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The Goya Awards, often described as the Spanish equivalent of the Academy Awards, are the most prestigious film awards in Spain, honoring the best in Spanish cinema each year. The 2023 Goya Awards ceremony, held on February 11, saw the recognition of several outstanding films, including two animated films that featured the work of our Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation graduates. The two films were Unicorn Wars, which won the Best Animated Film award for feature-length animations, and Loop, winner of the Best Animated Short Film award.

Unicorn Wars, described by its creator Alberto Vázquez as “a cross between Apocalypse Now and Bambi,” expands upon an short film Vázquez directed a few years ago (called Unicorn Blood) and tells the story of the ancient war between bears and unicorns by way of a fantastic anti-war fable. The film received critical acclaim for its stunning visual style and thought-provoking storyline, combining elements of fantasy, science fiction, and social commentary. After making its debut at the Annecy Festival in France last summer, Unicorn Wars also received a tie-in video game for PC and mobile.

The film was developed by a dispersed team, with animators based in Bilbao, A Coruña, Paris, Angoulome, Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia. Among the talented crew were nine DigiPen Europe-Bilbao graduates: Leire Acha (2018), Beñat Etxaburu (2018), Marina Rodríguez (2019), Maider Sánchez (2020), Gloria de las Heras (2020), Iker Dimitri González (2020), Irati Otalora (2020), Uxue Artetxe (2020), and Ane Escudero (2020). In addition to winning the Goya Award for Best Animated Film, Unicorn Wars was also nominated for Best Original Song.

Directed by Pablo Polledri, Loop is a fun and creative take on a society that lives in a constant state of repetition, with each human being mechanically following their role — until something unexpected happens. The short film has won numerous awards and has been highly praised for its creativity and animation quality. Loop was brought to life by a team of talented artists, one of which we would like to highlight. Leire Acha (2018), a BFA graduate from DigiPen Europe-Bilbao, was responsible for the film’s stunning cinematography.

The success of Unicorn Wars and Loop at the 2023 Goya Awards is a testament to the incredible talent and hard work of the animators behind these films, including the many DigiPen Europe-Bilbao graduates who contributed to their creation. We look forward to seeing what these talented alumni will continue to accomplish in the future.