon Network Studios’ Victor & ValentinoDiego 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 MalagonWalt 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.

CarlosLopezEstrada laliff2023
CarlosLopezEstrada laliff2023

Carlos López Estrada

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 owes its carefully curated line-up to 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 LXiA has never had an Animation Day all its own.

“I feel like I’ve been preparing my whole life to create, empower and unite a group of people with entertainment,” said 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 2,500 members in less than three years. It’s definitely a movement we’re building.”

LALIFF will run June 2-6. Animation Day will be held Friday, June 4. For the LALIFF full programming slate and schedule please visit Tickets go on sale May 11.

For more information on LatinX in Animation, please visit or contact [email protected].

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