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Canada's Waterloo to Show Asura, Blood-C, Momo, Wolf Children

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
4 Anime Mirai shorts also to be screened at film festival

The 2012 Waterloo Festival of Animated Cinema will screen Mamoru Hosoda's Wolf Children, Keiichi Satō's dark period piece Asura, Naoyoshi Shiotani's Blood-C: The Last Dark, Hiroyuki Okiura's A Letter to Momo, and four Anime Mirai 2012 shorts next month.

Wolf Children is the latest film by the director of Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. The film's story covers 13 years and begins with a 19-year-old college student named Hana who encounters and falls in "fairy tale-like" love with a "wolf man." After marrying the wolf man, Hana gives birth and raises two Wolf Children — an older sister named Yuki ("snow") who was born on a snowy day, and a younger brother named Ame ("rain") who was born on a rainy day. When the wolf man suddenly dies, Hana decides to move to a rural town far removed from the city. The film opened in Japan on July 21 and is also screening at Montreal's Festival Du Nouveau Cinema on October 14. The film will premiere in the United States at the Hawaii International Film Fest on October 17.

The unrelentingly dark drama of Asura follows the struggles of a child during a famine in medieval Japan. His mother was so impoverished and starved that she tried to eat Asura at the beginning of the story. Asura stars Masako Nozawa, Megumi Hayashibara, Kinya Kitaōji, Kappei Yamaguchi, and Tesshô Genda. The film opened in Japan in August. Asura also competed at France's Annecy in June and screened at the New York Asian Film Fest and won an audience award at Montreal's Fantasia Fest this summer.

The theatrical sequel to Production I.G and CLAMP's Blood-C television anime, the movie follows Saya and Sirrut, an underground rebel organization. Sirrut uses the internet to try and find information in cyberspace, and they discover something more gruesome, TOWER, a mysterious organization that is rumored to be conducting experiments involving human beings. The film opened in theaters across Japan on June 2. The film screened at Montreal's Fantasia Fest and won the L'Écran Fantastique Prize. Funimation announced at Anime Expo that it obtained the rights to the film.

A Letter to Momo follows a girl named Momo who struggles with her father's sudden passing and resulting move to the countryside. Momo finds an otherworldly surprise at her new home. The film held its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and it will opened in Japan on April 21. It received the Grand Prize for Best Feature Film at this year's New York International Children's Film Festival, won the main prize in the "Feature film" category at the Czech AniFest, and competed at France's Annecy film festival in June. GKIDS licensed the film and will release it in U.S. theaters to compete for the 2013 Oscars.

The Waterloo Festival of Animated Cinema will also screen all four of the Anime Mirai 2012 shorts. The Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA) gave 38 million yen (about US$470,000) from the "2011 Young Animator Training Project" to train young animators on-the-job. The shorts include Kazuhide Tomonaga's "BUTA", Toshihisa Kaiya's "Li'l Spider Girl" ("Wasurenagumo"), Shinpei Miyashita's "Pretending Not to See" ("Shiranpuri") and Hiroshi Kawamata's "Juju the Weightless Dugong" ("Puka Puka Juju").

The festival will run from November 15 to November 18 at the Chrysalids Theatre in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

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