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DigiPen Europe-Bilbao’s art and animation faculty instructors are experienced artists, educators, and industry veterans who share from their knowledge and experience in the world of professional films, games, and more.

Department Faculty

Asier Azkarraga


Asier Azkarraga studied anthropology and animation in Spain. For 23 years, he has worked in the 2D and 3D film industry in four European countries (Spain, United Kingdom, France, and Germany), specializing as a director of animation and animator.

Azkarraga served as animator on a several animation productions, including features films (such as the 2005 film Gisaku), animated series, and TV spots for brands like Kellogg’s, Cola Cao, and the NBA, among others. Azkarraga teaches classes on 2D animation and projects, backgrounds, animal anatomy, and communication.

Carlos Varela


Carlos Varela received a BS in Computer Science from the Deusto University. In 1985, he worked on the very first animation feature film produced in the Basque Country. Since then, he has been devoted to animation in all formats: film, television, advertisements, video games, and web. Varela has worked for a number of leading entertainment media companies, including Warner, Universal, BBC, RAI, Globomedia, and others. He has also served as designer and director on animated TV series, directed four feature films, and served as assistant director on another four.

Varela has received two GOYA awards from the Spanish Film Academy and has been a finalist several other times. Recently, one of the feature films he worked on as creative designer and director won two awards at the Houston Film Festival — Best Animated Feature film and Best Applied Technological Innovation in Animation — for his use of Flash animation software in a theatrical film.

Varela’s expertise resides in character design and storyboarding, and he has also been an animation director and collaborated as a screenwriter. He has several years’ experience in teaching subjects related to animation and video game production.

Currently, Varela teaches animal biology, character design, storyboarding, layouts, and backgrounds at DigiPen Institute of Technology Europe-Bilbao. He is also the main instructor in the animation projects.

Christian Semczuk


Christian Semczuk has more than 20 years of experience working in the video game and film industries. He started out his career developing projects involving information architecture before leaping into video games, working at companies like Hammer Technologies and Dinamic Multimedia. With more than 12 titles published, he specialized in animation. He was involved in the film industry, where he took part in the highly-acclaimed film Las Aventuras de Tadeo Jones. He also had the chance to work in the simulation industry at Indra, where he created two strategic simulators for the European Community and another one for Civil Engineering (EMT).

Currently, he teaches courses in 3D animation (ANI300, ANI350, and ANI399) and portfolio building (ART450) and contributes to the creation of the students’ demo reels. He also co-teaches the junior and senior projects (PRJ350 and PRJ450). Enthusiastic and always striving to build rapport with his students, Semczuk follows a philosophy of “teaching to learn” from others.

Gorka Unanue


Gorka Unanue Lasala received his BS in Computer Science from the University of Deusto, Bilbao, where he worked as a teaching assistant of Photoshop and 3D Studio for two years. He then went on to receive a master’s degree in video game creation in Barcelona, where his team won the Artfutura 2009 Prize for Best Game.

Unanue has worked as a 3D modeler at Ubisoft Barcelona, where he helped create Wii and PC games, as well as at a number of serious game companies in the Basque Country. He currently serves as an art instructor at DigiPen Institute of Technology Europe-Bilbao, where he introduces students to the 3D art world and helps them build a solid foundation in the fine arts.

In addition to his career as 3D modeler and animator, Unanue is an enthusiast of animal biology and especially extinct species.

Javier Martín


Javier Martín studied fine arts and architecture in Spain. For 18 years, he has worked in the 2D animation industry in five European countries (Spain, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and France) specializing as feature film animator. Martín served as Animation Director on El Cid, as well as an animator on Asterix and the Vikings and The Illusionist. Currently, Martín teaches life drawing and human anatomy at DigiPen Institute of Technology Europe-Bilbao.

Jorge Fernandez

Music and Sound Director

Jorge Fernandez began his studies at the Universidad de Bellas Artes de La Plata, where he studied musical composition while performing with many diverse musical groups. His main focus was piano, and in 1978 he created the group “Busqueda” (with Tomy Loidi, Daniel Carrizo, Alfredo Muñoz, and Adrian Mercado), which went on to record original music with CBS Buenos Aires.

In 1984, Fernandez relocated to Marbella, Spain, where he began collaborating with such artists as Shirley Bassey, Elkin Martin, Bertin Osborne, and Starlight Orchestra. In 1988, Fernandez moved to England, where he produced original music for “Not Normal” with Adam Baker while also producing and creating many styles of contemporary music. In the 1990s, Fernandez worked on the Costa del Sol with many prominent artists, including George Duke, Kool & the Gang, and Illusion.

Currently, Fernandez is part of the duo Visage, which entertains in many hotels and clubs along the Costa del Sol. His main focus and passion this year is the preparation of new original material. Since 2007, Fernandez has been performing at the famous Hotel Puente Romano.

Mikel Rueda


Mikel Rueda received his bachelor’s in audiovisual communication studies from the UN University in 2002 and his master’s in filmmaking at the New York Film Academy in 2007.

Mikel has written and directed two feature films: Izarren argia (Estrellas que alcanzar), which was a finalist in the New Directors category at the San Sebastien International Film Festival in 2010, and A Escondidas, which received support from both the Ministry of Culture’s Screenplay Development and Project Development programs, as well as the European Commission’s MEDIA program. He is currently writing his third feature, El año que calló el muro.

Mikel has worked as a scriptwriter and director on a number of award-winning short films, including El Carrito, In the Laundry, Present Perfect, Cuando Corres, and Agua. He has also worked as an editor and scriptwriter for RNE, TVE, and EITB, where he served as the producer of “Vaya Semanita,” one of the most successful shows on Basque television.

Sergio Martínez


After receiving a BS in Computer Science and working as a software developer for several years, Sergio Martínez graduated with a focus in fine arts at the University of the Basque Country and completed his animation studies at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK.

Martínez has a broad experience as a cartoonist and portrait artist and has previously taught drawing and painting at a fine arts academy in Bilbao. His specialties include audio-visuals and multimedia productions, Flash, and stop-motion animation.

In addition to winning awards, his personal work has been exhibited and screened in several festivals and exhibitions. In the UK he collaborated on the stop-motion animation Gulp by Aardman Studios, which entered in the Guinness Book of Records as “The World’s Largest Animation.” Back in Spain, he has worked on television in the Department of Motion Graphics at EiTB, Euskal Irrati Telebista and created puppet animations for advertising.

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