Announcing the selection of the three artists chosen to participate in “Animation Artist in Residence Tokyo 2014,” a program that invites creators of media art from other countries to visit Japan.

With the application period having ended on September 9th, we are pleased to announce the selection of the three artists that have been invited to participate in “Animation Artist in Residence Tokyo 2014.” This project, organized and run once again this year by the Japan Image Council on behalf of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, gives talented creators from other countries the opportunity to pursue their art while visiting Japan. It was established in order to contribute to the development of media art in this country through the promotion of international exchange and the educational opportunities for Japanese artists this kind of interaction provides.

This year we invited media art creators between the ages of 20 and 35 from all over the world to apply for this program between July 1st and September 9th, and in response we received 274 applications from 60 countries. Three applicants were selected to participate in the program after a process involving a preparatory selection meeting, first selection committee meeting and second selection committee meeting. These artists will spend 70 days living in Tokyo from January 7th to March 17th, 2014 during which time they will each produce a new work of art while participating in various programs including training sessions, screenings, visits to studios and the ateliers of animation artists, and exchanges with educational institutions.

Invited Artists (Gender/Nationality/Age*) *As of January 7th, 2014
Michael Frei (Male/Swiss/26)
Ofra Kobliner (Female/Israeli/30)
Tomasz Popakul (Male/Polish/27)

For more information please contact the Japan Image Council
Telephone: +81-3-6670-5676 Fax: +81-3-5466-0054 Website:

Invited Artist Profiles

Michael Frei ( Male / Swiss / 26 )
Born in 1987. Began an apprenticeship as a draftsman in 2002. Studied animation at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts from 2008 to 2012. Took part in a one-year exchange program at the Estonian Academy of Art in Tallinn in 2010. His “Not About Us” (2012) won Special Mention in the category Student Film at AniFest (Czech) and his latest work “PLUG & PLAY” (2013) won Jury Special Prize at PISAF (Korea), among many others.



Previous Works
2009 Her Absence Filled The World
2009 Herr Meier
2010 Never Touch The Ground
2012 Not About Us
2013 PLUG & PLAY

Project Overview
“KIDS” (working title): A film that will incorporate elements of games through music and animation. The artist plans to develop multimedia aspects of the work as a piece of interactive art after it has been completed. Animation will be drawn on a computer and colored by hand on paper.

Ofra Kobliner ( Female / Israeli / 30 )
Born in 1983. Creates classic animation, After Effects and Flash animation, while working as a freelance illustrator. After completing one year of architectural studies at the Bezalel Academy of Arts, Jerusalem in 2005, she studied from 2006-2010 in the Animation program at the Screen-based Arts Department and obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Her graduation work “In a Clear Mind” won the Best Student Film at ASIFA Israel’s “International Animation Day 2010” and has been screened at film festivals around the world.

The Tongueling

In a Clear Mind

Previous Works
2010 In a Clear Mind

Project Overview
The artist will create a hand-drawn animated film inspired by a poem by Israeli poet Yona Wallach. The main characters will be a girl and a doe, and the work will express the interplay of their personalities as they influence each other. The artist aims to create the kind of atmosphere she finds in Japanese haiku.

Tomasz Popakul ( Male / Polish / 27 )
Born in 1986. Made his first films “Frustratu:Herzleid” (2004) and “Life 1.0″ (2006) while studying at the art school in Szczecin, then began studying animation at the renowned film school in Lodz in 2007. In 2011 he began studying scriptwriting alongside animation at the same school. His graduation film “Ziegenort” (2013) won the Principal Prize at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (Germany), and the New Talent Award at the Fantoche International Animated Film Festival (Switzerland), among many others.



Previous Works
2008 1000 buckets of water
2009 Revolution in Chronopolis: 64 golden spheres and one clap
2009 Dead field
2013 Ziegenort

Project Overview
“BLACK” (working title): A story of a man and a woman who are left on their own after the Earth is destroyed as they are flying to a space station. The artist plans to visualize with the use of 3D technique the complexity of space station and floating movements of characters and objects in zero gravity. A minimalist color scheme of black, white, and blue will be used.