Makoto Shinkai’s hugely successful WEATHERING WITH YOU will open the third ‘Animation Is Film’ Festival taking place October 18 to 20 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Closing the festival will be France’s I LOST MY BODY from director Jeremy Clapin.
The festival will present 10 feature films in competition, vying for Grand Prize, Special Jury Prize, and Audiences Award. Additionally, the festival will present special screenings, retrospectives, short films, panel discussions, sneak peek “making of” and “behind the scenes” presentations, plus non-stop receptions and parties to round out a jam-packed three days of events and screenings.
GKIDS and AIF founder Eric Beckman said, “In partnership with Annecy, we are thrilled to present our third annual slate of amazing animated filmmaking from around the world. The range of artistry on display this year for LA audiences is truly remarkable, from celebrated Cannes, Venice, and Annecy winners, to enormous box office megahits, to lovingly told personal stories. From self-taught, first-time filmmakers to revered masters. From expressionistic to cartoony to photo-realistic to provocatively experimental. There is stop motion, hand drawn, hand painted, 3D CGI, comedy, romance, heart-rending drama, psychological thriller, epic fantasy, and so much more that simply can’t be categorized. If anyone still suffers under the misimpression that animation is a family entertainment genre, the festival will open their eyes to the wide, practically unlimited possibilities that this potent art form is capable of.”
2019 FILMS IN COMPETITION
WEATHERING WITH YOU – US PREMIERE – OPENING NIGHT FILM
(dir. Makoto Shinkai, prod. Genki Kawamura, Japan) FILMMAKERS IN PERSON
Weathering With You is the new film from director Makoto Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura, the creative team behind the critically acclaimed, global hit Your Name. Weathering With You is the highest grossing film of the year at the Japan box office, as well as Japan’s official International Feature Film entry to the 2020 Academy Awards®. With Tokyo flooding under unceasing rains, runaway teen Hokoda meets Hina, a mysterious girl who has the power to part the clouds and bring the sun.
I LOST MY BODY – WEST COAST PREMIERE – CLOSING NIGHT FILM
(dir. Jeremy Clapin, prod. Marc du Pontavice, France) FILMMAKER IN PERSON Presented in partnership with COLCOA French Film Festival
From director Jeremy Clapin and Amelie screenwriter Gullaume Laurant, I Lost My Body is winner of the Nespresso Grand Prize in Critics’ Week at Cannes as well as both the Cristal for Best Feature Film and the Audience Prize at Annecy. In a Parisian laboratory, a severed hand escapes its unhappy fate and sets out to reconnect with its body.
BOMBAY ROSE – US PREMIERE
(dir. Gitanjali Rao, India/UK/France/Qatar)
The opener of this year’s Critics’ Week in Venice, Gitanjali Rao’s mesmerizing and lovingly hand-painted feature debut is an ode a city and its cinema. Set in bustling Mumbai, the crisscrossing narratives of the different characters center on Kamala, a young woman attempting to escape her fate, in this vibrant celebration of memory, art, music and color.
CHILDREN OF THE SEA – US PREMIERE
(dir. Ayumi Watanabe, Japan) FILMMAKER IN PERSON
Children of the Sea is the latest feature from Japan’s Studio 4°C (MFKZ, Tekkoninkreet, Mind Game, Genius Party), with a score by award-winning composer Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro). In this ethereal fantasy, Ruka is drawn toward the sea by a haunting whale song and two mysterious boys, Umi and Sora. Little does she know she has been chosen as the catalyst of a cosmic event.
MARONA’S FANTASTIC TALE – US PREMIERE
(dir. Anca Damian, France/Romania/Belgium) FILMMAKER IN PERSON
Annecy award-winner Anca Damian’s new film is a beautiful and deeply emotional story of life and love, told through the point of view of a mixed breed Labrador puppy. After an accident, Marona reflects on all the homes and experiences she has had. As her memory journeys into the past, her unfailing empathy and love bring lightness and innocence into each of her owners’ lives.
NO. 7 CHERRY LANE – US PREMIERE
(dir. Yonfan, Hong Kong SAR China) FILMMAKER IN PERSON
The prince of sensual Hong King cinema, writer/director Yonfan (Bishonen, Peony Pavilion, Color Blossoms) makes his animation debut with No. 7 Cherry Lane, a surreal and dream-like tale of amorous attractions, set in a turbulent 1967 Hong Kong. When University student Ziming shows up for a tutoring gig, he becomes the object of fantasy for both his beautiful student Meiling and her mother, Mrs Yu. He takes Mrs. Yu to the movies and through a series of magical moments on the big screen, forbidden passions are revealed. Film won the prize for best screenplay in its Venice premiere.
RIDE YOUR WAVE – WEST COAST PREMIERE
(dir. Masaaki Yuasa, Japan)
Anime bad-boy Masaaki Yuasa (Mind Game, DEVILMAN crybaby)is back with his fourth feature film, a heart-rending but uplifting tale of love and loss, that retains Yuasa’s slightly anarchic and subversive sensibility. Hinako is a surf-loving college student who has just moved to a small seaside town. When a sudden fire breaks out at her apartment building, she is rescued by Minato, a handsome firefighter, and the two soon fall in love. But just as they become inseparable, tragedy strikes.
SHe – US PREMIERE
(dir. Shengwei Zhou, China)
One of the most original and daring films this year, the unapologetically experimental SHe is a harrowing critique of a patriarchal society.In a dystopian world, male shoes, all black polish and metal grommets, are in charge, while the females, red high-heels with spindly vines, are caged and kept strictly for breeding purposes. Under disguise, a female breaks loose and attempts to move beyond her confines, but her attempt alters not only her fate but the very fabric of the society.
THE SWALLOWS OF KABUL – LOS ANGELES PREMIERE
(dirs. Zabou Breitman, Elea Gobbe-Mellevec; France) FILMMAKERS IN PERSON
In the summer of 1998, Kabul is in ruins and occupied by the Taliban. Atiq and Mussarat have been married for years and now barely talk to each other. He can no longer bear working as a guard in a women’s prison and she is in agony and suffering from an incurable illness. Mohsen and Zunaira are young and love each other. But Mohsen commits a foolish act that transforms their destiny.
WHITE SNAKE– WEST COAST PREMIERE
(dirs. Amp Wong, Ji Zhao; China) FILMMAKERS IN PERSON
One day a young snake-catcher names Xuan discovers a mysterious woman by a waterfall and saves her life. The woman has lost her memory and together they go on a fantastical adventure to discover her real identity. Conceived as a prequel to one of the most ancient and enduring stories in Chinese history, the box office hit White Snake presents a sumptuous tale of trickster demons, deadly mythical beasts, assassins, wuxia action, and the promise of eternal love.