December 07, 2007

At last year's Ottawa International Animation Festival, I met with I.Toon founder and president Yuichi Ito; at this year's festival, we—along with his manager Hiroko Kamata—sat down to talk about his series of short stop-motion films, Norabbits' Minutes. Created for Shochiku's 110th anniversary, Norabbits' Minutes features two young rabbit brothers who live together in the forest and have endearing adventures together... though not without some absurd twists. As a bonus, we are also presenting the first episode of Norabbits' Minutes in its entirety.

Ottawa International Animation Festival
Buy the Norabbits' Minutes series on DVD (Region 2)

Direct download: 071207fps_podcast.mp3
October 31, 2007

My guests in this podcast are Betsy de Fries and Jerry Van de Beek, who form the San Francisco Bay Area studio Little Fluffy Clouds. (And yes, they're named after the Orb song.) Little Fluffy Clouds has been in business since 1996, when the pair left the (Colossal) Pictures studio during its last days. The studio's been busily creating ads for a wide variety of clients since then.

Little Fluffy Clouds
Au Petite Mort
IBM: "Alignment"
Festival Watch: SIGGRAPH 2003
March 2006 issue of fps, featuring Little Fluffy Clouds' Today

Direct download: 071031fps_podcast.mp3

An animated Rorschach test is the backbone of one of three spots that Little Fluffy Clouds produced for Ogilvy's series of IBM commercials.

Little Fluffy Clouds
Trivers Myers Music

Direct download: 071031fps_podcast.mp4
October 29, 2007

A stream, a fisherman, a dragonfly, a fish: In Little Fluffy Clouds' Au Petite Mort (2003), these elements come together to evoke the waning days of summer, the circle of life, and just a little cruel irony.

Little Fluffy Clouds
Festival Watch: SIGGRAPH 2003

Image Credit: © Little Fluffy Clouds LLC
Direct download: 071029fps_podcast.mp4
September 27, 2007

White's Dream is a music video based on the Tekkonkinkreet movie. Set to the Shinichi Osawa remix of Plaid's song from the soundtrack and directed by Tekkon director Michael Arias, the video encapsulates most of the movie from Shiro's (White's) perspective.

Tekkonkinkreet review
Michael Arias interview
Tekkonkinkreet image gallery
Tekkonkinkreet soundtrack
Tekkonkinkreet soundtrack remix CD

Direct download: 070927fps_podcast.mp4
Image credit: © Taiyo Matsumoto / Shogakukan, Aniplex, Asmik Ace Entertainment, Beyond C., Dentsu, Tokyo MX.
Special thanks to Michael Arias for providing this video.
August 17, 2007

In April, the Tokyo-based company Digital Meme released the Japanese Anime Classic Collection, which contained almost 60 animated shorts from Japan's silent era. I recently spoke with Digital Meme CEO Larry Greenberg about this landmark collection, as well as his company.

Digital Meme
Matsuda Film Productions
Japanese Anime Classic Collection review
Oira no Yakyu [Our Baseball Match] (excerpt)

Direct download: 070817fps_podcast.mp3
August 02, 2007

This excerpt is from the 1931 short Oira no Yakyu (Our Baseball Match), directed by Yasuji Murata. Oira no Yakyu and many of Murata's other works are featured in the four-DVD set Japanese Anime Classic Collection, which was released earlier this year by Digital Meme. Oira no Yakyu features a baseball game between rabbits and tanuki (raccoon-like canines indigenous to Japan). Tanuki are known for being shape-shifting tricksters, and while the shape-shifting isn't present here, they certainly are tricky.

The silent era of Japanese cinema featured one major distinction from that one the West: the addition of the benshi, a narrator and actor who added a significant live-performance component to the movies beyond just the music. As a result, the silent era lasted longer in Japan than in the West—so even though Oira no Yakyu came out two years into the sound era, it still has the look and feel of a silent movie, and features benshi narration.

Japanese Anime Classic Collection review
Digital Meme

Direct download: 070802fps_podcast.mp4
Image credit: © 2007 Digital Meme.
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