Alberto Vazquez, director of "The Great Unicorn War," launches a new international animation festival in his Spanish hometown.

Alberto Vazquez, award-winning director of "Unicorn Wars" and "Bird Boy": Matilde Rodriguez, curator of the Santiago de Compostela International Exhibition of Contemporary Illustration, will be in Galicia, northwest Spain, May 10 for the Imaxinaria International Animation Festival.

Speaking to Cartoon Brew, Vazquez explained that the purpose of launching the event is "to show the public the artistic and expressive potential of animation and to make this wonderful medium more accessible. We want to show people that animation is cinema by showing them works that cannot be seen in theaters or on platforms."

To that end, the organizers have prepared a diverse program that includes a short film competition of 50 titles from around the world. The films will be divided into seven blocks, each lasting approximately 70 minutes. The winners of the competition will split a cash prize of 4,000 euros.

This year's jury includes three award-winning directors, Isabel Elguera ("La gallina ciega"), Chris Sembe ("Soy una tumba") and Nuno Beato ("My Grandfather's Demons"). Academy Award-winning director Michal Dudok de Wit ("Father and Daughter," "Red Turtle") will be honored as Imaxinaria's first "Padrino del Festival" and will hold a master class with the screening of his film.

In addition, Imaxinaria will screen a total of five independently produced animated feature films, one per day, and will host several master classes, workshops, and project pitching sessions.

Films to be screened at Imaxinaria include:

There will also be a Focus sidebar aimed at introducing local audiences to animation films from other countries. This year's Focus will celebrate a century of Portuguese animation, with out-of-competition screenings of Portuguese animation classics from the past few years:

Imaxinaria will be held in A Coruña, a city in Galicia on the north coast of Spain. According to Vazquez, there are several reasons for this:

A Coruña is a city with a long tradition of animation. Many animators live in the area, as two films, "Unicorn Wars" and "Grandfather Devil," were recently produced here. Coruña also has a public university, where you can study animation and video games, or you can specialize in animation at the School of Visual and Audio Arts. Also, I am from Coruña and it gives me great pleasure to be able to leave my mark on this city.

The festival will be held at the headquarters of Afundación Abanca, a local non-profit organization that promotes educational, social, and cultural activities for the betterment of Galician society. afundación is organizing the "Cultura x Alimentos" (in English "Culture and Food"). Imaxinalia will participate in this program, offering free admission to the first edition in exchange for non-perishable food items that will be donated to a local food bank.

Launching a film festival is no easy task, but Vazquez and the Immacinaria team are excited about the work they have done so far and are very optimistic about hosting the first edition this year.

We hope it will be fully booked. Animation is of interest to a lot of people and we are confident that it will be a success considering the students, the schools, the quality of the content and all the promotion we are doing. The idea is to make this festival an important event in Spain.

The festival will run from May 10 to 14, and a full program can be found here. For now, it is only in Spanish and Galician.