23 August 2016

16th International Animation Festival Hiroshima 2016: Overview

Hiroshima 2016 /ヒロシマ 2016

Dates:  August 18-22
Venue:  JMS Aster Plaza / JMS アステールプラザ
Poster Design: Seiichi Hayashi / 静一

The 16th International Animation Festival Hiroshima 2016 came to a close last night.  The talk of the 15th festival in 2014 was the fact that for the first time in the festival’s history, no Japanese animation had made the official competition.  That was not the case this year.  Six Japanese animators and a Spanish-Japanese co-production were in the official competition and thee Japanese animators walked away with awards in hand.  In addition, Japan was the festival’s country of focus for this year.  This means that over the five days of the festival a total of 27 special programmes dedicated to Japanese animation past and present were screened.  This blog post gives an overview of the winners of this year’s festival.  It will be followed by day-by-day summaries of the Japanese programmes. 

International Honorary President
Jean-François Laguionie (France)

International Jury
Karen Kelly (UK)
Fumiko Magari 眞 文子 (Japan)
David Buob (Germany)
Alik Shpilyuk (Ukraine)
Olivier Catherin (France)

International Selection Committee
Regina Pessoa (Portugal)
Christine Panushka (USA)
Willem Thijssen (The Netherlands)
Lisa Tulin and/or Lasse Persson (Sweden)
Violeta Tipa (Moldova)
Taku Furukawa 古川タク (Japan)


The Grand Prize went to Korean animator Dahee Jeong for her work The Empty (空き部屋, 2016) in co-production with the excellent French company Sacrebleu Productions.  It is a stirring depiction of a man coming to terms with the end of a relationship, in an empty room haunted by the memories of the furniture and life that used to occupy this space.  The Hiroshima Prize was won by Russian animator Anna Budanova for her animated short Among the Black Waves (アモング ブラック ウェーヴズ, 2016), a painterly, poetic piece inspired by the northern European mythology of the selkie – people who are half seal / half human.  The Debut Prize went to Gabriel Harel of France for his work Yùl and the Snake (ユル アンド スネーク, 2015).

The Renzō Kinoshita Prize is awarded in memory of the co-founder of the Hiroshima festival and since 1998 has been given to films that represent the best in independent animation.  This year’s winner was David Coquared Dassault of France for his work Peripheria (ペリフェリア, 2015).  The jury called this depiction of an urban landscape being reclaimed by natural forces “the brilliant work of a very promising animator.” (source)   Natalia Chernysheva of Russia won the The Audience Award for her film The Gossamer (ザ ゴッサマー, 2014).

Special International Jury Prize

Two Friends (トゥ フレンズ, 2014), Natalia Chernysheva (France)
One, Two, Tree (ワン トゥ ツリー, 2015), Yulia Aronova (France/Switzerland)
Before Love, Igor Kovalyov (Russia)
Feed (FEED, 2016), Eri Okazaki 岡崎 恵理 (Japan)
Zepo (セポ, 2014), Cesar Diaz Melendez (Spain)
Chulyen, a Crow's Tale (チュリーヌ クロウズ テール, 2015), Agnès Patron, Cerise Lopez (France)

Special Prize

Satie's "Parade" (サティの「パラード」, 2016), Kōji Yamamura 山村浩二 (Japan)
Life with Herman H. Rott (ライフ ウィズ ハーマン H. ロット, 2015), Chintis Lundgren (Estonia/Croatia/Denmark)
The Master (ザ マスター, 2015), Riho Unt (Estonia)
The Sleepwalker (ザ スリープウォーカー, 2015), Theodore Ushev (Canada)
Nœvus (ヌエヴュス2016), Samuel Yal (France)
The Night of the Naporitan (ナポリタンの夜, 2014), Yusuke Sakamoto坂元 友介 (Japan)

Six films made by Japanese animators and one Swedish-Japanese co-production were in the official competition.  They included:

Age of Obscure (AGE OF OBSCURE −茫漠時代−, 2015), Mirai Mizue水江 来, Onohana   ハナ 
Satie's "Parade" (サティの「パラード」, 2016), Kōji Yamamura 山村浩二
Another Memory (アナザー・メモリー, 2014), Fran Bravo フラン ブラヴォ (Spain/Japan)
The Eye of the Storm (ジ・アイ・オブ・ ザ・ ストーム, 2015), Masanobu Hiraoka 平岡政展
Master Blaster (MASTER BLASTER, 2014), Sawako Kabuki 冠 佐和子
The Night of the Naporitan (ナポリタンの夜, 2014), Yusuke Sakamoto坂元 友介
Veil (幕, 2014), Yoriko Mizushiri  水尻 自子

The Stars of Students (学生優秀作品集) programme featured works from eight up-and-coming animators studying at Japanese colleges.  From Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai): A Place to Name (その家の名前, 2015) by Ataru Sakagami (坂上 直) and To Heel (愛のかかと, 2016) by Madoka (円香).  From Tokyo Zokei University: I Can See You (アイ・キャン・シー・ユー, 2016) by Jie Gu (コケツ).  From Musashino Art University: Look at Me Only (あたしだけをみて, 2016) by Tomoki Misato (見里 朝希) and from Tama Art University (Tamabi): Moment of Truth (人面桃花, 2016), Seal Chen (陳希), I Can’t Breathe (息ができない, 2015) by Sayaka Kihata (木畠 彩矢香), so near yet so far (2016) by Komitsu Fujihata (藤幡小光) and Don't tell Mom (おかあさんにないしょ) by Sawako Kabuki (冠 佐和子).  Eri Okazaki, who won a Special International Jury Prize (see above) is also a Tamabi grad.

As a final note, the puppet animator Fumiko Magari (文子) screened two of her films as part of the screening of works by members of the selection committee.  Magari got her start in animation working for the stop motion pioneer Tadahito Mochinaga and went on to work for legendary puppet animator Tadanari Okamoto.  She currently teaches at the Laputa Art Animation School.  The Tale of Japanese Envoys to Tang Dynasty China (遣唐使ものがたり, 1999) is a stop motion animation she made for Nagasaki Prefecture and The Great Adventure of Miss Veedol ( ミスビードル 大冒険, 2013) was made for Aomori Prefecture.  The later film is based on the story of the first non-stop trans-Pacific flight, which took off from Sabishiro Beach in Aomori in 1931 and landed in Wenatchee, Washington. 

Next: Hiroshima 2016 Focus on Japanese Animation: Day 1

1963: Best Japanese Animated Shorts

Year in Review

1963 was an historic year for Japanese animation because it marked the Fuji TV debuts of Mushi Pro’s Tetsuwan Atomu  (鉄腕アトム, Osamu Tezuka, 1963-66) and Tele-Cartoon Japan’s Testujin 28-go (鉄人28号, Yonehiko Watanabe, 1963-66).  Both series would find success on American television as Astro Boy and Gigantor, not to mention their success internationally.  Other TV anime of note in 1963 were Tōei Dōga’s Ken the Wolf Boy (狼少年ケン/Ōkami Shōnen Ken, 1963-5) on NET Terebi (now TV Asahi) and Eight Man (エイトマン, Haruyuki Kawajima, 1963-66) on TBS.  Two lesser known series were Prince Shisukon (シスコン王子/Shisukon Ōji, Motoo Abiko, 1963-4) and Hermit Village (仙人部落/Sennin Buraku, Shigeharu Kaneko, 1963-4).

The major feature film of the year was Toei Dōga’s spectacular The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon (わんぱく王子の大蛇退治, 1963) which hit theatres in Japan on March 24th with the tagline: “Picture Size Three Times as Large; Interest One Hundred Times as Great”. Read my full review of the film here.  Shot in stunning widescreen Toeiscope, the film became the first feature length film to win the Noburō Ōfuji Award for innovation in animation.   
The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon
Doggie March
Shortly before the end of the year, Toei Dōga released its seventh feature length anime, Doggie March (わんわん忠臣蔵 / Wanwan Chūshingura directed by Akira Daikubara.  It is an adaptation of the famous tale 47 Ronin (Chūshingura) in a contemporary setting starring puppy dogs instead of samurai.

In the world of independent animation, the eccentric animation artist Yōji Kuri’ won a Special Jury Prize at the third Annecy animation festival for his 1962 work Clap Vocalism (人間動物園 / Ningen Dōbutsuen).   The film is also known in English the literal translation of the Japanese title Human Zoo and at Annecy it screened under the French title Jardin humain.  Learn more about the film here. 

Together with his fellow innovators Ryohei Yanagihara and Hiroshi Manabe, Kuri would host the the final Animation Group of Three (アニメーション三人の会/ Animation Sannin no Kai) event in April 1963 at Sōgetsu Cinematheque. From 1964 until 1971, they would expand the event to include other independent animators of the time including Kuri’s protégée Taku Furukawa, as well as Osamu Tezuka, Makoto Wada, Keiichi Tanaami, Sadao Tsukioka, Tatsuo Shimamura, Hal Fukushima, Fumio Ohi, Goro Sugimoto, Shin’ichi Suzuki, and others.

Puppet animation at Gakken was still going strong in 1963.  Female animation pioneer Matsue Jinbo adapted Kenji Miyazawa’s beloved tale Gauche the Cellist (セロ弾きのゴーシュ) into a lovely puppet animation.  This was the third film adaptation of the story after Yoshitsugu Tanaka’s 1949 silhouette animation (kage animation/影絵アニメーション) and Kenjirō Morinaga’s 1953 puppet animation.  Morinaga’s work was advertised as “the first feature-length, natural colour, puppet movie with music in Japan” (source).  The most renowned adaptation is of course that of Isao Takahata and Oh! Pro in 1983.  Learn more here.

Best Animated Shorts of 1963

1963年 / 4’
Yōji KURI (久里洋二, b. 1928)

A Man and a Woman and a Dog
1963年 / 3’
 Yōji KURI

1963年 / 4’

 Two Samurai
Futari Zamurai-homare Kawakiri
1963年 / 7’
Ryohei YANAGIHARA (柳原良平, 1931-2015)

1963年 / 7’
Hiroshi MANABE (真鍋博, 1932-2000)


Gauche the Cellist
Sero hiki no Gōshu
1963年 / 18’35”
Matsue JINBO (神保まつえ, b.1928)
 watch film

The White Elephant
Shiroi Zō
1963年 / 11’48”
Matsue JINBO
watch film

2016 Cathy Munroe Hotes


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