In consideration of how much work is being produced each year, my feeling is that the field of animation still has potential to continue its expansion further. My sense is that one of the reasons for this is that produc- tion methods in the format are in a constant state of flux, not fixed. While the situation is as challenging as ever for top producers, at this point even a beginner can pick up a tablet and try their hand at making animations with relative ease. Having now reviewed all the submissions, I can conclude with confidence that the artist base is broadening.Selection of the winners was a relatively smooth process. It may be that members of the jury held largely similar points of view. At the same time, it was refreshing and revealing to hear diametrically opposing viewpoints, and I could concede to their validity. In the course of reviewing the submissions, I kept hearing the comments of former mentors in my head: "It doesn't move. Not enough affectation," they would say, "The imagery has a bloodless tone," "This feels too commer- cial." The evaluation of animated films encompasses a wide range of criteria, and I feel there is no issue with these varying from juror to juror. The difference in one work being given an award in the festival and not anoth- er surely does involve qualitative differences in the work submitted, yet it is also linked in considerable measure to the members who happen to comprise the jury panel. I would love to encourage any contestants who did not receive an award this time not to let themselves be dis- couraged, and to submit an entry again next year.That said, it was a truly outstanding work to which the Grand Prize was awarded this year. La Chute fasci- nated with its unreal layering of cyclical, looping motion; something that really could only be expressed with ani- mation. While a previous work by the same artist was a Jury Selection in the Art Division in last year's festival and showed similar tendencies, this particular work had additional charms to offer, such as its narrativity or sense of storyline, and its deeper exploration of the art- ist's vision of the world is made up. In my view, the work is a masterpiece richly deserving of the Grand Prize.I felt that the Jury Selection Liz and the Blue Bird was a masterpiece as well. In its opening moments it features a view of feet walking and continues with a series of scenes that have a feeling of tension reminiscent of experimental film. Among the other Jury Selections, I also felt strongly compelled to nominate Mom's Clothes due to its mesmerizingly pleasing use of the stop-mo- tion technique.Overall, there were many submissions this year that showed artistic growth on the artists' part. This makes me very excited for festival competition in years to come.
Born in 1959 in Kanagawa Prefecture. He graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at Tokyo Zokei University, where he majored in painting. In 2001 he was appointed a professor at the same university. In 1979 he formed the unit IKIF together with KIFUNE Sonoko. They began creating animations and continuously released experimental animations and video installations. From the late 1980s he began engaging with CG animation and founded IKIF+ in 1997. Thereafter, he participated in the creation of the 3DCG animations for Metropolis, Innocence, Steam Boy and Sky Crawler, among others. He served as 3D director for the NHK Educational Petit Anime Series Bu-, ba-, ga- (1995-1997), BLOOD THE LAST VAMPIRE (2000), and Tachiguishi-Retsuden (2006). He participated in Doraemon the Movie as creator of the opening animation as well as 3D director and supervisor from 2007 to 2009. He is a board member of the Japan Animation Association and a member of the executive committee of the Inter College Animation Festival (ICAF). He is also a member of the Japan Society for Animation Studies, the Japan Society of Image Arts and Sciences, and Association Internationale du Film d'Animation (ASIFA).
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