Thank you very much for all the people who came to the 2nd Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival; again it was another successful year for us.
Short Film Screenings at The Atrium
Day 1 of the festival opened at the University of Glamorgan, Atrium in Cardiff with the Japanese Short Animation Film Screenings which sported a packed cinema. The audience enjoyed several short films from up and coming, as well as established, Japanese animators followed by some animations from courses taught at the Atrium itself.
Down in the foyer were a selection of local specialist retailers such as Otakuzoku, who sell retro video games, manga, comic books, and toys, anlongside the comic specialist The Comic Man who both laid out their stands for the whole afternoon prior to the short film screenings..
Chapter Arts Centre
Day 2 was held at the Chapter Arts Centre with the feature film screenings including:
- Arrietty (the latest animated film by Studio Ghibli)
- Paprika (Madhouse, Directed by Satoshi Kon)
- Tales from Earthsea (Studio Ghibli)
- Redline (Madhouse, directed by Takeshi Koike)
In keeping with last year’s tradition of showcasing a premiere film, Redline had its Welsh premiere in front of a packed cinema.
The Japanese Marketplace
Held in the foyer area again this year, the marketplace really adds to the atmosphere of the entire weekend. Food, snacks, sweets, toys, videogames, anime and manga were available to buy, and the stalls which included Otakuzoku, Yakiniku, and The Comic Man helped create an event fit for celebrating Japanese animation.
The Haiku Animation Workshop
This was a great success with lots of children taking part. Gerald Conn, the director of an award winning animation company Gritty Realism Productions, hosted the workshop which taught children how to animate with sand and cutout card on a lightbox. Each frame was captured using a stills camera mounted on an overhead rostrum.
Initially tasked with creating a Haiku poem, they then set about animating a short piece with their poems being read out as a soundtrack.
The result of their efforts is presented here (see video below), and we think you’ll agree they did a wonderful job considering they had no animation experience at all.
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The Calligraphy Workshop
Ever wanted to try your hand at writing Japanese? We invited Yukiko Ayres, a London-based professional Calligrapher, whose workshops allow everyone to try their hand at writing in Japanese using a traditional brush and ink.
Whether it was your own name, or the name of a loved one, Yukiko would show you how to do it, and then supervise while you tried to copy the intricate brush strokes.
Japanese calligraphy obeys strict rules when it comes to the number and order of the brush strokes, even down to the posture held whilst writing.
Raffle Prize Draw
This year’s raffle draw took place in the foyer near the cinema entrance with an excited crowd waiting to hear their numbers called. Bet Davis who is Head of Corporate Affairs, Wales Millennium Centre and also a member of Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival Committee hosted the raffle prizes.
There were some great prizes, such as a StopMate Motion Animation Armature by Japanese armature maker Tetsu, animation software Stop Motion Pro HD, anime DVDs, a beautiful kimono, books, dolls, badges, gift vouchers, bento boxes and lots more. It was also nice to see the armature being won by an animation student from the Atrium, a somewhat fitting end to a great weekend.
Plans are under way for this year’s festival, and will be published here as soon as they are finalized. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came to this year’s festival, we really hope you enjoyed yourselves. Please spread the word to all your friends and family and we hope to see you all again next year for the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 2012.