Last week ends the Animation Nation 2008. I attended Mr Koji Yamamura(http://www.yamamura-animation.jp/)’s seminar and showcases with Ben. It was an eye opener. For the first time I was given a peek into the works of a Japanese independent animator. It’s not easy to be an independent animator especially in Japan. Mr. Koji is one of the leading independent animators todate, so it’s a treat for budding animators to learn and hear from him. There were 2 distinguished animations that I’m very fond of.
1) Kafka Inaka Isha (Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor)
It’s an adaptation from Franz Kafka’s "Ein Landarzt".
"A Country Doctor" (German: "Ein Landarzt") is a short story written in 1919 by Franz Kafka. It is also the title of a collection of short stories, including this one.
The plot follows its eponym's hapless struggle to attend a sick young boy on a cold winter's night. A series of surreal events occur in the process, including the appearance of a mysterious groom in a pig shed.
It begins with the doctor having urgently to attend a sick patient, but his sole horse died the night before, so his maid Rosa goes off to ask for another. She returns empty-handed — "Of course, who is now going to lend her his horse for such a journey?" —, but, just as the doctor is expressing his distraction and torment by kicking at the cracked sty door, a mysterious groom appears and supplies him with a team of magnificent horses. The groom boorishly kisses the maid when she tries to hand him a harness, leaving her cheek with two rows of red tooth marks. The doctor scolds furiously him but quickly realises that he is in his debt and, on the groom's beckoning, jumps happily into the gig. The groom declines to travel with him, preferring to stay with the terrified Rosa, who dashes into the house and makes every effort to secure herself, although her fate is inevitable. The doctor can do nothing to stop the groom, who, with a simple "Giddy up!", sends the horses on their way. The doctor is almost instantly transported to his sick patient's courtyard. It is, he says, as if the courtyard has opened up just outside his gate (when, in reality, it is all of ten miles away).
After being ushered into the house by a family whose explications he does not comprehend, the doctor is quietly implored by the patient to let him die. Initially, he deems him completely healthy, but, after he notices the boy's sister holding a bloody towel, he discovers a deep wound on his right side. The kin and assembling kith are pleased to see him at work. The horses, meanwhile, having somehow freed themselves of their straps, have opened the window and are neighing frantically.
The doctor's thoughts are focused on the fate of his maid, for which he blames himself. In accordance with a simple melody from a choir outside the house, the family undresses him and forces him into bed alongside the patient. He assures his sceptical bedmate that the wound is not death-dealing and promptly takes up all his belongings and flees the scene. The horses are now wearied, however; and the doctor, disgraced, finds himself "crawl[ing] slowly through the wasteland of snow men". He feels betrayed by his patients and his community, and his story concludes with the line "A false ring of the night bell, once answered — it can never be made right."
Check out its official Website: http://www.shochiku.co.jp/movie/inakaisha/index.html
Check out the entire Story: http://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/kafka/countrydoctor.htm
Althought I feel that the story plot is rather dark, however, for some reason I like the way Mr Koji brings out the characters. Also, if you have listen to the voice actors behind the characters, you will be amazed. I like the the way how the voice actors apply their voiceto bring to live every characters. I think its beautiful! During the seminar, My Koji was generous and kind enough to show us how he works; Where he work at; how he brings out the Characters’ voice, what music instrument he uses(The instrument is uses combination of several traditional amplifiers. He claims that in Japan only 3 musicians knew how to play them. Wow!)
Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor has grabbed many prestigious prizes since its screening like..
- Ottawa International Animation Festival Grand Prize
- ANIMADRID Best Short Film
- International Film Festival Etiuda&Anima Golden Jabberwocky
- I Castelli Animati Grand Prize
- HIROSHIMA 08 International Animation Festival Grand Prix
- Festival for Documentary and Animated Film Silver Dove
- Internationales TrickFilm Festival STUTTGART Grand Prix
- MONSTORA Lisbon Animated Film Festival Grande Prémio
- KROK International Animation Festival Best Film in Category III
- AniFest in Tchebon Prize for the Best Short Film
- Animanima Inaternational Animation Festival in Servia Silver Peg Bar
- Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence Prize
- Mainichi Film Awards Ofuji Noburo Prize
- Kinema Junpo Best 10 Cultural movie 7th place
2) Mr Koji Yamamura’s very own Mt.Head (Atama-Yama)
Mt.Head (Atama-Yama) tells of a stingy man who eats some cherry seeds, and it happended that a cherry tree grew on his head From there he got into a series of trouble. This animated film is a modern interpretation of the traditional Japanese Rakugo story "Atama-yama" set in contemporary Tokyo. I enjoy the the way how the Mr Koji applies Japanese folk singing into the narativeof the story.
Like Franz Kafka's A Country Docto, Mt.Head also received several acclaimed awards. However, I think nothing beats being nominated for outstanding achievement in the category of Short Films – Animation in 2003 Oscars! It’s truly a great feat to be nominated for an indpendent Animator.
For a list of awards Mt. Head won, please visit: http://www.yamamura-animation.jp/ef14mt_head.html
I know... I have been writing too much stuff and posting too little artworks. I'll try to post more artworks and talk little.
One of the fashion photographers that I admire - Zhang Jingna aka Zemotion. Please read her facinating blog @ http://zemotion.blogspot.com
Concept Artist + Illustrator
Ah Mao's Diary(阿毛日记): http://blog.funicsvalley.com/ahmao/
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