Japanese Films at the London International Animation Festival

Tomorrow sees the London International Animation Festival kick off at the Barbican for its 2nd year and there is an incredible amount of titles and talent due to attend.

The festival runs for 11 days at the new Barbican Cinemas 2 & 3 and closes on the 04th of November. During that time there will be 280 films from 30 countries with presentations, discussions and workshops with some of the creators getting involved including BAFTA award-winning Kevin Girffith and Klasky Csupo studios (Rugrats, Aah! Real Monsters).

The choice is bewildering until I remember that this is a Japanese film blog and I cover anime, so here are the Japanese contributions:

Japanese Films at the London International Animation Festival

The big news for Japanophiles is the fact that Oscar ominated and award winning short film auteur Koji Yamamura will be attending the London International Animation Festival and will be holding a masterclass and Retrospective which includes an introduction and Q&A. Here are the details:

International Programme 4: Recent Japanese Shorts (15)
Saturday 27th October, 7:00 pm – at Barbican Centre
Columbus Animated ShortThe best of recently released short animated films from Japan – this year’s LIAF country of focus. A programme that opens the window on what’s going on in the young Japanese animation scene.


Midori-ko (Japan 2010 Dir Keita Kurosawa 55 mins) (cert. 15)

Saturday 27th October, 9:00 pm – at Barbican Centre

In this dark sci-fi tale, 21st century Tokyo is a city at the edge of apocalypse. Little Midori is dreaming of a colourful vegetable world, but instead, as a teenager, she travels to a post-apocalyptic, surrealist, and grotesque future that looks like a Jan Svankmajer nightmare where there is a serious food shortage. Neither hunger nor her bizarre mutant neighbours weaken Midori’s vegan spirit. In the meantime, five scientists work in a lab and manage to develop “dream food”, which is both meat and vegetable. The problem is that Midori-ko – a sort of pumpkin with face and limbs – has no intention of being eaten. When Midori and Midori-ko’s paths cross, they will have to fight to stay safe from neighbours, scientists, and even their own instincts.

Japanese animation artist Keita Kurosaka needed more than a decade’s work and almost 30,000 drawings, completely hand-drawn in coloured pencils, to produce Midori-ko, a dazzling, atmospheric “paranoid fairy tale”, as it has been called. Midori-ko is its own unique kind of animated classic, one that takes today’s present day environmental concerns and puts them into realms of imagination that most of us would never have dreamed possible.

Midori-Ko will screen with two of director Keita Kurosaka’s acclaimed short films:

Worm Story (Japan 1989 Dir Keita Kurosawa 15 min) and Agitated Screams of

Maggots (Japan 2006 Dir Keita Kurosawa 4 min).

New Japanese animation: The CALF collective (15)
Wednesday 31st October 31, 7:30 pm
13 shorts from The CALF Collective, a small group of young Japanese indie animators that decided to pool resources and take their work to the world under a single banner. It’s worked extremely well with CALF screenings of one kind or another in a vast array of festivals around the world in the last 18 months. And now it’s our turn to check out this group of Japanese indie animation trendsetters.

“The Oscar-nominated animator Koji Yamamura is in London to present a Masterclass and a Retrospective as part of the International Animation Festival. This is a rare opportunity to hear one of the Japanese animation world’s true heroes talking about his work, so book early for the 1st November events.”

Thursday 1st November 2012, 6:30pm
Barbican Frobisher Room 4, Level 4

Standard: £25 online / £30 on the door
Barbican Members: £20 online / £25 on the door
Concessions: £20 online / £25 on the door
Book Tickets
Maximum capacity: 25


Kafka COuntry Doctor

Thursday 1st November, 9:15pm
Introduction and Q&A with the director with the following shorts screened:

Mount Head / Atama-yama – 2002, 10 min
Fig – 2006, 4 min
The Old Crocodile/ Toshi wo Totta Wani – 2005, 13 min
Franz Kafka ‘A Country Doctor’ – 2007, 21 min
A Child’s Metaphysics/ Kodomo No Keijijougaku – 2007, 5 min
Muybridge’s Strings – 2011, 13 min
Barbican Cinema 3 (enter via Beech St)

Best of the Next: Programme 1 – Tokyo University of the Arts

Saturday 03rd November , 6:00 pm – at the Horse Hospital
Specimens of ObsessionLegendary Japanese animator Koji Yamamura (‘Mt Head’, ‘Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor’) dramatically and quickly re-energised the Tokyo University of the Arts animation course into a creative powerhouse of the Japanese animation scene and the world is beginning to sit up and take notice of its graduates. This collection looks at some of their more recent graduate works and shows what a unique torrent of animation has been untapped there. 14 shorts will be screened in this series

Tickets (Barbican)
Standard: £10.50 online / £11.50 on the door
Barbican Members: £8.40 online / £9.20 on the door
Concessions: £9.50 online / £10.50 on the door

Tickets (Horse Hospital)
Standard:  £10.00
Concessions:  £8.00