From 13 to 17 November 2002 the Holland Animation Film Festival took place for the 9th time in the city of Utrecht, The Netherlands. The festival is a platform for quality animation in all its manifestations. Besides the screening of animation films, the festival organizes animation workshops, panel discussions, talk shows and exhibitions.
An important part of the festival is the presentation of the individual, independent animation filmmaker. Therefore, I'm proud to have been able to present a retrospective of short Japanese animation films. Image Forum has a long tradition of representing independent film art. Thanks to a wonderful cooperation between Image Forum and the Holland Animation Film Festival, we were able to show with great pleasure an important movement in the Japanese film culture to an international festival audience. Under the thematic titles Observer, Puppeteer and Juggler a selection from the archives of Image Forum was presented. Moreover, Tanaami Keichii and Takashi Ito had their personal retrospectives. Tanaami Keichii is a well-known artist in the animation circuit but Takashi Ito's work was shown for the first time at a specific animation film festival, as far as I know. This motivated me to pay special attention to the Japanese independent animation film.
In the field of animation film, Japan is mainly known in the western world for its Manga films. But Japan has a long tradition in the field of independent animation too. People like Yoji Kuri, Kihachiro Kawamoto, Renzo Kinoshita and Taku Furukawa found their way to the international audience. And the field of animation film hasn't stopped to develop. Nowadays, the boundaries between the different film genres are fading. More and more, animation is not a genre in itself anymore: the various uses of new media bring together different film genres. Furthermore, there is much common ground between visual arts and animation film. But of course this has been the case since cinema originated.
At Image Forum I mainly looked for films from individual artists who freed themselves from the conventions existing in the field of animation. Films that originated out of an idea, instead of out of a technique. This also meant that I selected films that balance between animation and, for example, video art.
Meanwhile, it is January 2003 and like in November 2002 it is a great honour that I can present a selection of the Japan programme in the centre of the independent film in Japan. A selection put together by a westerner, grown up in a traditional animation film culture.
Director Holland Animation Film Festival