Four Visionary Animation Artists Take on Vivaldi's Four Seasons - Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign to Launch July 25th

June 14, 2017 (Tokyo, Japan) – The Four Seasons Animation Concert Executive Committee announces that a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign will begin on July 25, 2017 to fund four original animation works inspired by Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. Veteran NHK producer Mitsuko Okamoto leads the project alongside Oscar-nominated animation director Koji Yamamura, who serves as the project supervisor.
Yamamura has tapped four celebrated animation artists to create original animated short films for Vivaldi's The Four Seasons concerti: Anna Budanova, “Spring”; Priit Pärn and Olga Pärn, “Summer”; Atsushi Wada, “Fall”; and Theodore Ushev, “Winter.” The animation works will premiere on November 19, 2017 in a live performance at the Kitakyushu Hibiki Hall in Japan with Tokyo University of the Arts President Kazuki Sawa as lead violinist and conductor.
The Kickstarter campaign will complement the campaign on the Japanese crowdfunding site ReadyFor (, which aims to raise 5 million yen (approximately US$45,000) by June 30. The Kickstarter campaign pre-launch website ( ) offers email registration for updates.
The project is spearheaded by faculty members at Tokyo University of the Arts, where Okamoto and Yamamura serve as professors in the Department of Animation. Ann Yamamoto of Pied Piper, Inc. is an assistant professor at the university and brings crowdfunding experience to the project. The Tokyo University of the Arts faculty members are donating their time toward the realization of this project, and the funds will be used to support the original animation productions by the four artists.

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Mitsuko Okamoto, Executive Producer
NHK TV producer and professor at the Department of Animation, Graduate School of Film and New Media at Tokyo University of the Arts. Jury member for the Tokyo International Anime Fair, planning director for the “Tenacious, Gracious” exhibition at the Tricky Women Animation Festival 2017, producer for Yokohama EIZONE, and supervisor of Japan Pop Energy for the Japan Media Arts Festival. Producer of the seminal NHK TV program “Digital Stadium,” which featured leading digital artists and played an important role in discovering new animation talent including Yasuhiro Yoshiura (Patema Inverted, Time of Eve).

Koji Yamamura, Supervisor
Acclaimed director of independent animation films including Mount Head (Grand Prize at Animafest Zagreb in 2004 and 75th Academy Award for Animated Short Film nominee), Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor (Grand Prize at the 2007 Ottawa International Animation Festival) and Muybridge's Strings (Special Prize at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in 2012). Professor at the Department of Animation, Graduate School of Film and New Media at Tokyo University of the Arts, deputy chairperson of the Japan Animation Association, and voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Anna Budanova, “Spring” Animation Director
Russian animator born in 1988. Debut work The Wound (Special Jury Award at the 2013 Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Grand Prize at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in 2014) depicts a little girl dealing with difficult emotions in the form of a shaggy creature. Her most recent work is Among the Black Waves (Anima 2017 Grand Prix, Best Visual at the Fantoche International Animation Film Festival in 2016).

Priit and Olga Pärn, “Summer” Animation Directors
Since his debut in the 1970s, Priit Pärn has made his mark in the field of animation with his black humor and iconoclastic graphic style. Groundbreaking films include Breakfast On The Grass (Grand Prix at the Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films in 1988) and Night of the Carrots (Grand Prix at the Ottawa International Animation Festival in 1998). Co-directed projects with his partner Olga include Divers in the Rain (Anima 2010 Grand Prix).

Atsushi Wada, “Fall” Animation Director
Born in 1980. His mesmerizing short animations use muted colors and deliberate pacing, and are laced with absurdist comedy. Representative works include In a Pig's Eye (Best Film at Fanoche International Animation Film Festival in 2010), The Mechanism of Spring (premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2010) and The Great Rabbit (Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012).

Theodore Ushev, “Winter” Animation Director
Born in Bulgaria in 1968 and based in Canada. Prolific creator of intensely original works including Blood Manifesto, rendered in his own blood, and the powerful depiction of legendary animator Arthur Lispett's depression in Lipsett Dairies. His most recent film Blind Vaysha (Jury Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Cartoon Network Award for Best Narrative Short Animation, 89th Academy Award for Animated Short Film nominee) hits a raw nerve with the story of a girl who can see the past and future with each eye, but never the present.

Kazuki Sawa, Conductor and Violinist
Celebrated violinist and founding member of the Sawa Quartet, one of Japan's premiere string quartets, and President of Tokyo University of the Arts. Prizes at international competitions include the Munich International Competition (Violin-Piano Duo together with his pianist wife, Emiko Tadenuma), the Long-Thibaud Competition and the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition. Serves as an honorary associate of the Royal Academy of Music and a fellow of the Royal Northern College of Music.

Ann Yamamoto, Co-producer
Assistant Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts/Global Support Center and based at the school's Graduate School of Film and New Media. Head of Pied Piper, Inc., which specializes in using crowdfunding to connect creators with fans. Formerly in charge of international promotion and distribution at Tokyo-based production company Directions, Inc.

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