Giovanni's Island is Best Animated Film at the 69th Mainichi Film Awards

Mizuho Nishikubo's animated feature film "Giovanni's Island" was greeted with the award for Best Animated Film at the 69th annual Mainichi Film Awards.

Started in 1946 (but with their roots dating back to 1935) and sponsored by the newspaper company Mainichi Shinbun, the Mainichi Film Awards celebrate every year the best in Japanese movie productions. The Best Animated Film Award was first established in 1989 to reward large scale cinematic animation.

In the past years, four Production I.G movies have been honoured with the Mainichi Film Awards: "Patlabor 2: The Movie" (Best Animated Film, 1993) "Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade" (Best Animated Film, 1999), "Blood: The Last Vampire" (Ofuji Noburo Award, 2000) and "The Sky Crawlers"(Best Animated Film, 2008).

"Giovanni's Island" screened in the official selection of several prestigious film festivals around the world, including the 36th Moscow International Film Festival, the 58th London Film Festival and the 36th Cairo International Film Festival. It was invited as closing film at the 4th Sakhalin International Film Festival, held on Sakhalin Island, where the second half of the film is set.

As of today, "Giovanni's Island" has earned ten recognitions:
- Jury Distinction / 38th Annecy Animation Film Festival (2014)
- Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation / 18th Fantasia Film Festival (2014)
- Audience Award for Best Animated Feature / 18th Fantasia Film Festival (2014)
- Jury Special Mention / 13th International Film Festival Nueva Mirada for Children and Youth (2014)
- Jury Award / 5th Scotland Loves Animation (2014)
- Children's Jury Prize / 31st Chicago International Children's Film Festival (2014)
- Adult Jury Prize / 31st Chicago International Children's Film Festival (2014)
- Excellence Prize / 18th Japan Media Arts Festival (2014)
- Excellence Prize / 38th Japan Academy Prize (2015)
- Best Animated Film / 69th Mainichi Film Awards

WHAT THE PRESS SAID
A touching work, full of wisdom and poetry. Superb.
★★★★ (Le Figaro Magazine)

Blends different animation styles with poetic charm.
★★★★ (Studio Cine Live)

Nishikubo portrays this clash of opposing emotions with deeply touching elegance.
★★★ (Premiere)

Moving. ★★★ (Le Monde)

Charming ★★★★ (The Times)

Affecting ★★★ (The Guardian)

There are moments of real beauty ★★★ (Time Out UK)

Brave, beautiful, and bold. (The Hollywood News)

To call it stunning would be an understatement. (Playback)

The year's most profound animated film. (Asia Media International)

An incredibly affecting story, incredibly well told - this is surely a future classic that will be spoken of for decades to come. 9/10 (UK Anime Network)

A darn impressive film, animation or no animation.
★★★★★ (eFilmCritic.com)

In a manner relatively uncommon for animation, "Giovanni's Island" deals in historical events including occupations, deportations and concentration camps (…). It's a brave choice that works much as "The Book Thief" or "The Diary of Anne Frank" have done, offering young viewers a window of understanding into incomprehensible events. (Peter Debruge, Variety)

ABOUT GIOVANNI'S ISLAND
"Giovanni's Island" (original title: Giovanni no Shima) is a hand-drawn animated feature film directed by Mamoru Oshii's longtime collaborator, Mizuho Nishikubo, and penned by Shigemichi Sugita (Kita no kuni kara / From the Northern Lands) and Yoshiki Sakurai (Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C.). The film is presented by the Japan Association of Music Enterprises (JAME) to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and it opened in Japan on February 22, 2014 by Warner Entertainment Japan. Production I.G has produced the animation and is representing international sales worldwide

STORY
1945. Junpei and his little brother Kanta are two children who live with their father Tatsuo on a tiny island off the northernmost shores of Japan, and which has remained virtually untouched by the rage war. As Japan surrenders on August 15th, everybody is expecting American troops to land anytime. But it is the Red Army which arrives instead, because the island has now become Soviet Union territory. And for the Japanese community, a new life with the Soviet citizens who have moved onto the island begins... Based on true events.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: MIZUHO NISHIKUBO
Born in 1953. A longtime and most trusted collaborator of Mamoru Oshii, Nishikubo has worked as animation director under his real name of Toshihiko Nishikubo in most Oshii's animated films, including "Ghost in the Shell" (1995), Palme d'Or-nominee "Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence" (2004) and Golden Lion-nominee "The Sky Crawlers" (2008). It is said that Oshii's movies wouldn't look the same without his contribution. His credits as director include, "Video Girl Ai" (1992, OVA), "Otogi Zoshi" (2004, TV series) and "Atagoal: Cat's Magical Forest" (2006, movie). He also directed the music clip "Tsepi i kol'tsa / Chains & Rings" (2003) for Russian rock star Linda, and the internationally praised NEXT A-Class commercial film for Mercedes-Benz (600,000 views on YouTube in 3 days). His latest feature film, "Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai" (2009), written by Mamoru Oshii, screened in Locarno, Sitges, Warsaw, Stockholm and Vladivostok.

ABOUT THE SCRIPTWRITER: SHIGEMICHI SUGITA
Born in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, in 1943. A multi-awarded director, scriptwriter and film producer, he is probably best known for directing the hugely successful Hokkaido-set TV drama series, "Kita no Kuni kara" (From the Northern Lands), that started in 1981 and ran for 21 years, spanning one season and several specials, with audience share peaking 38.4%. He directed a number of other popular dramas (including "Shonen H / A Boy Called H", from the award-winning novel by Kappa Senoo) and three feature films, namely "Yushun - Oracion" (1988, from Teru Miyamoto's novel), "Last Song" (1994), and Japan Academy Prize-winner "Saigo no Chushingura" (The Last Ronin, 2010). He is currently chairman of the All Nippon Producers Association and President & CEO of Nihon Eiga Satellite Broadcasting Corporation.

ABOUT PRODUCTION I.G
Established by Mitsuhisa Ishikawa in 1987, Production I.G is one of the world's leading animation studios. With its cutting-edge works, such as "Ghost in the Shell" (1995), "Jin-Roh" (2000), "Blood: The Last Vampire" (2000), "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" (animation segment, 2003), "Innocence" (2004), "The Sky Crawlers" (2008), "Oblivion Island" (2009) and "A Letter to Momo" (2012), I.G has gained high reputation around the globe, inspiring Hollywood creators such as James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino and the Wachowskis.


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