wada atsushi

Film Fort Showcases Indie Japanese Animation

Film Fort, an event that focuses on music and video collaborations and "outsider" films, has imported a select bunch of Japanese animated shorts for its upcoming soiree. The Seconds Under the Sun screening will go down at Function13 in Kensington Market on Tuesday August 18th, and will feature the works of 15 experimental animators from Japan (many being shown here for the first time in North America).

I'll be dropping in for some Japanese treats and cold beer, and staying for the Film Fort experience: dozens of sheets will be draped all over the screening room ("It wouldn't be Film Fort without the fort!" explains Seconds Under the Sun curator Naomi Hocura).

While I can barely sketch a symmetrical stick figure, some of the animators featured in this programme hand draw thousands of images to produce a polished 5-minute clip.

Akino Kondoh's Ladybirds' Requiem is particularly fascinating. I am keen on its simple and exquisite imagery, and palette of black, white, and red. After squishing a couple of ladybugs, Eiko, a girl who appears in all of Kondoh's animations, obsessively sews hundreds of buttons under her skirt. The buttons turn into ladybugs.

Hocura found Kondoh's manga in a bookstore in Jimbocho (Tokyo's book district) before finding out that she does animation. Kondoh will make an appearance at the screening, as she happens to be doing a residency in New York and is involved in the Shinsedai Cinema Festival in Toronto next weekend (stay tuned for my picks from the inaugural edition of the Japanese Film Fest).

Also on the roster for the evening, a man rubs his nose on many surfaces (and people) in Atsushi Wada's bizarre Day of Nose. Daisuke Ichiba animation produced by Le Dernier Cri as a part of their compilation Religions Savages is a twisted subconscious world with one-eyed girls and J-horror-like creepiness. And, a beautiful sunny day on the golf course goes bad in Shintaro Kago's Terror of Golf Course. The whole minute and a half clip consists of a moving golf hole, some grunting, and a gruesome end.

Seconds Under the Sun: A Screening of Japanese Animation Shorts is on Tuesday, August 18th, 8:30pm to 11pm at Function13, 156 Augusta Avenue, admission PWYC.

Stills from Day of Nose (above) and Religions Savages (below) courtesy of Film Fort.

Daisuke Ichiba

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