The Hiroshima International Animation Festival this year was the 15th in Hiroshima and the 30th celebration of creative expression in this exciting art form. An impressive 2,217 animation films were submitted to the festival this year from 74 countries and regions, of those 59 were selected for the contest. Although the schedule of events had to be changed a little due to the Hiroshima landslide disaster, most of the week went to plan with the respectful addition of moments of silence for the people affected and words of sympathy for the people of Hiroshima in many of the speeches.
Of course readers might be most interested in what the winners of the contest were as judged by an excellent panel of famous animation directors. So, without further ado…..
- Grand Prize “The Bigger Picture” by Daisy Jacobs, UK. The judges loved the unique mix of animation styles and noted that it was a student film c/o the National Film and Television School. It was fun to watch and did use an interesting mix of paintings with stop motion filming. The story is about the frustrations and obligations of taking care of an aging mother- told with love and humor. http://www.thebiggerpicturefilm.com/
- Hiroshima Prize (Theme of Love & Peace) “Symphony no. 42” by Reka Bucsi, Hungary. This film showed 47 beautifully clean scenes of nature and animals set to a symphony of classical music. http://rekabucsi.tumblr.com/
- Debut Prize “Boles” by Spela Cadez, Poland. Writer’s block and lonely people shown with humor and kindness. It is based on the short story “Her Lover” by Maksim Gorky. http://spelacadez.com/
- Renzo Kinoshita Prize “Choir Tour” by Edmunds Jansons, Latvia. Produced by Atom Art. A world-famous choir tour on tour and their playfulness gets them and their teacher in trouble.
- Audience Prize “No time for toes” (Viis varpaista) by Kari Pieska, Finland. Its a cute, endearing film about the juggling act of parenting from a father’s perspective. There was a show of great appreciation from the audience after this film was shown- it seemed to charm everyone who saw it with its humor and honesty. See our interview with Kari Pieska here.
- Special International Jury Prizes and Special Prizes to: Fugue for cello trumpet and landscape, 5 meters 80, The Clockmakers, The Beast (R), Astigmatismo, The Wound, Lonely Bones (R), Man on the Chair, Baths, Pik Pik Pik, Phantom Limb, Non-euclidean geometry.
R= I’ve added R to films with especially violent scenes and/or overt sexual imagery.
There were also special exhibitions of animation from Hungary, films about Peace, Outstanding Student films and many other opportunities to view films from around the world and appreciate different cultures, traditions and styles. An amazing array of talent was represented at this year’s festival.
As entry was free this year for children up to SHS age, there was a lot of fun to be had for a younger audience attending the festival. For example, watching student films in the educational film market, kids clips, Pixar seminar and animation making workshops.
I need to mention that although this festival was promoted as a child-friendly, some of the films in the competition were not for a general-audience. Of course adult themes should absolutely be accepted into the festival as they all have merit and are thought provoking, these films were mixed into the competition without warning of the content. We hope the HIAF organizers will consider having one or two nights of the competition which are general-audience-friendly to encourage families and children to attend. It would also be useful if there were a clear notation on the schedule next to films that have an extremely violent or explicitly sexual nature.
There were so many wonderful films shown, I am sure the judges had a very difficult time choosing the winners of the competition. I had some personal favorites that were not selected for a prize, but which I felt were particularly interesting and wonderful. I was lucky enough to be able to talk with the directors of these films about their work.
Faded Finery- Oripeaux: Sonia Gerbeaud and Mathias de Panafieu (France) made a beautiful film titled “Faded Finery” (Oripeaux) about the importance of making your own choices in your life, no matter how old you are. There was a clear environmental and ethical theme as well as a human relationships observation. In the press conference, some writers asked about the unique process of making the film as it was all hand-drawn on paper, but showed vivid color.They said they hoped that different audiences could understand the film in different ways. See the interview here.
Rainy Days: Vladimir Leschiov (Latvia). This was one of the only films this year to be set in Japan and have a Japanese protagonist. In the press conference, he talked about how he got the colors just right (for the right price) and the story behind the music choice in the film. You can see the clips of Vladimir Leschiov talking about Rainy Days here on the HIAF2014 video list on gethiroshima’s YouTube channel. You can also see clips of Vladimir Leschiov’s other animation on his YouTube channel. Also, Lunohod.lv is his official website.