Art and Experience: Hawaiian short “Kapaemahu” took home the 15th Animayo Gran Canaria International Grand Jury Award, which included a cash prize of €3,000 ($3,400) and the chance to vie for the Academy Award’s short list of qualifying animated shorts.

Written, directed and produced by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, “Kapaemahu” means stones of life in native Hawaiian and narrates the legend about four dual-spirit individuals who brought the healing arts of Tahiti to Hawaii, vesting their powers on four giant rocks, still revered to this day.

The international jury,  led by Claus Toksvig, the Danish animation producer of Annecy audience prize winner “Song of the Sea,” bestowed a slew of prizes to works from all over the world. Animayo received more than 1,600 submissions, of which 67 were selected to compete.

For the first time, a special mention for best sound design was awarded, which went to Konstantin Bronzit and his short film “He Can’t Live Without Cosmos.” Best 2D winner, “The Tiger Who Came to Tea,” had a noteworthy soundtrack composed by Britain’s Robbie Williams.

Going 100% online for the first time because of the Covid-19 pandemic was a boon for the festival, which encompasses animation, VFX and video gaming. Animayo has reported a final tally of 35,000 participants and 22,000 new registrants.

“We never imagined that with a problem as big as this pandemic, we would find this creative and avant-garde solution with which our festival became even more international,” said Animayo founder-director Damian Perea.

57 expert guests from 14 countries gave 15 master classes, and participated in eight panel discussions and two debates. The panels and debates were hosted on Teooh, a new avatar-based virtual event platform that enabled participants to ask questions of the panel and network in the same digital space. Masterclasses streamed on the festival’s YouTube channel.

Animayo also hosted the inaugural Online Reverse Trade Mission between Canada and the Canary Islands on May 27 and 28 where some 25 producers, independent directors and studios from the animation, VFX and video game sectors participated in a virtual conference and networked via the Teooh platform.

June 30 is the cut-off date for applications to the increased Animayo Talent Scholarship fund of €500,000 ($567,000). An in-person Animayo will take place in the fall.

Winning International Shorts:

Best 2D

“The Tiger Who Came to Tea,” Judith Kerr, Robin Shaw, Lupus Films, Joanna Harrison (UK)

Best Student Short

“Wings” Casey McDonald (US)

Best Artistic Direction

“Wade,” Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, Kalp Sanghvi (India)

Best 3D

“Maestro,” Colectivo Illogic (France)

Best Visual Effects

“400 MPH,” Paul-Eugène Dannaud, Julia Chaix, Lorraine Desserre, Alice Lefort, Natacha Pianeti, Quentin Tireloque (France)

Best Script

“Avarya,” Gökalp Gönen (Turkey)

Best Stop Motion

“Uzi” (Ties), Dina Velikovskaya (Germany, Russia)

Best Short, Humor

“Mind My Mind,” Floor Adams (Holland, Belgium)

Best Short for Children

“The Most Magnificent Thing,” Ashley Spires, John van Bruggen (Canada)

Social Awareness

“The Office of Missing Children,” Michael Schiller (US)

Best Love Story

“Widdershins,” Simon P. Biggs (Scotland)

Source: Variety