Tag Archives: Film Festival

Animated Edmond Was a Donkey A Winner at Francophone Fest

Edmond Was a Donkey (Edmond Etait un Ãne (French)

Edmond Was a Don­key (Edmond Etait un Ãne (French)

Franck Dion’s ani­ma­tion “Edmond Etait Un Ane” (“Edmund Was a Don­key”) won the prize for best inter­na­tional short film Fri­day at the 26th Fes­ti­val inter­na­tional de cinéma fran­coph­one en Acadie, held in Monc­ton, New Bruswick.

Jurors Chris LeBlanc, Émi­lie More­ault and Nisk Imbeault rec­og­nized the National Film Board of Canada release “for (Dion’s) capac­ity to cre­ate an effect of total immer­sion in in a skill­fully con­cep­tu­al­ized uni­verse, and for the uni­ver­sal­ity of the theme that can touch on all human marginalities.”

Tied for the “Coup de coeur du pub­lic” prize was Phil Comeau’s feature-length doc­u­men­tary Frédéric Back: Grandeur Nature. Back is a Cana­dian artist and direc­tor of short ani­mated films.

Friday’s award cer­e­mony was held dur­ing the festival’s evening at the Capi­tol theater.

Studio Ghibli Animation Retrospective Coming to Vancouver

Studio Ghibli

Stu­dio Ghibli

Between Decem­ber 14 and Jan­u­ary 3, the Vancity The­atre and The Cin­e­math­eque — both located in down­town Van­cou­ver — are co-hosting Cas­tles in the Sky: The Mas­ters of Stu­dio Ghi­bli.

It’s a major ret­ro­spec­tive of films from the world-renowned anime stu­dio Stu­dio Ghi­bli founded in Tokyo in 1985 by direc­tors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Taka­hata and pro­ducer Toshio Suzuki.

Per­fect for tran­scend­ing the win­ter greys, these films prove that Stu­dio Ghi­bli is every bit the equal of any ani­ma­tion stu­dio in the world or in film history.

All Stu­dio Ghi­bli films pre­sented at the Vancity The­atre will be screened in 35mm in the English-language ver­sions. All films at the Cin­e­math­eque will screen in Japanese-language prints with subtitles.

These films are open to all ages. Princess Mononoke is clas­si­fied 14A; all other titles are rated G or PG. The Vancity The­atre offers a spe­cial rate of $7 for youth under 19.

Tonari No Totoro (My Neigh­bor Totoro)
“Best Ani­mated Film of All Time”- Time Out Mag­a­zine
“When­ever I watch it, I smile, and smile, and smile” — Roger Ebert
Fri­day, Decem­ber 14, 6:30 p.m.; Fri­day, Decem­ber 21, 5 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 3:50 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 24, 2 p.m.; Fri­day, Decem­ber 28, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1988, 35mm, 86 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voiced by Dakota and Elle Fan­ning, Tim Daly
Two lit­tle girls and their father move into a beau­ti­ful old house in the coun­try­side to be near their mother, who is seri­ously ill in hos­pi­tal. Largely left to fend for them­selves, Mei and her big sis­ter Sat­suki encounter a strange and beau­ti­ful world of for­est sprites named “Totoros.” Miyazaki’s most beloved film is sim­ply mag­i­cal and mag­i­cally simple.

Kaze No Tani No Naushika (Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of Wind)
“A joy to watch.”- New York Times
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 15, 3 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 4 p.m.
Japan, 1984, 35mm, 117 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazake
Voice cast includes Ali­son Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Edward James Olmos, Chris Saran­don
Miyazaki’s first film as writer-director (based on his own suc­cess­ful manga) is an extrad­i­nar­ily rich fan­tasy film, an eco-allegory set in a feu­dal, toxic future and a spir­ited adven­ture movie. Led by the coura­geous Princess Nau­si­caa, the peo­ple of the Val­ley of the Wind are engaged in a per­pet­ual con­flict with pow­er­ful insects called “ohmu,” guardians of a poi­so­nous (and spread­ing) jungle.

Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi (Spir­ited Away)
Enchanted and enchant­ing… fast and funny; weird and won­der­ful. Mostly won­der­ful.” — Peter Brad­shaw, The Guardian
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 15, 5:20 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 17, 6:30 p.m.; Thurs­day, Decem­ber 20, 5:30 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 31, 2 p.m.
Japan, 2001, 35mm, 125 min., Eng­lish, Clas­si­fi­ca­tion: PG
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Dav­eigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, David Ogden Stiers, Michael Chik­lis, John Ratzen­berger
Chi­hiro and her par­ents are en route to a new home when they drive through a mys­te­ri­ous tun­nel and enter a deserted town. When her folks start gorg­ing on food and trans­form into a pair of pigs, Chi­hiro dis­cov­ers this place is not quite as empty as she had imag­ined. This is a place of spir­its, gods, mon­sters and witches.
“Picks up a res­o­nance, weight and com­plex­ity that makes it all but Shake­spearean.… No other word for it: a mas­ter­piece.” — Tony Rayns, Time Out
SIX STARS (excep­tion must be made for the excep­tional). Spir­ited Away is a feast of won­der­ment, a movie clas­sic and a joy that will enrich your exis­tence until you too are spir­ited away. I don’t expect ever to love a film more.” — Nigel Andrews, Finan­cial Times

Gake No Ue No Ponyo (Ponyo On The Cliff)
“You’ll be plan­ning to see Ponyo twice before you’ve fin­ished see­ing it once.… It offers up unfor­get­table images [..] images that use the logic of dreams to make the deep­est pos­si­ble con­nec­tion to our emo­tions, and to our souls.”- Ken­neth Turan, NPR
Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 2 p.m.; Wednes­day Decem­ber 19, 6:30 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 24, 3:45 p.m.; Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 29, 4:15 p.m.
Japan, 2008, 35mm, 101 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Cate Blanchett, Liam Nee­son, Matt Damon
Miyazaki’s strange and beguil­ing fan­tasy film about a sea spirit – it’s an odd eco fable about the ter­ri­ble power of the sea, but illus­trated with such beauty and imag­i­na­tion it trans­ports us entirely into another world. Rated G, this is suit­able for chil­dren of all ages.
“Miyazaki knows the secret lan­guage of chil­dren; he dives deep into the pool of child­hood dreams and fears and, through his ani­magic, takes chil­dren down to where they can breathe, and feel, and be free.” — Richard Corliss, Time

Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
“Com­plex, superbly ren­dered, and wildly eccen­tric — even by Miyazaki’s own stan­dards.”- J Hober­man, Vil­lage Voice
Sun­day, Decem­ber 16, 6:15 p.m.; Tue. Decem­ber 18, 6:30 p.m.
Japan, 1997, 35mm, 134 min., Eng­lish, Clas­si­fi­ca­tion: 14A
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thorn­ton, Min­nie Dri­ver, Claire Danes, Gillian Ander­son.
Set dur­ing the Muro­machi Period (1333–1568) of Japan, Princess Mononoke is the tale of a mys­ti­cal fight between humans and the Ani­mal Gods of the for­est. Aimed at a slightly older audi­ence than most Ghi­bli fare (it is clas­si­fied 14A), this epic folk tale shows the influ­ence of Akira Kuro­sawa (a Miyazaki fan him­self) and of John Ford, too. The film was the most suc­cess­ful ever at the Japan­ese box office (prior to Titanic), and named the film of the year in Japan’s equiv­a­lent to the Acad­emy Awards.
“A sym­phony of action and images, a thrilling epic of war­riors and mon­sters, for­est crea­tures and mag­i­cal spells, with an under­ly­ing alle­gory about the rela­tion­ship of man and nature.” — Roger Ebert

Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta (Cas­tle in the Sky)
“Fre­quently astound­ing.” — Richard Har­ring­ton, Wash­ing­ton Post
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 22, 12 noon; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 5:45 p.m.
Japan, 1986, 35mm, 124 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leach­man
An island in the sky? The story of a young boy who sees a girl float­ing down from the sky. He comes to her aid in her flight from sky pirates, the army and secret agents. An adven­ture story influ­enced by Trea­sure Island and Gulliver’s Trav­els, Cas­tle in the Sky is dynamic, imag­i­na­tive fam­ily enter­tain­ment with valu­able lessons about tech­nol­ogy and ignorance.

Kure­nai No Buta (Porco Rosso)
“Smooshes fan­tasy and his­tory into a pastel-pretty yarn as irre­sistible as his fem­i­nism.” — Jean­nette Cat­soulis, New York Times
Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 22, 4:10 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 23, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1992, 35mm, 94 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Susan Egan, David Ogden Stiers
Pigs will fly! This cock­eyed trib­ute to Humphrey Bog­art and Ernest Hem­ing­way fea­tures an anti-fascist flier (who hap­pens to look like a pig) track­ing sky pirates over the Adri­atic in the 1930s. An exhil­a­rat­ing romp with a melan­choly under­tow — and amaz­ing fly­ing machines!
“Teems with Miyazaki’s per­sonal pas­sions [..] ren­dered with the utmost detail and beauty. As stir­ring as Casablanca, and as sophis­ti­cated as Only Angels Have Wings, it’s a sub­lime chival­ric fable.” Nick Brad­shaw, Time Out

Majo No Takkyûbin (Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice)
“Aston­ish­ing in its visual splen­dor and delight­fully enter­tain­ing, this mag­i­cal fam­ily film about a lit­tle witch-in-training, from Japan’s cel­e­brated ani­ma­tor Hayao Miyazaki, is not to be missed.” — Los Ange­les Times
Wednes­day, Decem­ber 26, 2 p.m.; Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 2, 4:15 p.m.; Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 3, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1989, 35mm, 103 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Kirsten Dunst, Deb­bie Reynolds, Phil Hart­man, Janeane Garo­falo
In keep­ing with tra­di­tion, 13-year-old witch Kiki dusts off her broom and flies away from home for a year of inde­pen­dence and self-discovery in the big city. Her only com­pan­ion is her beloved black cat, Jiji.

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle)
“A stun­ning exam­ple of a pure, dis­ori­ent­ing dream logic that cin­ema pro­vides all too rarely.”- Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Thurs­day, Decem­ber 27, 4:30 p.m.; Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 29, 2 p.m.
Japan, 2004, 35mm, 119 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Cast: Voices: Chris­t­ian Bale, Lau­ren Bacall, Blythe Dan­ner, Emily Mor­timer, Jean Sim­mons
Teenager Sophie is cursed by the Witch of Waste and finds her­self trapped in the body of an old woman, and is unable to tell her mother or any­one else what has hap­pened. She finds help of sorts with the wiz­ard Howl, liv­ing as a ser­vant in his aston­ish­ing walk­ing cas­tle. Sophie is an inno­cent who must prove her resource­ful­ness, courage and con­vic­tion in a bewil­der­ing, alien world.

Hei­sei Tanuki Gassen Pom­poko (The Rac­coon War)
“Pom­poko is a delight­ful, often uproar­i­ously funny film, at once child­ishly irrev­er­ent and thought­fully mature. Being a Ghi­bli work, it is beau­ti­fully ren­dered and tech­ni­cally impec­ca­ble, with a great num­ber of mem­o­rable set pieces.”- Tom Mes, Mid­night Eye
Thurs­day, Decem­ber 27, 2:15 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 30, 3:30 p.m.
Japan, 1994, 35mm, 119 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Isao Taka­hata
Voices: Jonathan Tay­lor Thomas, Clancy Brown, JK Sim­mons
Imag­ine Water­ship Down, Stu­dio Ghibli-style. Instead of rab­bits, we have rac­coons. And not just any rac­coons — these crit­ters have mag­i­cal pow­ers of trans­for­ma­tion. As their habi­tat is stripped and paved by the encroach­ing humans, the good-natured but rather undis­ci­plined for­est crea­tures embark on a cam­paign of dis­rup­tion and distraction.

Neko No Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns)
“An enchant­ing, mag­i­cal fable with a twisted vein of sur­re­al­ism.” — Neil Smith, BBC
Fri­day, Decem­ber 28, 3:45 p.m.; Sun­day, Decem­ber 30, 5:45 p.m.; Mon­day, Decem­ber 31, 4:20 p.m.
Japan, 2002, 35mm, 75 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Hiroyuki Morita
Voices: Anne Hath­away, Cary Elwes, Judy Greer, Elliot Gould, Tim Curry
School­girl Haru bravely saves a cat’s life — and finds her­self sum­moned to the King­dom of the Cats for her pains, where she is to become the wife of the Cat Prince! When she refuses, she starts sprout­ing whiskers and furry ears.… What’s a girl to do?

Mimi O Sumaseba (Whis­per of the Heart)
“A beau­ti­ful film.” — David Jenk­ins, Time Out
Wednes­day, Janu­rary 2, 2 p.m.; Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 3, 4 p.m.
Japan, 1995, 35mm, 111 min., Eng­lish
Directed by Yoshi­fumi Kondo
Voices: Brit­tany Snow, Cary Elwes, David Gal­lagher, Court­ney Thorne Smith
A lovely change of pace from Stu­dio Ghi­bli, this is a teenage first-love story, set in a real­is­ti­cally observed mod­ern day Tokyo. Book­ish school­girl Shizuku meets her soul mate with a lit­tle help from a portly cat.

Call the Film Info Line at (604) 683-FILM (3456) for the lat­est info and listings.

Boy With Autism Wins Animation Award For 2nd Time

Young PK Keith of Val­ley Vil­lage, Cal­i­for­nia, who was diag­nosed with autism spec­trum dis­or­der at age two, and whose bud­ding inter­est in ani­ma­tion and film was evi­dent at an early age, received a Best Ele­men­tary School Ani­ma­tion award Sun­day from Inter­na­tional Stu­dent Film Fes­ti­val Hol­ly­wood in recog­ni­tion of his ani­mated short Ani­mal Birth­day Party.

Ten-year-old PK, who attends tutor­ing at Excep­tional Minds voca­tional school for youth with autism, won in the same cat­e­gory in last year’s ISFFH fes­ti­val, an annual event open to all ele­men­tary, junior high and high school stu­dents that rec­og­nizes young film­mak­ers from around the world. The short was selected along with more than 65 oth­ers for screen­ing at the ISFFH film fes­ti­val, which took place Sat­ur­day and Sun­day at Bev­erly Garland’s The­ater in North Hol­ly­wood, California.

Some peo­ple don’t know until after grad­u­at­ing from col­lege what they want to do. PK has always wanted to be an ani­ma­tor. Even before he could talk, he’d go through reams and reams of paper, draw­ing and lay­ing out his sto­ry­boards on the floor. This is his thing,” says mom Mol­lie Burns Keith, who enrolled PK in pri­vate tutor­ing ses­sions at Excep­tional Minds over the sum­mer to develop her son’s skills and pre­pare him for even­tual employ­ment as an animator.

PK orig­i­nated the Flash ani­ma­tion with tutor­ing and instruc­tion from Laura Robin­son and other instruc­tors at Excep­tional Minds, a Sher­man Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia voca­tional school for young adults on the autism spec­trum who aspire to become ani­ma­tors and com­puter artists. Started last year by pro­fes­sion­als in the post-production and film indus­try, and instructed by work­ing ani­ma­tors with the help of experts expe­ri­enced in autism devel­op­men­tal issues, Excep­tional Minds is being lauded as the poster child for what’s next for young adults with ASD, many of whom are under­em­ployed or unem­ployed, yet who demon­strate an apti­tude for com­puter ani­ma­tion and tech­nol­ogy in general.

PK is one more exam­ple of what these young and tal­ented indi­vid­u­als can do given the right tools, the right instruc­tion and the space to do it,” says Yudi Ben­nett, the direc­tor of oper­a­tions for Excep­tional Minds, and the par­ent of a young adult on the autism spectrum.

The Inter­na­tional Stu­dent Film Fes­ti­val Hol­ly­wood is in its 10th year as a venue “where the next gen­er­a­tion of film­mak­ers show­case their work,” plac­ing PK among an elite and esteemed group of young aspir­ing talent.

At the fes­ti­val, the Grand Jury Award went to Shaun Seong-young Kim of USC for the ani­mated Hu’s Game. The award for Best Ani­ma­tion was given to fel­low USC stu­dent Wen Huang for The Sev­enth Star.

Named Best High School Ani­ma­tion was Snub-nosed Elf, directed by Chi Keung Wong of Hong Kong’s Yung Yau Col­lege. It was writ­ten by Ngo Yin Ip and Man Ho Wan. Chak Fung Ip, also of Yung Yau Col­lege, won Best Junior High School Ani­ma­tion for Make a Dif­fer­ence, writ­ten by Ka Yung Che­ung and Wing Hang Chan.

Live Outside the Box Wins at Oregon Film Awards

Live Outside The Box

Live Out­side The Box

Directed by Shu-Hsuan Lin of Tai­wan, “Live Out­side the Box” was named the Grand Win­ner for Best Ani­ma­tion on Wednes­day at the Ore­gon Film Awards.

The lead­ing char­ac­ter, Simon, is a worka­holic with­out any social con­tact. Grad­u­ally, his world becomes smaller and smaller, and even at the very end, there is noth­ing left in his world but only his work. This severe impact finally wakes him up, and now Simon has to find the right way to bring his life back before every­thing is too late.

The Plat­inum Award in the Ani­ma­tion Film Com­pe­ti­tion was given to Fire­fly and the Cof­fee Machine, directed by John Michael Wilyat, while Back­space, directed by Jil­lian Starr and Brian Starr, won the Gold Award.

The Sil­ver Award in the Ani­ma­tion Film Com­pe­ti­tion went to Berserk: Golden Age Arc I — The Egg of the King, directed by Kubooka Toshiyuki. Klay­ton Stainer’s Atom won the Bronze Award.

The com­plete list of 2012 Ore­gon Film Award win­ners can be viewed on the event’s offi­cial Web site, www.oregonfilmawards.com.

Ten Animated Shorts Move Ahead in 2012 Oscar Race

Oscar Statuette, Academy Awards

Oscar Stat­uette, Acad­emy Awards

The Acad­emy of Motion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences announced Fri­day that 10 ani­mated short films will advance in the vot­ing process for the 85th Acad­emy Awards.

Fifty-six pic­tures had orig­i­nally qual­i­fied in the category.

The 10 films are listed below in alpha­bet­i­cal order by title, with their pro­duc­tion companies:

Adam and Dog, Minkyu Lee, direc­tor (Lodge Films)
Hi No Yôjin (Com­bustible), Kat­suhiro Otomo, direc­tor (Sun­rise Inc.)
Dripped, Léo Ver­rier, direc­tor (ChezEddy)
The Eagle­man Stag, Mikey Please, direc­tor, and Bene­dict Please, music scores and sound design (Royal Col­lege of Art)
The Fall Of The House Of Usher, Raul Gar­cia, direc­tor, and Stephan Roe­lants, pro­ducer (Melu­sine Productions/R&R Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc./Les Armateurs/The Big Farm)
Fresh Gua­camole, PES, direc­tor (PES)
Head over Heels, Tim­o­thy Reckart, direc­tor, and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, pro­ducer (National Film and Tele­vi­sion School)
Mag­gie Simp­son in “The Longest Day­care, David Sil­ver­man, direc­tor (Gra­cie Films)
Paper­man, John Kahrs, direc­tor (Dis­ney Ani­ma­tion Stu­dios)
Tram, Michaela Pavlá­tová, direc­tor, and Ron Dyens, pro­ducer (Sacre­bleu Productions)

The Short Films and Fea­ture Ani­ma­tion Branch Review­ing Com­mit­tee viewed all the eli­gi­ble entries for the pre­lim­i­nary round of vot­ing at screen­ings held in New York and Los Angeles.

Short Films and Fea­ture Ani­ma­tion Branch mem­bers will now select three to five nom­i­nees from among the 10 titles on the short­list. Branch screen­ings will be held in Los Ange­les, New York and San Fran­cisco in December.

The 85th Acad­emy Awards nom­i­na­tions will be announced live on Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 10 at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Gold­wyn Theater.

Acad­emy Awards for out­stand­ing film achieve­ments of 2012 will be pre­sented on Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 24 at the Dolby The­atre at Hol­ly­wood & High­land Cen­ter, and tele­vised live on ABC. The Oscar pre­sen­ta­tion also will be tele­vised live in more than 225 coun­tries worldwide.

Herzfeldt’s “Beautiful Day” Wins at Yosemite Animation Fest

It’s Such a Beau­ti­ful Day,” directed by Don Herzfeldt, was named Best Ani­ma­tion at the fourth inter­na­tional Yosemite Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, held in California.

It’s Such a Beau­ti­ful Day had won the First Prize Golden Zagreb Award at this year’s Zagreb World Fes­ti­val of Ani­mated Films. It also was named Best Ani­ma­tion Film (Ani­mated Short Film) a the Fant-Asia Film Fes­ti­val and received the Best Ani­ma­tion Yoram Gross Award at the Flick­er­fest Inter­na­tional Short Film Festival.

Among the John Muir Award Win­ners at the Yosemite Film Fes­ti­val, Sur­viv­ing Hunger won the Ani­ma­tion Competition.

Jimmy Paul The Pug Tooth Fairy won the Ani­ma­tion Com­pe­ti­tion at the festival’s Sil­ver Sierra Awards, while Wet and Wet­ter was declared the win­ner of the El Cap­i­tal Award in the Ani­ma­tion Competition.

The Yosemite Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val awards recog­ni­tion for some of the world’s finest and most vision­ary inde­pen­dent films made by many of the lead­ing con­tem­po­rary artists and cre­ative minds work­ing in cin­ema and screen­writ­ing today.

The judges selected one exclu­sive win­ner from each Award Tier and Best of Cat­e­gory, along with the over­all Grand Jury Prize Win­ner, The Ratio, directed by Jor­dan Imhoff, selected as the very best project from among all the com­pe­ti­tion cat­e­gories, the high­est and most acclaimed honor bestowed in the contest.

In addi­tion, Grand Prize Win­ners and Offi­cial Final­ists were selected for the annual Screen­play Com­pe­ti­tion at the dis­cre­tion of expert judges. Screen­play Com­pe­ti­tion win­ners include first place win­ner Red Flags, writ­ten by San­dra Bowes; sec­ond place win­ner She Will Be Mine, writ­ten by Burleigh Smith; third place win­ner Tran­shu­mans, writ­ten by Alex Sobol; fourth place win­ner The Bad­minton War­rior, writ­ten by Tom Radovich; and fifth place win­ner “Road­side Crosses Revised, writ­ten by Solace Pineo.

It was so grat­i­fy­ing to have received such an excep­tional wide vari­ety of sub­mis­sions,” said Eas­ton Stu­art, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Yosemite Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val. “Our mis­sion is to rec­og­nize and award pro­gres­sive, eye-opening, inde­pen­dent cin­ema and writ­ing. After care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, we are pleased to present the absolute best of the 2012 competition.”

A com­plete list of the win­ners can be viewed on the contest’s Web site, www.yosemitefilmfestival.com.

Vancouver Hosts Major Studio Ghibli Animation Retrospective

Studio Ghibli

Stu­dio Ghibli

The Cin­e­math­eque and the Vancity The­atre, both located in down­town Van­cou­ver, are co-hosting a major ret­ro­spec­tive of the films of Stu­dio Ghi­bli, the world-renowned anime stu­dio founded in Tokyo in 1985 by ani­ma­tion direc­tors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Taka­hata and pro­ducer Toshio Suzuki.

The Cin­e­math­eque pre­sen­ta­tion includes two rare titles –  Omo­hide Poro Poro (Only Yes­ter­day) and Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves) never released in North Amer­ica before. All Ghi­bli films (with the excep­tion of The Ocean Waves) will be pre­sented in new 35mm prints.

Cas­tles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Taka­hata, and the Mas­ters of Stu­dio Ghi­bli runs from Decem­ber 7 to 9, 12 to 17, 22 to 23 and 26 to 30, as well as Jan­u­ary 2 to 3.

Fre­quently referred to as the Dis­ney of Japan, Stu­dio Ghi­bli (pro­nounced “jib-lee” or “gee-buh-lee”) is known for star­tlingly orig­i­nal ani­mated fea­ture films that com­bine daz­zling visual vir­tu­os­ity, vivid char­ac­ter­i­za­tions and epic sto­ry­telling. These include some of the most mag­i­cal, most beloved ani­mated movies ever made, includ­ing Cas­tle in the Sky, My Neigh­bour Totoro, Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice, Princess Mononoke, Spir­ited Away and Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle.

Ghibli’s warm, intel­li­gent, poetic films, often full of great flights of fancy that bor­row from fairy­tale, folk­lore and sci­ence fic­tion, are always grounded in a deeply-felt human­ism that embraces fam­ily and com­mu­nity and believes in essen­tial human good­ness (despite con­sid­er­able evi­dence of human folly), and in a deep con­cern for the envi­ron­ment and our rela­tion­ship with nature. They typ­i­cally fea­ture strong female pro­tag­o­nists. Ghi­bli films, it is also worth not­ing, are still pri­mar­ily (and lov­ingly) crafted the tra­di­tional way, through the labor-intensive, hand-drawn, frame-by-frame tech­nique of cel animation.

Here’s what’s scheduled:

Kaze No Tani No Naushika (Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of Wind)
Miyazaki’s debut is con­sid­ered by many to be his mas­ter­work. There are few films, ani­mated or oth­er­wise, of such sweep­ing scope and grandeur.

Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta (Cas­tle in the Sky)
Miyazaki’s first Stu­dio Ghi­bli fea­ture is this beau­ti­ful, exhil­a­rat­ing eco-fantasy adven­ture of a young boy and girl search­ing for a long-lost float­ing island in the sky.

Majo No Takkyûbin (Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice)
Kiki is a young witch-in-training; her best friend is Jiji, a chatty, wise­crack­ing black cat in this beau­ti­ful, time­less and beloved story of a young girl find­ing her way in the world.

Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves)
RARE GHIBLI! Rarely seen out­side of Japan — never released in North Amer­ica in any for­mat — this sub­tle, poignant story of ado­les­cence and teenage iso­la­tion is a true discovery.

Tonari No Totoro (My Neigh­bor Totoro)
Miyazaki’s most endear­ing, most beloved and most iconic film tells the touch­ing tale of two sis­ters who dis­cover a for­est full of spir­its and mag­i­cal crea­tures next to their new home.

Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
Miyazaki’s epic story of con­flict between humans, gods and nature is a land­mark of ani­ma­tion and a film of unsur­passed power and beauty with an envi­ron­men­tal message.

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle)
When a shy teenager is cursed by the jeal­ous Witch of the Waste, she seeks refuge with a hand­some wiz­ard named Howl in his mag­i­cal mov­ing cas­tle while they fight to lift the spell.

Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi (Spir­ited Away)
This Acad­emy Award-winning film was Japan’s biggest box-office hit of all time, and cemented Miyazaki’s rep­u­ta­tion as an icon of inspired ani­ma­tion and won­drous, lyri­cal storytelling.

Mimi O Sumaseba (Whis­per of the Heart)
A visu­ally stun­ning won­der about the awak­en­ing of cre­ative tal­ent, this is the sole fea­ture directed by Miyazaki’s pro­tégé Yoshi­fumi Kondô before his sud­den death at the age of 47.

Neko No Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns)
Walk­ing home after a dreary day at school, Haru saves a cat from being hit by a speed­ing truck. Lit­tle does she know that she is about to be plunged into into a fan­tas­ti­cal feline world…

Hei­sei Tanuki Gassen Pom­poko (The Rac­coon War)
The for­est home of the decep­tively cud­dly tanuki — a group of mag­i­cal raccoon-like crea­tures — is threat­ened by the con­struc­tion of a new sub­urb. Now, they must fight to save it.

Kure­nai No Buta (Porco Rosso)
This trib­ute to early avi­a­tion is set between the World Wars in Fas­cist Italy, where fly­ing ace Marco — cursed with the head of a pig — and beau­ti­ful Fio are cat­a­pulted into high-flying conflict.

Omo­hide Poro Poro (Only Yes­ter­day)
RARE GHIBLI! Never released in North Amer­ica, this tale of self-discovery may delve deeper into the real emo­tional expe­ri­ences of women than any ani­mated film before or since.

Hôhokekyo Tonari No Yamadâkun (My Neigh­bors the Yamadas)
This delight­fully off­beat, rarely-seen gem was the first Ghi­bli film to be cre­ated entirely on com­put­ers in order to achieve its soft water­color look.

All Ghi­bli films pre­sented at The Cin­e­math­eque will screen in the orig­i­nal Japanese-language ver­sions with Eng­lish subtitles.

All Ghi­bli films pre­sented at the Vancity The­atre will screen in the English-dubbed versions.

All ages are wel­come! The Cin­e­math­eque wel­comes all ages to this family-friendly pre­sen­ta­tion of the films of Stu­dio Ghi­bli. All films in the series are rated G or PG (with the excep­tion of Princess Mononoke and The Ocean Waves, which are 14A — under 14 requires adult accompaniment).

Remem­ber that all The Cinematheque’s Ghi­bli screen­ings are in Japan­ese with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles! Mem­ber­ship is required for those 18 or over.

Pacific Ciné­math­èque is grate­ful to Dave Jesteadt and GKIDS (New York) and Tom Char­ity of Vancity The­atre (Van­cou­ver) for their great assis­tance in mak­ing this pre­sen­ta­tion pos­si­ble. Pro­gram notes are by (or adapted from) GKIDS, except where oth­er­wise noted.

For links to the indi­vid­ual films and their show­times, visit www.thecinematheque.ca/castles-in-the-sky-miyazaki-takahata-and-the-masters-of-studio-ghibli.

Scene from Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves), never released in North Amer­ica the­atri­cally or on any home view­ing format.

Wolf Children, Fuga Win Awards at Sitges Animation Fest

Sitges

Sit­ges

Mamoru Hosoda’s Ôkami Kodomo No Ame to Yuki (Wolf Chil­dren) was named best ani­mated fea­ture film at the 45th Sit­ges — Inter­na­tional Fan­tas­tic Film Fes­ti­val of Cat­alo­nia, while Fuga, by Juan Anto­nio Espi­gares of Spain, was hon­ored as best ani­mated short.

This was the Japan­ese director’s third award in the Anima’t Sec­tion at Sit­ges. Hosoda’s pre­vi­ous wins were in 2006 for  Toki O Kakeru Shôjo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) and 2009 for Samâ Wôzu (Sum­mer Wars).

Ôkami Kodomo No Ame to Yuki (Wolf Chil­dren) tells how when she was barely more than a teenager, Hana fell in love with a were­wolf. It might seem strange, but for 13 years, they were extremely happy, and they had two chil­dren: Yuki and Ame, who were also born with the abil­ity to trans­form into wolves. Fol­low­ing her husband’s sud­den death, Hana decides to move to the coun­try to be able to raise her chil­dren in a peace­ful envi­ron­ment, where their extra­or­di­nary fac­ul­ties won’t be dis­cov­ered. How­ever, as they grow up, Yuki and Ame must decide if they want to live as humans or as wolves.

Born in 1967, Hosada began to work for Toei Ani­ma­tion in 1991. Cre­ator of the famous TV series Digi­mon, he col­lab­o­rated with Takashi Murakami in 2003 on a piece for Louis Vuitton.

With­out dia­logue, Espi­gares’ 15-minute short Fuga plays with the pol­y­semy of the word “fuga” (escape) to weave a com­plex and plas­ti­cally inno­v­a­tive fan­tasy. It is an inflec­tion point for “dig­i­tal cin­ema” pro­duced in Spain.

The festival’s Anima’t Sec­tion jury was made up of Eduard Ter­rades, Frédéric Ambroi­sine and Ricardo Reparaz.

PLATFORM Animation Festival Opens Friday in L.A.

PLATFORM, the inter­na­tion­ally acclaimed ani­ma­tion fes­ti­val, is host­ing a three-day event in Los Ange­les from Fri­day to Sun­day, Octo­ber 26 to 28.

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with CalArts and the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts The­ater (REDCAT), PLATFORM will show­case excit­ing and inno­v­a­tive new ani­mated films and tal­ent while also cel­e­brat­ing animation’s her­itage through spe­cial screen­ings and infor­ma­tive panel discussions.

Draw­ing upon some of the fresh­est per­spec­tives on the world of ani­ma­tion, fes­ti­val direc­tor Irene Kot­larz has dis­cov­ered a new gen­er­a­tion of cura­tors for this year’s fes­ti­val. Says Kot­larz, “It has been a spe­cial plea­sure this year to work with a tal­ented group of CalArts ani­ma­tion stu­dents who have helped select the pro­gram. Their cre­ative think­ing per­fectly com­ple­ments the festival’s mis­sion to be a plat­form for artists, to break bound­aries, and to reflect devel­op­ments in new media. Together we are really excited to bring PLATFORM to Los Ange­les with an out­stand­ing range of pre­mieres, exclu­sive screen­ings, and spe­cial guests.”

CalArts dean of the School of Film/Video Steve Anker is thrilled to have his stu­dents part­ner in craft­ing the event for Los Ange­les. “The PLATFORM Ani­ma­tion Fes­ti­val makes a great case for the con­tin­ued vital­ity of ani­ma­tion as an inde­pen­dent, per­sonal art form. In just one week­end, an aston­ish­ing array of pro­grams has been orga­nized that will give L.A. view­ers a chance to see dozens of films, rang­ing from the begin­ning of cin­ema to the lat­est Inter­net sen­sa­tions, that together present a won­der­ful kalei­do­scope of ani­ma­tion as a visual art,” says Anker.

Intro­duc­ing films that have won world­wide acclaim to ani­ma­tion fans in Los Ange­les, PLATFORM will screen high­lights from the Annecy Inter­na­tional Ani­ma­tion Fes­ti­val. One pro­gram will focus on stu­dent films, and a sec­ond will present films from estab­lished artists, offer­ing view­ers a wide vari­ety of story-telling and styl­is­tic entertainment.

Embrac­ing the lat­est plat­forms for ani­ma­tion, the fes­ti­val will fea­ture both screen­ings and pan­els that focus on how the inter­net has changed the indus­try. Show­cas­ing another realm of ground­break­ing ani­ma­tion, PLATFORM is hon­ored to present a spe­cial pre­view screen­ing of Walt Dis­ney Ani­ma­tion Stu­dios’ Paper­man, fol­lowed by a panel dis­cus­sion with the key film­mak­ers of this short film.

To honor the his­tory of ani­ma­tion and those who have bro­ken bound­aries through the years, PLATFORM will share spe­cial ret­ro­spec­tive screen­ings of some of the stu­dent films from CalArts’ most famous alumni, such as John Las­seter and Craig McCracken. Reach­ing even fur­ther back into ani­ma­tion his­tory, PLATFORM will present an archival screen­ing of the short films by Ladis­las Stare­witch, the sur­re­al­is­tic stop-motion pio­neer. His work in the 1910s to 1950s ini­ti­ated the genre of fan­tas­ti­cal, gothic stop-motion ani­ma­tion whose line of influ­ence can be traced directly to con­tem­po­rary film­mak­ers like Tim Bur­ton and Henry Selick.

Funded in part with gen­er­ous sup­port from the Acad­emy of Motion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences, PLATFORM is hon­ored to have addi­tional sup­port from its found­ing spon­sor Car­toon Net­work, as well as Walt Dis­ney Ani­ma­tion Stu­dios, Dis­ney Tele­vi­sion Ani­ma­tion and ASIFA Hollywood.

The sched­ule for the fes­ti­val is as follows:

Fri­day, Octo­ber 26

7:30 p.m.: Ladis­las Stare­witch. A rare screen­ing of 35mm archival prints of short films by the influ­en­tial sur­re­al­is­tic stop-motion pio­neer played to live music. Polish-born Stare­witch lived most of his life in Paris, cre­at­ing fan­tas­ti­cal, sophis­ti­cated and enter­tain­ing nar­ra­tive films fea­tur­ing strange insect and ani­mal char­ac­ters. The com­pi­la­tion screen­ing will include such titles as L’Epouvantail (The Scare­crow), Amour Noir et Blanc (Love in Black and White), La Reine des Papil­lons (Queen of the But­ter­flies) and Les Yeux du Dragon (Eyes of the Dragon).

10 p.m.: Best of World Stu­dent Ani­ma­tion. Screen­ing of selec­tions from Annecy 2012 rep­re­sent­ing a broad spec­trum of schools from all over the world. The pro­gram will include such award-winning stu­dent films as I’m Fine Thanks, directed by Eamonn O’Neill, and The Mak­ing of Long­bird, directed by Will Anderson.

Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 27

12 noon: Stream­ing: A Con­ver­sa­tion About Ani­ma­tors on the Web. Panel dis­cus­sion to help answer the ques­tions that today’s ani­ma­tors today face, con­sid­er­ing the bewil­der­ing array of options and plat­forms for get­ting their work out to an audi­ence: Should they put it out on the Web, and if so, which site? Should they give it away for free, or can they make money? Should they invite com­ments? Should they hold off and try to get into fes­ti­vals? Will they miss the boat? Pan­elists include Jason Sondhi (Vimeo), among oth­ers. Mod­er­ated by Aaron Simp­son (Mondo Media).

2 p.m.: Pre­view of Disney’s Paper­man. Spe­cial screen­ing fol­lowed by a panel dis­cus­sion with direc­tor John Kahrs, art direc­tor Jeff Tur­ley and ani­ma­tion super­vi­sor Patrick Osborne. Apply­ing a tech­nique that seam­lessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn ani­ma­tion tech­niques, first-time direc­tor John Kahrs takes the art of ani­ma­tion in a bold new direc­tion in this short film.

4:30 p.m.: Best of World Ani­ma­tion. Screen­ing of selec­tions from Annecy 2012. Films include Michaela Pavlátová’s Grand Prix win­ner Tram (2012) and exper­i­men­tal artist Stephen Irwin’s Ottawa Grand Prix-winner Moxie (2011). Other award-winning films include Hisko Helsing’s Junk­yard (2012), which just won the Nel­vana Grand Prize for Best Inde­pen­dent Short Ani­ma­tion at the 2012 Ottawa Inter­na­tional Ani­ma­tion Fes­ti­val, and Oh, Willy (2011) by Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels, which has won Best Euro­pean Ani­ma­tion Short Film at Car­toon D’or and Grand Prix for Shorts at the Hol­land Ani­ma­tion Film Fes­ti­val this year.

7: p.m.: PES: A Ret­ro­spec­tive. Spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion. The direc­tor and ani­ma­tor of numer­ous witty short stop-motion films and com­mer­cials, PES has a huge fol­low­ing at fes­ti­vals and on the Inter­net. PES will screen and dis­cuss a selec­tion of his work. includ­ing his renowned The Deep (2011).

Sun­day, Octo­ber 28

12 noon: “Awe­some” Car­toon Net­work. Screen­ing and panel. A selec­tion of shows and cre­ative inter­sti­tials that exem­plify an influ­en­tial trend in TV and Inter­net ani­ma­tion, appear­ing first in the network’s Pow­er­puff Girls. Reach­ing its height with the pio­neer­ing Adven­ture Time, the cul­ture of “awe­some” empha­sizes a clean and bub­bly esthetic, pos­i­tiv­ity, and dis­tinc­tive, ran­dom humor. The screen­ing will be fol­lowed by a panel of Car­toon Net­work artists, includ­ing Pendle­ton Ward (Adven­ture Time) and JG Quin­tel (Reg­u­lar Show). Intro­duced by Rob Sor­cher, chief con­tent offi­cer at Car­toon Net­work, and mod­er­ated by Ani­ma­tion Mag­a­zine editor-in-chief Ramin Zahed.

2:30 p.m.: CalArts: A 40-Year Evo­lu­tion, Pro­gram 1. Screen­ing. A ret­ro­spec­tive of CalArts ani­ma­tion, first pre­sented at Annecy 2012. Two screen­ings of exam­ples from four decades of CalArts’ pro­grams in char­ac­ter and exper­i­men­tal ani­ma­tion, fea­tur­ing stu­dent films by John Las­seter, Henry Selick, Craig McCracken and Steve Hil­len­burg, as well as more recent grad­u­ates, includ­ing Miwa Matreyek and Kirsten Lepore.

5 p.m.: Life After Col­lege. A dis­tin­guished panel that spans sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of CalArts grad­u­ates who have been suc­cess­ful in var­i­ous fields of the indus­try as cre­ators of suc­cess­ful TV series, as stand­out ani­ma­tors on the Web, or as prac­tic­ing inde­pen­dent artists. As they dis­cuss their paths from grad­u­a­tion to artis­tic and pro­fes­sional suc­cess, the pan­elists will offer a range of options as role mod­els for aspir­ing young artists. Pan­elists include Alex Hirsch, cre­ator of Grav­ity Falls; Craig McCracken, cre­ator of Pow­er­puff Girls and Won­der Over Yon­der; Mike Moon, vice-president of cre­ative at Dis­ney TV Ani­ma­tion; Michael Pat­ter­son, exper­i­men­tal film artist, teacher and com­mer­cial film­maker; and Miwa Matreyek, ani­ma­tor, designer and multi-media artist. Mod­er­a­tor: Jerry Beck. With thanks for gen­er­ous sup­port from Dis­ney Tele­vi­sion Animation.

8 p.m.: CalArts: A 40-Year Evo­lu­tion, Pro­gram 2. Screen­ing. A ret­ro­spec­tive of CalArts ani­ma­tion, first pre­sented at Annecy 2012.

The 2012 Plat­form Inter­na­tional Fes­ti­val takes place at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts The­ater (REDCAT). REDCAT is located at 631 West Sec­ond Street in down­town Los Ange­les at the cor­ner of Hope Street, inside the Walt Dis­ney Con­cert Hall com­plex. Park­ing is avail­able in the Walt Dis­ney Con­cert Hall park­ing struc­ture and in adja­cent lots.

Tick­ets are $10 for the gen­eral pub­lic, $8 for mem­bers. Dis­counts are avail­able for multi-program pur­chases. Tick­ets may be pur­chased by call­ing (213) 237.2800, at www.redcat.org, or in per­son at the REDCAT Box Office on the cor­ner of West Sec­ond and Hope Streets (30 min­utes free park­ing with val­i­da­tion). Box office hours are noon to 6 p.m. through Sat­ur­day and two hours prior to curtain.

PLATFORM is part of the ongo­ing Jack H. Skir­ball “Film at REDCAT” series of screen­ings and pre­sen­ta­tions by inde­pen­dent film and video mak­ers from around the world. For more infor­ma­tion, visit www.redcat.org/category/redcat-event-type/film-video.

Dementia Tale Wins for Animated Short in San Pedro

The Reality Clock

The Real­ity Clock

Amanda Tasse’s “The Real­ity Clock,” in which a watch­maker search­ing for his lost clock loses him­self in mem­ory, was named Best Ani­mated Short at this year’s San Pedro Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val (SPIFFest).

The Real­ity Clock” is an exper­i­men­tal ani­mated por­trait of an elderly watch­maker as he strug­gles to accept the influ­ence of early-stage demen­tia on his iden­tity and sense of time. Shot in full stereo­scopic 3D, using time-lapse pho­tog­ra­phy, pix­e­la­tion, live action and stop-motion ani­ma­tion, the film immerses the viewer in the inter­nal expe­ri­ence of the char­ac­ter, expressed through metaphors of a clock, house, and mor­ph­ing landscapes.

After con­fus­ing a sim­ple mem­ory eval­u­a­tion, The Real­ity Com­pre­hen­sion Clock Test, the char­ac­ter mis­places his favorite pocket watch. As he embarks on a jour­ney for the miss­ing watch, mem­o­ries over­lap with present real­ity, dis­tort­ing his sense of time and place. As he grasps for his iden­tity, “Real­ity Clock” ques­tions who and what the raw essence of a per­son is when stripped bare of new mem­o­ries and ratio­nal lucidity.

The inspi­ra­tion for “The Real­ity Clock” grew out of Tasse’s con­ver­sa­tions with elderly patients with demen­tia when she vol­un­teered for a hos­pice orga­ni­za­tion from 2005 to 2007. Real­iz­ing that most films por­tray demen­tia from the point-of-view of the care­giver, Tasse intended to explore what the expe­ri­ence might feel like for the patient.

She used vary­ing cin­e­matic tech­niques to empha­size the character’s sub­jec­tive real­ity and play with metaphors inher­ent in the mate­ri­als — a sub­tly ani­mated pup­pet in a doll­house jux­ta­posed with stut­ter­ing pho­to­graphic and live-action mem­o­ries. She decided to cre­ate the film in 3D after hav­ing read an auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal account by an author with early-stage demen­tia who described some of his hal­lu­ci­na­tions and mem­o­ries as hav­ing the qual­ity of depth asso­ci­ated with 3D pic­tures. Tasse intended to exper­i­ment with how stereo­scopic 3D could be used as an addi­tional art-design ele­ment to sup­port immer­sive exper­i­men­tal and emo­tional storytelling.

The inau­gural San Pedro Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val screened 34 films from around the world, includ­ing Switzer­land, Croa­tia, Canada, Mex­ico, Colom­bia, Czech Repub­lic, Hun­gary, Poland and the United States — the last being the source for “Real­ity Clock.”

The inau­gural fes­ti­val ran at the Warner Grand The­atre, Ter­race Cin­e­mas and Cal­i­for­nia Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

The com­mu­nity sup­port and turnout for SPIFFest exceeded our expec­ta­tions,” said exec­u­tive direc­tor Ziggy Mrkich. “We were extremely proud of the extent and diver­sity of the pro­gram, and are look­ing for­ward to an even big­ger and bet­ter SPIFFest 2013.”

San Pedro has served as a back­drop for many major film and TV projects, and the com­mu­nity has always been a great part­ner when it comes to wel­com­ing pro­duc­tion to its neigh­bor­hoods,” said Amy Lemisch, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Cal­i­for­nia Film Com­mis­sion. “It’s only fit­ting that San Pedro now has a film fes­ti­val to call its own.”