For those who complain that Hiroshima lacks major events and culture, this is something not to be missed. The festival not only provides a great chance to see some of the world’s best animation, but the intimate atmosphere means it’s also a great opportunity to meet and chat with the people who make the films. It’s also a great way to escape the heat! The Japanese animation directors got top honors this year with some spectacular films, but there was a lot of other great shows to be seen at this year’s festival.
Hiroshima International Animation Festival Awards this year (2008)
- Grand Prix – Koji Yamamura “Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor“: Koji Yamamura was the winner of the last festival with his FUNNY sakura tree growing out of a man’s head in Mt.Head, but this year it was a chilling – Japanese horror at its best- rendition of a Kafka tale, I will have to sleep with the lights on t0night!
- The Hiroshima Award and the Audience Prize: Kunio Kato‘s “La Maison en Petits Cubes” This was a heartwarming tale without any spoken dialogue that says so much, how does a director so young know so much about family ties and nostalgia- beautiful.
- Debut Prize to Jean-Charles Mbnotti Malolo for “The heart is a Metronome” a beautiful tale of the ups and downs of a father and son relationship told through tap and rhythm.
- Renzo Kinoshita Prize- Izabela Plucinska- “Breakfast” Simple clay animation with some simple painting, but the simple story of a couple having nothing to talk about resonates with many of the (married) audience. I had a chance to chat with her after and said that once you have kids you have something to talk about until they leave the house, she laughed politely and said she was thinking of settling down so her next film might be about that.
- Rene Laloux prize– Francois-Marc Baillet “A Little Farther” – a journey through shapes and things eating other things- fun!
- Special International Jury Prizes for: “Madame Tutli-Putli”, “KJFG No.5” , “Oktapodi“, “Zhiharka“, “Candid” and “Don’t Let It All Unravel”
- Special Prizes to: “John and Karen”, “Miniscule – The Ladybug”, “Beton”, “Lapsus”, “Lavatory-Lovestory”, “Lost in Snow”
10. The opening night party.
Although I will remember this with shame as I was way too intimidated to speak to hardly anyone. Even my fellow Nordics the Finns. Batsu!
9. The Peace Ceremony the night before.
Preparing for a five-day animation extravaganza after that sombre night was something of a discordant experience.
8. Guy in first row sleeping VERY LOUDLY through Paul Driessen’s retrospective.
His snoring totally disturbed my circles.
7. Guy in first row guffawing his way through the camp moments in Cinderella.
See a pattern here? If you’re not that bothered, don’t sit in the first row!
6. Pixar guy Doug Sweetland’s improvised sound effects during his presentation.
I want a Sweetland alarm clock.
5. Sharing a look of happy surprise with Pixar guy Jay Ward after earnest Israeli director Ariel Belinco revealed that he’s much rather make Pixar-style films.
But then again, who wouldn’t.
3. Realising that Nemo, the most adorable character ever, is disabled.
Pixar are great, but I didn’t realise they were transgressive. What’s that, there is animation that isn’t Pixar?
2. Seeing a bunch of world-renowned animators arrive back from an excursion to Miyajima.
All lobster-coloured and touristy.
1. Getting to watch tons of short and long, new and old, obscure and famous films for days on end.
Who needs a job, or even a life? Hey can I have my festival back?