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  • Jaelene Ramirez

BIPOC PoP Animation Festival 2024



The BIPOC Pop Animation Festival is now in its second year of celebrations. Given the importance of celebrating creatives of many backgrounds, this festival does so by highlighting some of the best work from up-and-coming animators. These animators are often scholars, industry leaders of color in the comics, gaming, and multimedia arts who focus on strengthening communities through graphic storytelling arts. The works that have been selected this year express just that.

Co-Sponsors: The Latinx Pop Lab & Ad Astra Media

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Organizers & Facilitators: UNT's Jennifer Gómez Menjívar & Jaelene Ramirez



Best Animated Doc: Little Birds directed by Gabriela Badillo




Special Jury Prize: Decolonizing Data directed by Sage Romero




Best Animated Short: Blueberry directed by Stephanie Glover




Student prize winner: A Trace directed by Julietta Zamora Lam





The winner for Best Animated Doc goes to Little Birds (“Somos Pajaritos”), directed by Gabriela Badillo.


Little Birds is an animated documentary made in collaboration with Doctors Without Borders to amplify the voice of migrant children, as well as raise awareness about their situation and rights. This moving animation captures the voices of small children with big hopes and dreams of a better future. As written in the short synopsis, “Like migratory birds, these kids cross borders facing adverse situations in search of better living conditions. From a shelter in northern Mexico, the voices of boys and girls show that dreams survive despite the uprooting and hostility of the trip.” The story is beautifully captured in child-like crayola style animations that illustrate the stories of each child. Stories like these are important to tell because of how complex the nature of these stories can be. The simplicity in this short animation makes it hopeful with a touch of playfulness leaving viewers in awe of dreams they may have of their own. Badillo says she is a firm believer in the power of art and animation as a vehicle for change and this piece is a testament to that.



The winner for Special Jury Prize goes to Decolonizing Data, directed by Sage Romero. 


The use of colors and patterns in this animation bring life to the saying “knowledge is power”. As written in the synopsis, this is “an animation project created in collaboration with the Seattle Indian Health Board, to raise awareness of utilizing digital data to preserve cultural knowledge and information.” The message is captured as individuals are seen traveling far and wide with the knowledge of their culture and ancestors on their backs and spread beyond. Romero says that projects like these are usually granted to outside companies but working with a Native American/Indigenous Animator like him allowed for his creative work to reach a larger audience. This creative work is a result of dedication and determination to strengthen a community larger than oneself, it is one of many examples of how graphic storytelling can be impactful.



The winner for Best Animated Short goes to Blueberry, directed by Stephanie Glover.


Glover is an African American female multi-hyphenate from Virginia. This fun and light-hearted animation gives life to a blueberry in the best way. As written in the synopsis, “a determined, practical boy has a change of heart when his favorite food comes to life.” The use of color and warm tones in this piece transport viewers to simpler times. She says Blueberry is her first film and believes in telling important stories of relationships with memorable characters. She does just that, by creating two memorable characters paired with the message of trying new foods. Creative works like this inspire and motivate the youth which is one of many reasons why BIPOC animation matters.





The winner for Student Prize goes to A Trace, directed by Julietta Zamora Lam.


Lam is a Mexican-American based in California whos film is based on her own personal experience growing up with an absent father. Her carefully animated film depicts a small girl drawing her family when the father in her illustration suddenly comes to life. As written in the synopsis, this film features a “3D animated short film in which a young girl learns to shed her guilt about her absent father. This student short film features an experimental flat character in a 3D environment with a toothy rendered look.” This story is emotionally driven and allows for viewers to connect to the familiar human experience of loss or the absence of a parental figure. Lam says she hopes to send a message of self-love, healing, and letting go.











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