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France's Annecy to Screen Masaaki Yuasa, I.G.'s "Kick-Heart" Anime Short

posted on by Karen Ressler
Yoriko Mizushiri's "Futon," other anime shorts to screen at June 10-15 festival

France's Annecy, the world's largest animation festival, announced its official selections of short films, TV series, and graduation films on Tuesday. Masaaki Yuasa and Production I.G's crowd-funded animated short film "Kick-Heart" about two wrestlers in love will be among the short films featured in competition.

The Kickstarter fundraiser for the Kick-Heart anime short reached its main goal of US$150,000 on October 24. Richard Epcar is lending his voice to the English dub, while the audition winners for the backer dub were announced in December. Stretch goals increased the short's runtime from 10 minutes to 12 minutes.

Also screening in the short film competition is Yoriko Mizushiri's "Futon" (pictured at left), which previously won the Renzo Kinoshita Prize award at the 14th Annual Hiroshima International Animation Festival and the "New Face" award at the 16th Japan Media Arts Festival last year. Hayai Toru's "Not Over" and the Japanese-Czech short film "Yuki Onna" by stop-motion animator Jirí Barta will also both be screened in the short film competition.

Competing in the TV series category is "Banapara? track:04 pilot," directed by Hideki Shiroma, Syuhei Fukunaga, and Tai Murayama. Murayama's previous work "Meat or Die" ("Yans! Gans!") was featured at the Annecy Festival in 2010.

The graduation film competition category also features three Japanese-animated films: Kabuki Sawako's "Ici, là et partout" and "Ketsujiru Juke," and Hakhyun Kim's "Maze King." No anime films were selected for the TV specials; educational, scientific, or industrial films; advertising films; or music video categories. Annecy has yet to announce its feature length in competition and out of competition selections.

Annecy will also feature several anime shorts outside of competition, including "Wee Willie Winkie" by Yusuke Sakamoto and "Digital" by Osamu Sakai. Sakamoto's previous short film "Dandelion Sister" was featured at the 2007 Japan Media Arts Festival.

This year's Annecy will be held from June 10-15.

Last year, Annecy screened the short film Combustible by Akira's Katsuhiro Otomo, as well as other anime shorts, the first episode of Blue Exorcist, and the following anime films: Asura, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc - The Egg of the King, A Letter to Momo, and Niji-Iro Hotaru.

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