Mamoru Oshii Short Film, Otomo's Hipira-kun to Compete at Annecy

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
New Oshii short film about lonely basset hound in world's largest animation festival

France's Annecy International Animated Film Festival, the world's largest animation film festival, has announced on Wednesday that Mamoru Oshii's 2009 short film Je t'aime, and the 2009 television anime adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's Hipira-kun (pictured right) children's picture book are both competing for an award this year.

Je t'aime, which is produced by Production I.G with animation by Tetsuya Nishio and music by Glay, is about a "lonely basset hound [who] wanders around a deserted city. It's only wish is to feel the warmth of a human being once more." The film is competing in the Short Films category. Also competing in the same category is Kei Oyama's Hand Soap, Shinsaku Hidaka's Koisuru Nezumi, Mirai Mizue's Playground, and Atsuko Nagashima's Roku-jyo to Yo-jyo-han.

Competing in the TV Series category is Shinji Kimura's Hipira-kun (Hipira: The Little Vampire), based on Katsuhiro Otomo and Shinji Kimura's Hipira-kun picture book. The story of the picture book and anime follows the series of adventures of a young vampire boy named Hipira who lives in Salta, an eternally dark city of vampires.

Nominated in the same category is Susumu Kudo's Cheburashka Arere? anime based on the Russian "national character" Cheburashka, and Tai Murayama's (Usavich) computer-animated Meat or Die (Yans! Gans!). Murayama's Meat or Die series of comedy shorts, which premiered in September 2009, is set in New York in the future, when plants and dinosaurs have overrun the city.

Two anime are competing in the Graduation Films category: Atsushi Wada's Wakaranai Buta and Saori Shiroki's Yubi wo Nusunda Onna. The music video for the J-pop band Sour's "Hibi no Neiro" song, directed by Masashi Kawamura, Magiko Nakamura, Masayoshi Nakamura and Hal Kirkland, is competing in the Music Video category.

The following short films representing Japan will be screened at the festival but will do so outside of competition: Toshihisa Yokoshima's Amanatsu, Ryū Katō's Hajimari, Dino Sato's Kaeru no Hako, Tsuneo Goda's Komaneko no Christmas - Maigo ni Natta Present, Takahiro Kimura's Meat, and Kenji Muto's Mushiba Tetsudō.

There were no anime nominated in the TV Specials, Advertising Films, or Educational, Scientific or Industrial Films categories. The nominees for the Feature Film category will be announced on March 30.

The Annecy festival, which will be held in the French town of the same name from June 7 to June 12, is considered the world's leading competitive festival for commercial animated film. It has frequently featured anime movies, TV episodes, and shorts in the program. In 2007, Mamoru Hosoda's The Girl Who Leapt Through Time won a Special Distinction award in the Feature Film category. In 2008, Makoto Shinkai's Neko no Shūkai was chosen to compete in the Short Film category. In 2009, Takeshi Koike's Redline was nominated in the Feature Film category, and Takuya Igarashi and BONES' Soul Eater anime series competed in the TV Series category. Isao Takahata's Pom Poko had previously won the category's top award, Le Cristal du long métrage (The Crystal for Best Feature Film).

Image © Katsuhiro Otomo, Mushroom, Shinji Kimura/Hipira Production Committee
© Cheburashka Project/Cheburashka TV 2009

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