The sixth edition of the Quirino Awards, an annual event dedicated to the promotion of animation in Spain, Portugal and Latin America, saw a triumph for Portuguese cinema, with animations from the country taking home four of the nine awards.
The Quirino Awards also proved a veritable showcase of Portugal’s rich animation history– apt as the event also marked the centenary of animation in Portugal.
The feature film “Nayola,” helmed by Portuguese director José Miguel Ribeiro, walked off with the best feature film award.
The film, a Praça Filmes production, is a moving depiction of three generations of Angolan women grappling with the aftermath of the civil war that devastated their country in the late 20th century. Ribeiro’s first feature, “Nayola,” which premiered in main competition at the Annecy Animation Festival in 2022, is based on the play “A Caixa Preta” by Eduardo Agualusa and Mia Coutode. Its bold color palette, and melding of myth and a female perspective on the traumas of war clearly struck the jury.
Best Series went to Spain’s “Jasmine & Jambo” by Silvia Cortés, an educational series that explores musical concepts and genres for a preschool audience. The series, produced by Catalan company Teidees Audiovisuals in co-production with TV3, has been aired in more than 10 countries globally.
In the short film category, “The Garbage Man,” by Laura Gonçalves, took top honors. This Portuguese 2D animated piece shines an affectionate light on the spirit of a life as a family fondly recollect a loved one, in this case the filmmaker’s late uncle Manel Botão. Drawn in intimate lines with graceful movement into and out of scenes, it touches upon the Angolan War, and Illegal Emmigration from Portugal to France, as well as the uncle’s knack for turning the throwaway objects of his titular work into objects loved by the entire family.
The Quirinos also recognized animation in the video game industry, with Spain’s Herobeat Studios taking home the plaudit for best video game animation for their project, “Endling – Extinction is Forever.”
For technical excellence “Ice Merchants” Portugal’s first Oscar nominated production, directed by João Gonzalez, won the best visual development award.
Speaking of his approach to visual development when starting a project Gonzalez told Variety, “When I have 30 seconds of animation I put it with sounds, so I can get as much emotion as is possible…The more immersed I am in the film, the easier it is to get ideas,”
Rounding off the Portuguese success was “Garrano” by David Doutel and Vasco Sá which clinched the award for best sound design and original music.
Leading up to the Awards a two-and-a-half day Forum took place aimed at creating links between companies in order to co-produce, co-develop and work together across the Ibero-American region. Four takeaways:
Why rush? Business at a Canter
There was a lot of praise from festival veterans on the Quirinos more relaxed pace as compared to the giant markets of Annecy and Cannes. One veteran said that it felt like the festival’s old timers boast of having gone in the 70s. The strength of the slower pace is social, it gives better opportunities to foster partnerships through which co-productions, and other collaborations, can begin to form. Many more deals will complete in Annecy but some of the all important early steps may well begin here.
Incentives Attract Talent
A presentation was given at a sun drenched patio lunch, with delegates handed and donning Panama hats with a logo’d band printed with ‘Tenerife. Wake up Emotions.’
Sabita Jagatani, senior economist for ZEC (Zona Especial Canaria), began by highlighting the Canary Islands immense incentives, 45-50% rebates, just 4% corporation tax, and a talented workforce, before handing across to a series of short showcases from six studios including Atlantis Animation, now based in Tenerife having left France, and b-water studios which specialises in both 2D and 3d animation with bases in Barcelona, Cologne, and Tenerife. There was no doubt representatives of animation studios from the U.K., and Europe were here with relocation of some form in mind. Producers were here to judge the extent of the talent already established not just in Tenerife but across the Canaries.
Longer Production Equals Inflation Risk
Animation projects have a longer life cycle than live action. Production can easily take years. In securing funding a race begins; between production and inflation. Argentina is an example of where this can bite hard, inflation for the previous 12 months hit 109% this April. There were murmurings from producers that this needs looking at in terms of how and when funding is released, but with co-production between multiple countries a must for almost any feature it’s going to remain a puzzle.
Opportunities Make Careers
The Women in Animation panel, moderated by Ventana Sur Animation! coordinator Silvina Cornillón, highlighted the positive impact that mentoring programs and greater opportunities tailored toward women is having. With the right focus these opportunities enable women in animation to not just take part in a one-off programme, but most importantly, build the strong networks required to develop standalone projects. It was also a space for filmmakers both at the start of their careers, and far more established, to acknowledge the sheer stamina it takes at whatever experience level to step forward and put yourself out there to succeed. As film battles more and more forms of entertainment, diversity in storytelling has to be considered a strength to promote.
2023 QUIRINO AWARDS WINNERS
“Nayola,” (José Miguel Ribeiro, Portugal)
“Jasmine & Jambo,” (Silvia Cortés, Spain)
BEST SHORT FILM
“The Garbage Man,” (Laura Gonçalves, Portugal)
BEST STUDENT SHORT FILM
“Chimborazo,” (Keila Cepeda, Ecuador, produced in Spain)
BEST COMMISSIONED FILM
“This Dog Looks Weird,” (Facundo Quiroga, Juan Nadalino,
Sebastián García, Argentina)
BEST VIDEO GAME ANIMATION
“Endling – Extinction is Forever,” (Herobeat Studios, Spain)
BEST VISUAL DEVELOPMENT
“Ice Merchants,” (João Gonzalez, Portugal)
BEST ANIMATION DESIGN
“Passenger,” (Juan Pablo Zaramella, Argentina)
SOUND DESIGN AND ORIGINAL MUSIC
“Garrano,” (David Doutel, Vasco Sá, Portugal)
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