The feature film Oblivion by Argentine Claudia Ruiz and the short film Lumen by Spanish Enric Sant are the winning projects of the second edition of Next Lab, the benchmark workshop for the animation sector. The list of winners is completed by Viaje al Bosque Olvidado, a feature film by Noelia María Muiño, and the series Onion & Pea by José Manuel Villena together with David Tomaselli, the two special mentions for Spanish projects given this 2022. Four proposals in total that get direct access to their international presentation at the Annecy Festival (France). This specialized workshop, which delves into the use of new disruptive technologies to improve production processes, thus completes seven weeks of online and on-site work where 11 of the 20 selected projects entered the final phase held at the Talent Garden Madrid.

The jury, made up of top professionals such as Arnaud Miquel, Carmen Córdoba, Manuel González, Nick Ladd and Úrsula García, highlighted the quality of the award-winning works such as Oblivion, a harsh story set in the 1950s, marked by a kidnapping and an episode of abuse that comes to light. The participant in this project was animation director Ana Inés Flores, an Argentinean animator with extensive international training and work for such prominent clients as Cartoon Network, Adidas and TicTac; the animator currently works at the Digital Sun video game studio.

On the other hand, Lumen is a short film by Enric Sant about a small luminous being who decides to leave his known territory to investigate further. Sant, its creator, comes from urban art and graffiti; and with more than 10 years of experience in the digital industry, he is currently dedicated to art direction and production design in animation.

The novelty of this 2022 edition are two special mentions for Spanish projects that have been given to the feature film Viaje al Bosque Olvidado by Noelia María Muiño González and the series Onion & Pea by David Tomaselli and José M. Villena. Muiño González's work travels to rural Galicia in the 90's where Paula, the main character, rediscovers her relationship with her brother Pablo, who has Down syndrome, through a fantastic world. Onion & Pea is the story of Leo, a 10-year-old boy with an almost normal life except that he lives with an onion and a pea disguised as superheroes.

The four selected proposals now embark on their international journey to Annecy MIFA 2022 thanks to the support of the ICAA, The Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts, and where the organization of the French event will grant them free accreditation, in addition to being presented there, the globally largest animation festival and market with more than 13,000 professionals each year.

The awards ceremony is the culmination of the second edition of Next Lab, which has consolidated its position as a reference forum for the animation industry. On February Friday 25th and Saturday 26th, the Talent Garden Madrid was the venue for the various conferences, networking activities and the pitching of the finalist projects that took part in the workshop. An amalgam of works from different backgrounds and formats that have delved into the use of new technologies in the virtual environment.

The event has achieved a solid and strong position within the sector in just two years, "if we are talking about innovation and new technological tools, we have to keep up with what is happening and even try to get ahead of it. This implies having a very high capacity to react," says José Luis Farias, its director. The program also included internationally renowned guests such as Dan Franke, director and co-founder of the virtual animation studio Studio Syro; Canadian VR artist and animator Nick Ladd, founding member of the Virtual Animation community; Marcos Fajardo, creator of the Arnold software and Oscar Award and Emmy Award for Engineering; and Luis Armengol, Technology Director and founder of KOYI Talent.

The industry and institutional support was once again evident with the presence of prominent personalities such as Carlo Penna, Deputy General Director for the Promotion of Cultural Industries, Ministry of Culture and Sports; Diego Ibañez, Chief Brand Officer of DeAPlaneta Entertainment; Daniel Martínez, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Community of Madrid; Carmen Cuesta, Director of ENISA's Communication and Promotion Division; and Beatriz Navas, General Director of the ICAA.


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