This weekend I made it to the Karibukai Animation Festival. I say “made it” because it was raining constantly this past week and I waited until the very last day of the festival for drier weather.
I got the chance to meet Carlos Goméz Nicolás (Nikodemo), creator of the funny animated series from Spain Cálico Electrónico. Niko was freshly arrived from a (wet) tour of El Yunque rainforest. Poor guy came to normally sunny Puerto Rico and barely saw the sun. He was nice enough to autograph stickers of his Cálico series for free. Cálico Electrónico is about a short chubby janitor/superhero that fights (or tries to fight) bad guys in Electronic City. Some videos the Cálico website are dubbed into English so if you can’t understand Spanish you’re in luck.
I saw Dig Comics, a pro comic book reading documentary with writer/director/host Miguel Cima (of Argentinean heritage). From what I saw, Cima is very much a comic book fanboy and this documentary is a labor of love. Made me smile. There was a second documentary about comic books called Comic Book Literacy. It was a longish but very educational. I learned something of the history of comics in the United States.
Of the Japanese anime I saw, I found Gundam Unicorn to be the most interesting and will be looking for the DVD. I hadn’t seen any robot anime since Voltron. I thought it had ruined me for anything else.
The shorts contest was disappointing not because of the quality but because of the quantity. There were only three contenders, and three prizes, so it wasn’t exactly a fierce competition. Hopefully next year we’ll get more entries. Here were the winners:
1st place ($250) and Viewer’s Choice award ($150). Fried, Elena Montijo Capetillo. This was a cute dark humor story about a little girl who loves her chickens but each bird is a bit crazy (and the girl too). I voted for this entry because it was the one I liked best. Having it created by a woman was a nice bonus. Check out her promo video at the link. It shows a bit of the winning short starting at 0:37.
2nd place ($200). Boricuas Beyond: Happy Hour, José Luis Collazo. This animated short from the Puerto Ricans in the future series Boricuas Beyond was the one I least enjoyed. Although the animation is excellent, I didn’t like the crude humor. It uses local pop culture and slang heavily so it would be hard to get if you’re not a Puerto Rican living on the island.
3rd place ($150). Ventana, José Vázquez. I’m not sure Ventana was a story, it was more like a look at past and future Puerto Rican cartoon characters, some corporate logos and others from comics and webseries. Vázquez also presented a short called Mad Taíno about a native couple who fight Spanish conquistadors.
I really hope more animators and film producers participate in future Karibukai events. It’s great exposure and the money isn’t bad either. Here’s to next year not having such foul weather that keeps people home. I really enjoyed the event and hope the Karibukai Festival will become a yearly tradition.