Singapore Film Society (SFS) is proud to present Animation Nation 2008, with support from the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA).
Animation Nation 2008
This year, the festival runs from 24 Oct to 2 Nov, with screenings at Fusionopolis, National Museum of Singapore, Alliance Française de Singapour, and library@esplanade. Animation Nation 2008 is showing more than 50 films, both features and shorts, from more than 10 countries. Animation Nation’s mission is to expose local audiences to animations of all types, showcasing the best of what the animation world has to offer. The festival also seeks to bolster the skill of local animators, by organizing seminars and workshops, where both professionals and enthusiasts will get to learn from world renowned animators.
Tickets go on sale from 8 Oct
(Opening Film) “THE PIANO FOREST” (PG), a Japanese animated feature film by director Makoto Isshiki and the production company Madhouse. Based on the manga by the director himself, the film was adapted into a full length animation. This animated feature was also nominated for the 2008 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, as well as the Theatrical Film category at the 2008 Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
A showcase of films from Aardman Animation Studios. David Sproxton, co-founder of Aardman, and Luis Cook, director of the award-winning short “THE PEARCE SISTERS” (TBC), will be in attendance for a post-film discussion after the screening.
A seminar conducted by Independent animator Nina Paley, director of the award-winning “SITA SINGS THE BLUES” (TBC) – featuring Sita, a goddess who is separated from her husband, Rama. The story is a beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic, The Ramayana. Paley worked on the film on her own, imbibing the story of Sita and Rama with her own personal experience.
A retrospective of significant works by famed Japanese independent animator YAMAMURA Koji. Mr YAMAMURA will give a talk about his latest film based on Franz Kafka’s “THE COUNTRY DOCTOR”.
Finally, the director of “FREEDOM PROJECT” (TBC), MORITA Shuhei along with producer MATSUSHITA Hideo, will also be in attendance to present a seminar on where Japanese animation is headed.
OTHER THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1.Bill Plympton’s latest feature film “IDIOTS AND ANGELS” (M18), a film about a selfish man who has grown a pair of wings that forced him to do good deeds, will also be part of the feature lineup.
2.”GENIUS PARTY” (NC16), the collection of short films by famed Japanese production house Studio 4C.
3.An international selection of shorts, encompassing some of the most eye-popping works of the past few years, including BAFTA winner “ONE RAT SHORT” (PG), the intriguing “DEATH BY SCRABBLE” (PG) by Katie Steed, award-winning film “YELLOW STICKY NOTES” (TBC), Academy Award Nominee “I MET THE WALRUS” (TBC), Two recent shorts from Disney, “GLAGO’S GUEST” (G) and “HOW TO HOOK UP YOUR HOME THEATER” (G). From Japan, there are “ANIKURI 15″ (PG), a collection of 15 one-minute shorts from renowned directors such as KON Satoshi (MILLENNIUM ACTRESS), SHINKAI Makoto (5CM/SEC), Michael Arias (TEKKON KINKREET) and more.
4.”SIGGRAPH SHOWCASE” (TBC), featuring some of the best animation from the association.
5.A screening of “FEAR(S) OF THE DARK” (M18), several scary films by several different directors including renowned artist Chales Burns, portraying our fears, one of the selections for Annecy 2008.
6.”DEAD SPACE: DOWNFALL” (TBC), the film version from the popular video game by Electronic Arts.
7.Czech puppet horror film “One Night In One City” (NC16) by director Jan Balej.
8. “TACHIGUI: THE AMAZING LIVES OF THE FAST FOOD GRIFTERS” (PG), by acclaimed director OSHII Mamoru, director of AKIRA and STEAMBOY.
9.Singapore animation shorts in our annual Singapore Showcase.
What can you feel in 60 seconds?
15 leading Japanese animators with world recognition have each created their own 60-second world. Animators include Mamoru Oshii, creator of “Ghost in the Shell” and Satoshi Kon, who is famous for his work “Paprika”. The artists integrated themes associated with contemporary anime such as mo-e, robot, ninja, and manga into their works. The animators’ fresh and dynamic styles reflect their originality.
01. Attack of Tokyo
Director: Shinji Kimura
Tokyo is attacked in an alien invasion. The aliens’ plan is to destroy the city, creating chaos. What will become of our planet?
Director: Osamu Kobayashi
An anime documentary of a scene of the daily comings and goings at a Tokyo CD store. All the owner sees is…
Director: Soejima Yasyufumi
A massive star-fish that has drifted through space smashes into an ancient world, sparking a great battle for life.
04. Magnetic UFO
Director: Shojiro Nishimi
A young animator is alone in his room in the middle of the night when a mischievous alien bugs him. Gives you a new perspective on unnatural phenomenon.
05. Beyond the Tears
Director: Akemi Hayashi
What’s waiting for us beyond our tears? This is your story. A heartwarming tap on the back.
06. Project Mermaid
Director: Mamoru Oshii
A mermaid is born from a sea of information. An image of life in an informative world.
07. Colonel Sports
Directors: Tobira Oda / Yasuyuki Shimizu
A story about the life and struggle of an army colonel who is battling with a man that is both his honored teacher and his old enemy.
08. Wandaba Kiss
Director: Atsushi Takeuchi
The grand adventures of a child-samurai robot.
Director: Kazuto Nakazawa
A normal day of a lone animator at work.
Directors: Renji Murata / Tatsuya Yabuta
A near-future science-fiction story in which a young girl awakens in a submerged, ruined world and travels in search of a lost future aboard a flying machine called a gyrosopter
11. Project Omega
Director: Shoji Kawamori
When watching a usual TV show, a state of emergency follows the sudden news of a huge meteorite on a collision course with Earth. What can the public broadcaster NHK do?
Director: Satoshi Kon
The sound of an alarm clock… A girl with vacant-looking eyes… Time to start getting ready to go to work…
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Chobi the cat lives with his masters, a family of four. This is how he puts up with the family’s insensitive behavior.
14. Hide And Seek
Director: Michael Arias
Plains stretch into the distance. On a fine peaceful day, many children play together with a robot.
15. The Princess Ninja
Director: Mahiro Maeda
Mysterious assassins appear before a beautiful princess. What is the princess’s fate? A sweeping action unfolds.
Direction: Film Roman / Anchor Bay Entertainment
Producer: Joe Goyette
Co-Scriptwriter: Jimmy Palmiotti
Length: 73 min
Format: DVD, Colour
Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror
When an immense mining ship, the USG Ishimura, comes into contact with a mysterious alien artifact in a remote star system, its communications with Earth are mysteriously cut off. Engineer Isaac Clarke is sent to repair the Ishimura’s communications array, but he arrives to find a living nightmare-the ship is a floating bloodbath, the crew unspeakably mutilated and infected by an ancient alien scourge, an evil like none other.
Clarke’s repair mission becomes one of survival as he fights not just to save himself, but to return the artifact to the planet … at any cost.
When a deep space mining operation discovers a mysterious alien Marker they believe they have finally found evidence of our creators. However, the removal of the Marker unleashes a horrific alien species, which had been entombed within a remote planet, and a desperate fight for survival ensues. The story follows a select group of miners and crewmembers, as they are confronted with an evil like none other.
A holy relic has been discovered, and it doesn’t lead to Heaven
An ancient religious artifact has been recovered by a deep-space mining ship, and for the crew of the USG Ishimura, life just became a living hell. Unearthed on a far-away planet during a mining operation, the relic is worshiped by some, even seen as proof of God. But when it’s removed from its resting place and brought on the ship, the artifact unleashes a long-dormant alien race, one bent on ripping apart — and taking over — every human aboard. Their screams CAN be heard in space … but only the slashers are listening.
Fear of the Dark
Director: Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, Richard McGuire
Screenplay: Jerry Kramsky, Michel Pirus, Romain Slocombe, Blutch, Charles Burns, Pierre Di Sciullo
Cast: Aure Atika, Guillaume Depardieu, Nicole Garcia, Louisa Pili, François Creton, Christian Hecq, Arthur H
Producers: Valérie Schermann, Christophe Jankovic, Vincent Tavier, Philippe Kauffman
Distributor: Celluloid Dreams
Original Music: René Aubry, Boris Gronemberger, Laurent Perez del Mar, George Van Dam
Length: 85 min
Language: French (with English subtitles)
Format: 35mm, B/W
Genre: Horror / Thriller
Six of the world’s hottest graphic artists and cartoonists, including renowned artist Charles Burns, have breathed life into their nightmares, bleeding away colour only to retain the starkness of light and the pitch black of shadows. Visual styles vary just as widely, from pencil drawings to what appears to be Flash animation, to stark, hard edged, high contrast work and flowing geometric shapes. Their intertwined stories make up an unprecedented epic where phobias, disgust and nightmares come to life and reveal Fear at its most naked and intense…
Different black-and-white animation techniques tell several scary stories. There’s a story of a teenage boy who meets the wrong girl. Another tale deals with a small community where people disappear and are never seen again. Then there’s the narrative of a little Japanese girl who suffers from horrible nightmares followed by a tale where a man doesn’t get the rest he hoped for in an old not-so-abandoned house. These stories are connected by the story about a man with a devilish smile and four enormous dogs from hell and by a woman’s monologue about her fears.
Freedom Project 1-7
Director: Atsuko Fukushima, Shoji Kawamori, Shinji Kimura, Yoji Fukuyama, Hideki Futamura, Masaaki Yuasa, Shinichiro Watanabe
Screenplay: Shoji Kawamori, Mitsuyoshi Takasu, Yoji Fukuyama, Hideki Futamura, Masaaki Yuasa, Shinichiro Watanabe
Cast: Yuya Yagira, Rinko Kikuchi, Lu Ningjuan, Taro Yabe, Tomoko Kaneda
Producer: Yukie Saeki
Genius Party is an anthology of seven short animated films from Studio 4°C:
Genius Party – Atsuko Fukushima
Shanghai Dragon – Shoji Kawamori
Deathtic 4 – Shinji Kimura
Doorbell – Yuji Fukuyama
Limit Cycle – Hideki Futamura
Happy Machine – Masaaki Yuasa
Baby Blue – Shinichiro Watanabe
“The seven short films making up GENIUS PARTY couldn’t be more diverse, linked only by a high standard of quality and inspiration. Atsuko Fukushima’s intro piece is a fantastic abstraction to soak up with the eyes. Masaaki Yuasa, of MIND GAME and CAT SOUP fame, brings his distinctive and deceptively simple graphic style and dream-state logic to the table with “Happy Machine,” his spin on a child’s earliest year. Shinji Kimura’s spookier “Deathtic 4,” meanwhile, seems to tap into the creepier corners of a child’s imagination and open up a toybox full of dark delights. Hideki Futamura’s “Limit Cycle” conjures up a vision of virtual reality, while Yuji Fukuyama’s “Doorbell” and “Baby Blue” by Shinichiro Watanabe use understated realism for very surreal purposes. And Shoji Kawamori, with “Shanghai Dragon,” takes the tropes and conventions of traditional anime out for very fun joyride.” – Rupert Bottenberg
Idiots and Angels
Director: Bill Plympton
Writer: Bill Plympton
Animator: Bill Plympton
Producer: Bill Plympton, Biljana Labovic
Art Direction: Bill Plympton, Biljana Labovic
Production Artists: Biljana Labovic, Kerri Allegretta, Lisa LaBracio
Editor: Kevin Palmer
Sound Design: Greg Sextro
Music: Hank Bones, Nicole Renaud, Corey Jackson, Rachelle Garniez, Didier Carmier, 3 Leg Torso, Moby, Tom Waits, Pink Martini
Format: 35mm, Colour
Length: 78 mins
Genre: Dark Comedy
Angel is a selfish, abusive, morally bankrupt man who hangs out at his local bar, berating the other patrons. One day, Angel mysteriously wakes up with a pair of wings on his back. The wings make him do good deeds, contrary to his nature. He desperately tries to rid himself of the good wings, but eventually finds himself fighting those who view the wings as their ticket to fame and fortune.
A dark comedy about a man’s battle for his soul, Idiots and Angels explores the dramatic possibilities of a reluctant angel. Done in a monochromatic and musical style similar to “Shuteye Hotel”, Plympton is fully able to produce its dark and surreal nature.
Directed by Adria Garcia and Victor Maldonado
Length: 80 min
Format: 35mm, Colour
Genre: Fantasy / Children
What is it that makes the night so mysterious? What’s behind all of those little unexplainable things that happen when darkness falls? What makes us fall asleep, and dream?
Could it be that there is somebody, somewhere, making sure that all of this happens just the way it’s supposed to? From the moment he saw that tiny, fragile star fall from the sky as he sat up on the orphanage rooftop, he knew that something was going wrong.
Maybe if he hadn’t leaned over to see where it fell, he would have never slipped off the roof, and fallen into the nocturnal void. Then he would have never been rescued by the Cat Shepherd, and his incredible following of cats, and they in turn would not have told him the truth about the many people working endlessly to make the night such a magical place. But of course, he wouldn’t have decided right then and there to overcome his fears and begin his adventure through the night in search of that little fallen star.
But that’s exactly the way it happened.
One Night In One City
Director: Jan Balej
Script: Jan Balej, Ivan Arsenjev
Music: Tadeáš Věrčák
Sound: Zbyněk Mader
Editor: Magda Sandersová
Executive Producer: Viktor Mayer
Animation: Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly
DOP: Miloslav Špála
Producer: Martin Vandas
Designer and Director Jan Balej
Producers: HAFAN film and MAUR film
Length: 76 min
Format: 35mm, Colour
Rating: NC16 (Nudity and some drug use)
What happens when a man stitches a stranger’s ear onto his own head?
In the dark streets of Prague, can you meet a genie that will fulfill whatever you wish?
Do you think there are places where time grinds to a halt?
Do you know what disturbs the routine of an insect circus, what a city hunter is up to and what is it that excites his neighbours?
Can a fish make friends with a tree?
Dark city, dark faces, dark freakish characters with peculiar phobias and philias. A new feature length animated movie with touches of horror and plenty of black humour; Tales of human loneliness, weird events and strange people, that surrounds us all the time. It would be light years far from Disney and very far indeed from The Simpsons. It would actually be very far from anything you’ve ever seen.
Welcome to One Night In One City.
Sita Sings The Blues
Directed, written, produced, designed and animated by Nina Paley
Drama / Tragedy / Romance
Original Music: Annette Hanshaw, Todd Michaelsen, Rohan, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Masala Dosa, Nik Phelps
Sita is a Hindu goddess, the leading lady of India’s epic The Ramayana and a dutiful wife who follows her husband Rama on a 14 year exile to a forest, only to be kidnapped by an evil king from Sri Lanka. Despite remaining faithful to her husband, Sita is put through many tests. Nina (the filmmaker Nina Paley herself) is an artist who finds parallels in Sita’s life when her husband – in India on a work project – decides to break up their marriage and dump her via email. Three hilarious Indonesian shadow puppets with Indian accents – linking the popularity of the Ramayana from India all the way to the Far East – narrate both the ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the epic.
In her first feature length film, Paley juxtaposes multiple narrative and visual styles to create a highly entertaining yet moving vision of The Ramayana. Musical numbers choreographed to the 1920’s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw feature a cast of hundreds: flying monkeys, evil monsters, gods, goddesses, warriors, sages, and winged eyeballs. A tale of truth, justice and a woman’s cry for equal treatment, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as “The Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told.”
Tachiguishi Retsuden: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Executive producers, Shigeru Watanabe, Yoshiro Yasunaga, Kiyotaka Ninomiya, Seiji Okuda.
Directed, written by Mamoru Oshii.
Length: 104 minutes
Language: Japanese (with English subtitles)
Format: 35mm, Colour, B/W
Genre: Action / Comedy
Mamoru Oshii’s latest animated feature film unveils one entire nation’s dietary history! After Ghost in the Shell, the first Japanese anime to top N. 1 in Billboard video sales chart, and after Innocence, the first Japanese animated film to compete for the Palme d’Or at the Festival de Cannes, Mamoru Oshii has turned his focus to his life-time passion, an endless quest for the ultimate fast food that no one has ever explored before. And the result of this quest is now a full-length feature film: Tachiguishi Retsuden: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters. “I still remember well what I was eating each time something happened,” says Oshii. “So by talking about what we’ve been eating, I think we can illuminate the age we’ve lived. Then I realized that the fictional trade that I invented years ago, called Fast Food Grifter, was perfect for my purpose.”
Always known as the relentless visual pioneer who has been pushing the boundaries of animation and live action, Oshii declares with confidence, “The movie is something that no one has seen before.” It could be described as a 3D-CG recreation of a documentary drama of a fictional post-war history staged in a small theatre and performed as a simple paper puppet show. Oshii realized that traditional animation could not be convincing enough to describe historical past, while it would be merely impossible to reconstruct 50 years of Japanese history in live action. Therefore he decided for a third way, in which a mockumentary unfolds with an intentionally “faux” visual technique. 90% in the movie is false, parody or illusive. Even sequences apparently coming from archive footage are in fact full 3D CG animation. “But in the remaining 10% lays the true message of the film. In my intention, this is a very seriously made comedy movie,” Oshii explains. The film, released in Japan on April 8, 2006, is based on a novel written by Oshii himself, and had its international premiere at the 63rd Venice Film Festival.
“Tachigui” literally means “stand-and-eat.” It’s a word that may find rough English equivalent in the expression “fast food.” In vastly urbanized Japan, everybody has experienced tachigui or fast food in his/her life, in a broader meaning that includes not only global hamburger giants, but also cheap and popular soba stalls or gyudon (beef and rice bowl) restaurant chains.
The heroes of this still unsaid history of Japan are called Fast Food Grifters. By exposing extreme erudition or haranguing the restaurant owner with refined rhetoric skills, the Fast Food Grifters will get way without paying for their noodles. But each Fast Food Grifter, with his strong personality and unique modus operandi, incarnates the age he has lived in, thus sharply reflecting Mamoru Oshii’s (director of Ghost In The Shell) satirical view of modern society.
The Piano Forest
Director: Masayuki Kojima
Script: Ryuta HORAI
Graphics: Shigeru FUJITA
Layout: Yoshinori KANEMORI
Scenery: Toshiharu MIZUTANI
Animation: Shigeru FUJITA
Music: Keisuke SHINOHARA
Length: 101 min
Language: Japanese (with English subtitles)
Format: Digibeta, Colour
Genre: Drama / Children
Early in the summer season, Shuhei Amamiya, a fifth grade boy, moves to a rural town. He introduces his classmates to his dream of becoming a professional pianist where he is challenged to play on a broken piano discarded in the forest, but there is a spooky rumour that the sound of the piano can mysteriously be heard at night. Shuhei is at loss at what to do with this sudden demand.
After school, Kai invites Shuhei to the forest to see the grand piano. Shuhei tries to play it but it makes no sound. Kai, however is able to play on it beautifully. Both are then scheduled to join a piano competition.
A passionate drama of friendship and struggle between Kai, with the talent of a genius and hardworking Shuhei, will unfold.
Anna and the Moods
Director: Gunnar Karlsson
Length: 27 min
Language: Icelandic, English
Format: 35mm, Colour
Genre: Action / Drama
A horrible illness brings Anna (played by Björk) into a huge labyrinth of tasks. The only way out of the maze for her is to complete her tasks in the right manners. But the right way is not necessarily what her parents think to be the right one.
After some mischief in the labyrinth, her doctor comes to a shocking conclusion. And the ‘cure’ that follows is a nasty surprise for her parents.
With Terry Jones (from Monty Python) as the narrator and Damon Albarn as the voice of Anna’s Father.
Director: Yann J.
Length: 12 min
Genre: Romance / Drama / Adult
Format: B/W, 35mm
Lowly factory employee Berni, attempts to overcome his loneliness by buying a woman made up of spare parts from developing countries.
Death by Scrabble
Down the Road
How To Hook Up Your Home Theater
Direction: Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers – Skelton
Producer: Tamara Boutcher
Music: Michael Giacchino
Following in the great tradition of his classic “How To” animated shorts of the 1940’s, Goofy makes his return to the big screen in “How To Hook Up Your Home Theater.” When Goofy is desperate to watch the Big Game, he heads to his local electronics store to tackle every consumer’s nightmare – selecting the perfect home theater system and worse, trying to hook it all up.
Director Shuhei Morita and Producer Hideo Matsushita, worked on the seven-episode “Freedom Project”, which was based on ideas by noted animator Otomo. The two speak about their involvement in the project, as well as give a picture of where Japanese animation is headed.
Koji Yamamura is one of Japan’s leading independent animators. His short film “A Country Doctor”, based on Franz Kafka’s short story, has won numerous awards, and another of his films, Mt Head, has won the Grand Prix at Annecy as well as been nominated for an Oscar. Mr Yamamura will talk about his filmmaking techniques and the process involved in the making of “A Country Doctor”.
Leonard Mah, screenwriter for Scrawl Studios, will teach participants how to write an effective animation action scene. They will also be asked to act out the scene they have written.
VENUE and TICKETING
NATIONAL MUSEUM SCREENINGS
Gallery Theatre (Basement 1)
The National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road
ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE SCREENINGS
Alliance Française de Singapour
1 Sarkies Road (near Newton MRT)
Genexis Theatre, Level 5
1 Fusionopolis Way
Ticket Prices: $10 ($9 + $1 Gatecrash charge)
Discounted Tickets: $9 ($8 + $1 Gatecrash charge)
** SFS Members are entitled to discounted tickets.
8 Raffles Avenue,
Tel – 6332 3255
All screenings at the National Library will be free
*Tickets for ticketed screenings can be purchased online at www.gatecrash.com.sg, Gatecrash Hotline 6100-2005, S.A.M kiosks and SingPost branches islandwide.
**SFS members are entitled to discounted tickets per session on production of a valid SFS membership card via the Gatecrash hotline 6100-2005 or in person at all SingPost branches islandwide (one discounted ticket per member per session). Discounted tickets are not available online
For tickets to free events (SIGGRAPH Showcase, Dead Space: Downfall and Scriptwriting Workshop), please email to email@example.com stating your name and contact number. Each attendee is limited to one ticket.
Tickets for free screenings and workshop are available from the venue 45 minutes before screening time.
Library@Esplanade screenings are seated on a first come first serve basis – no tickets will be issued.
Free for Students Only Events (Paid ticketing available)
Seminars (Freedom Project/Koji Yamamura) are free to students of secondary schools, JCs and tertiary institutions. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register, stating names of each attendee and institution. Each student is limited to one ticket per session.