Going Down by Joaquín Martínez, IBIS by María Burgués and Enric Sant; and Protocolo Flambé by Rubén Fernández have been chosen the best Next Lab projects in its first edition. The jury made up of the filmmakers Pablo Berger and Daniel M. Lara, the dancer, choreographer and filmmaker Blanca Li and the communicator Verónica Rodríguez highlighted the audacity of Going Down "which offers a very different style and that, beyond being limited to the 2D style, has wanted to give it that three-dimensionality ", in a work that has also been carried out by a single person; for its part, IBIS surprises with "its risky aesthetic and dreamlike sensory proposal"; regarding Protocolo Flambé, they point out "the attractive character design and powerful cinematographic narrative". Three proposals that this Saturday showed the piece made in the workshop during the public presentation that its authors made before the attending audience and the members of the jury. The works thus get a place for Annecy MIFA 2021, where they can be presented internationally in a space for Next Lab. The ICAA, Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts, will bring the winners of this edition to Annecy, in collaboration with Next Lab.

The three winning projects have a marked feminine accent in their theme. Joaquín Martínez, animator for Cbeebies, BlueZoo and Jellyfish, takes the viewer with a woman on a subway journey where social boundaries will be broken. Enric Sant, art director for production companies such as Dvein or Hamill Industries, proposes together with María Burgués a story of two teenagers who embark on a revealing journey that will help them understand themselves and the world around them. Finally, Rubén Fernández, with an experience of more than 20 years in animation for advertising, film and video games, makes a jump in time to 1944, to a small restaurant located near the Pyrenees where his young cook is about to experiment an intense day.

Two short film projects and one transmedia short film (Protocolo Flambé) that have been part of the workshop carried out since the beginning of January in virtual format. Amarradas by Carmen Córdoba, Play Gregor by Jorge Sarria, La abuela pirata by Aitor Herrero, Titan Tofu by María Luquero and Villa Fábula by Víctor Marín (with the participation of Lucia Calvente), have been the other works that have had various masterclasses and consultancies directed by the Argentine Federico Moreno Breser and the Spanish Raúl Colomer, focused on the exclusive use of Quill and Unreal.

In this way, Next Lab closes its first edition, confirming itself as a reference forum for the animation industry. During February Friday 19th and Saturday 20th at the Talent Garden Madrid, under strict control of capacity (prior reservation of entry) and complying with all the social and health measures established by the Community of Madrid in the fight against Covid-19, various conferences took place (all of them recoverable through the official YouTube channel) such as "Show me the money! Project financing and innovation" with Enisa, the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Community of Madrid; "New ways of producing; Workflow Quill + Unreal" by Raúl Colomer, "The future of animation. Disruptive technologies that will change the sector" by Daniel M. Lara and Francisco Asensi; or the STUDIO SYRO “case study”, for which we had the studio director: Dan Franke. In addition, the program had b2b networking sessions and presentations of the projects that have been part of the workshop. This initiative that combines art and technology within the animation industry and digital content seeks to be a thermometer of the sector, at the same time that serves as a table for debate on future trends that will mark the development of creative processes.

The event has had strong institutional backing that supports its weight and projection. The opening ceremony was attended by prominent personalities such as Marta Rivera, Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Community of Madrid; Beatriz Navas, Director of ICAA; Carmen Páez Soria, General Deputy Director for the Promotion of Cultural Industries; and José Bayón, CEO of Enisa. All of them highlighted the importance of Next Lab within an industry with great creative strength and wide paths of international development. "Animation has shown its ability to adapt during this uncertain period and events like this confirm that its symbiosis with new technologies opens up ways of development with great potential", says José Luis Farias, Director of Next Lab.

In this first edition, Next Lab has the main sponsorship of the Community of Madrid; the collaboration of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Enisa, Annecy, Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market (France) and Weird Market; and the support of ICAA, Tangram Solutions, HP, Welaw, Clan VR and Real o Virtual.

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