Report following the conclusion of “Animation Artist in Residence Tokyo 2012-2013” – the International Invitation Program for Animation Artists 2012

The three artists who came to Japan in January of 2013 for the “Animation Artists in Residence Tokyo 2012-2013” program, Caleb Wood (United States), Elli Vuorinen (Finland), and Emma de Swaef (Belgium), returned to their countries in the middle of March after having completed their 70 day residence. During their stay in Tokyo they enthusiastically participated in the various planned educational and cultural exchange programs while continuing to work on their individual projects. The educational programs included three meetings at which they received comments from their advisors, a visit to the atelier of an animation artist, and two visits to studios to see animation in production. The cultural exchange segment of the program included participation at events such as the Japan Media Arts festival and the Yebisu International Festival for Arts and Alternative Visions, an exchange event with students at an educational institution, screening/project presentation events in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, and a final presentation on the results of the program. While introducing their own works and the projects they were working on as part of this program, the invited artists built bonds of friendship and intercultural exchange with many Japanese animation creators, visual artists, and other individuals involved in these fields. The visiting artists will complete the works they began during their stay (Caleb Wood’s “Goodbye Rabbit, Hop Hop,” Elli Vuorinen’s “Sukkavartaankatu 8,” and Emma de Swaef’s “Otto”) after returning to their home countries. The advisors who supervised them during the program were Mitsuko Okamoto (Professor, Department of Animation of the Graduate School of Film and New Media at Tokyo University of the Arts), Tatsutoshi Nomura (Animator/Associate Professor, Department of Graphic Design of the Faculty of Art and Design at Tama Art University), and Taku Furukawa (Animator/Visiting Professor, Faculty of Arts at Tokyo Polytechnic University). The progress of this year’s program is described below.

Three artists chosen to participate in “Animation Artist in Residence Tokyo 2012-2013” >>

Photographic record

January 10th (Thu.)
First educational event

First meeting between the three selected artists, the program advisors (Mitsuko Okamoto, Tatsutoshi Nomura and Taku Furukawa) and Chief Senior Specialist for Arts and Culture at the Agency for Cultural Affairs Tomonori Saeki.

January 13th (Sun.) 14:00 – 18:00 Place: ASTUDIO (Aoyama)
“Global Independent Animation 2013”
The three invited artists were given a public introduction at this event staged by the School of Cultural and Creative Studies at Aoyama Gakuin University and CALF. After screenings of the artists’ previous works and presentations on what they planned to create during their stay, works by three young Japanese artists (Shin Hashimoto, Ryo Hirano, and Yoriko Mizushiri) were screened and a panel discussion was held on the state of independent animation in Japan and overseas.

January 31st (Thu.)
Second Educational Event
The three artists gave presentations on the progress of their projects. The artists shared their opinions with each other in addition to receiving questions and advice from the program advisors.

February 9th(Sat.) 16:30 – 20:00 Place: Kobe Art Village Center
“Global Independent Animation 2013 in Kansai” (Kobe)
Screenings of works by the three invited artists and presentations on their planned works were staged in cooperation with Kobe Art Village Center. Many participants shared their thoughts at the exchange event held afterwards.

February 10th (Sun.) 15:00 – 18:30 Place: kara-S at Kyoto Seika University
“Global Independent Animation 2013 in Kansai” (Kyoto)
At this event, held in collaboration with Kyoto Seika University’s Video and Media Arts Course, the three artists were given an opportunity to screen their works and present their current projects. Following the presentations a social event was held to give the artists a chance to interact with attendees.

February 12th (Tue. )
Participation in the preview event, awards presentation, and gala of the 16th Japan Media Arts Festival
“Oh Willy…,” a work created by program participant Emma de Swaef in collaboration with Marc James Roels, received the “New Face Award – Animation Division.”

At the gala the invited artists were greeted and given encouragement by the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Seiichi Kondo. They were given the opportunity to meet many animation artists and film festival programmers from both Japan and overseas.

February 25th (Mon.)
Visit to I. TOON Animation Studio
The artists received explanations of clay and craft animation techniques from Yuichi Ito while viewing the clay figures from one of his best known works, “Nyakki!,” and the set of his latest work, “Harbor Tale.”

February 25th (Mon.)
Exchange event with animation students enrolled in Tokyo University of the Arts’ Graduate School of Film and New Media, Department of Animation
In cooperation with Professor Mitsuko Okamoto, twenty animation students took part in an event featuring screenings of works by the three invited artists, presentations of their projects, and question and answer sessions. Works by the participating students were also viewed and discussed. The artists in residence also participated in a preview event for the 4th Graduation Exhibition held on March 7th.

March 4th (Mon.)
Visit to Koji Yamamura’s Atelier
The artists visited the Atelier of animator Koji Yamamura. They watched his latest work that had only just been completed (an animated segment in the NHK program “Kojiki Girl Travelogue”) and listened to Mr. Yamamura talk about his distinctive production style and approach to creating art.

March 5th (Tue.)
Third educational event
Looking ahead to the project presentation events, the three artists discussed their plans to complete their projects and received advice from their advisors.

March 7th (Thu.)
Visit to “Dwarf” studio.
The artists visited TYO Inc.’s Dwarf division, a studio that has been involved in the production of many works of stop-motion animation. Focusing on “Domo,” a work currently in production, they viewed sets and production equipment while receiving concrete technical explanations from director/character designer Tsuneo Goda and animator Hirokazu Minegishi.

The artists also took part in a preview screening of the latest work by Dwarf held on March 8th, and in addition to viewing materials related to both new and old works produced by this studio they were also given an opportunity to meet and interact with participants involved in various aspects of animation.

March 13th (Wed.) 16:00 – 18:00 Place: ASTUDIO (Aoyama)
Project Presentation Event
Individuals involved in the field of animation or connected to the Agency for Cultural Affairs were invited to this event held at ASTUDIO (Aoyama). After a greeting from the organizers was given by Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Seiichi Kondo, Japan Image Council Executive Director Hiroyuki Ikeda described the program and gave a report on its progress, and the three artists then screened and discussed the works they had created during their stay in Japan. In the second part of the event the three program advisors (Mitsuko Okamoto, Tatsutoshi Nomura, and Toku Furukawa) held a panel discussion in which they talked about the results and content of the program while sharing their thoughts and feelings about their experience advising the invited artists.

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