Japanese Animation at the London International Animation Festival 2019

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This year’s London International Animation Festival (LIAF 19) will be at the Barbican from Friday, November 29th to Sunday, December 08th. The organisers have combed through 2,600 entries and whittled them down to 85 films that best represent the international indie animation universe.

I’m interested in everything Japanese so here’s what’s on offer:

Abstract Showcase (15) (International Competition 1)

Sat 30 Nov, 17:00

The Dawn of Ape (Dir: Mirai Mizue, 2019, 4 mins, Website

This animation is Mirai Mizue’s 20th work and it had its world premiere at Annecy International Animation Festival earlier this year.

Synopsis: This is the world’s first animation created for chimpanzees to watch and it is meant to inspire their imagination.

Down Escalation (Dir: Shunsaku Hayashi, 2018, 7 min)

Synopsis: Falling down, deep into the layers of itself, until the form is no more.

Looking for Answers (15*) (International Competition 7)

Mon 2 Dec, 20:45

Castle (Dir: Ryotaro Miyajima, 2019, 5 min, Website)

Synopsis: During the period of the ‘Provinces of War’ many lives were lost. A castle architect discovers the possible role of a tearoom as a place for warriors to regain humanity.

Edge of Frame presents – Memento Stella FEATURE
Sat 7 Dec, 20:30 

This is the fourth year where LIAF work in partnership with Edwin Rostron, the animator and editor of the website Edge of Frame, who has curated a programme of experimental work “at the intersection of animation, experimental film and artists’ moving image”. He has selected one Japanese work which actually featured at Rotterdam earlier this year.

Memento Stella (Dir: Takashi Makino, 2018, 60 mins.)

Synopsis: Makino Takashi, who won a Tiger Award for Short Films with Generator in 2012, has recorded things from everyday life and manipulated them through digitisation, colour correction, and other means to create hundreds of layers of footage blended into a dense field of imagery to make something abstract and hard to recognise. On top of all that, the soundtrack by Reinier Van Houdt is also put through this process.

Takashi Makino is quoted on the site as saying: “Memento Stella is an original phrase I coined to remind me to ‘never forget that we too reside among the stars,’ as well as the title of a project I started in the winter of 2016. For several years I’ve travelled the world, screening my work. And throughout this dark, sad world, amid war and terrorism and countless lives lost to natural cataclysms caused by humans, there hasn’t been a single day that death hasn’t been in my thoughts. At the same time, I do realise that it is not only death that binds us. We are also born and raised and living on this little planet, among the stars. I pursue my work with the idea that if each day, we might be conscious of this truth for even a moment, then maybe perhaps somewhere deep in our hearts, we might find shared artistic expressions, keys to a place beyond the religions, politics, borders, languages, and personal desires which tear us apart.”

On-Gaku: Our Sound FEATURE (15)
Thur 5 Dec, 18:45 
On-Gaku: Our Sound (Dir: Kenji Iwaisawa, 2019, 68 mins.)

This anime is based on the manga by Hiroyuki Ohashi and the write up makes it sound good as “the film’s animation technique evolves as the story does, culminating in a rock ‘n’ roll spectacle for the ears and the eyes”.

It reminds me of A Japanese Boy Who Draws based on that last line. Anyway, the film won Best Feature Film at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. This screening will be a European Premiere and it will be preceded by Kenji Iwaisawa’s short film Fukurai-cho, Tunnel Alley Man.

Synopsis: A summer day. Three outsider high school students who haven’t touched an instrument in their lives decide to form a band to express their teenage angst and impress girls. Does it matter that Kenji and his friends have never played an instrument before? Of course not – he’s got a guitar at home and his friends have a bass and drums so in the true spirit of punk, with blind confidence and absolutely minimal effort they start to make friends and influence people.

Late Night Bizarre (18)
Sat 7 December,  9:00 pm

Takoyaki Story (Dir: Sawako Kabuki, 2019, 2 min)

Synopsis: The story of a girl addicted to octopus balls.

There are Japanese and Japanese-inspired entries in the Music Video section.

This blog has supported all sorts of animation since I make an effort to cover different titles appearing in various festivals and I also work for an animation festival that promotes different types of styles so I’m happy to see LIAF continue to forge ahead with its yearly celebration of animation!!! 

Here are past articles – LIAF 2012 LIAF 2013 LIAF 2015 LIAF 2016 LIAF 2017   LIAF 2018

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