Hiroyuki Okiura’s second directorial effort, "A LETTER TO MOMO," won the Best Feature Film Prize at the 11th AniFest (FFF 2012), held in Teplice, Czech Republic from April 26 to May 1, 2012.
Press release from Production IG:
Hiroyuki Okiura’s second directorial effort, A LETTER TO MOMO, won the Best Feature Film Prize at the 11th AniFest (FFF 2012), held in Teplice, Czech Republic from April 26 to May 1, 2012. In the past editions, The Triplets of Belleville, Persepolis and In the Attic were awarded in the same category, but A LETTER TO MOMO is the first Japanese feature film to be honored with the prize.
The jury, composed of animation professionals from the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Syria, Portugal and USA, motivated the award as follows: "Solid direction, writing, pacing and a strong narrative core."
Started in 2002, Anifest is an ASIFA-recognized international animation festival attracting more than 20,000 people every year.
Seven years in the making, A Letter to Momo combines state-of-the-art traditional hand drawn animation with heart-warming, emotional storytelling for children and adults alike. Following its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival 2011, the movie won the Excellence Prize at the Japan Media Arts Awards 2011, the Feature Film Grand Prize at the New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival 2012 and the Platinum Grand Prize the the Future Film Festival 2012.
A LETTER TO MOMO opened in Japan April 21st, 2012 on 300 screens.
What the world said:
"A Letter to Momo is a wonderfully expressive and beautifully hand drawn tale that combines bursts of whimsy and kinetic humor with deep felt emotion and drama. The animation is superb throughout, from the painstakingly rendered serenity of the island's Shinto shrines to the climactic finale - that is the best flight of supernatural fancy since Spirited Away." (NYICFF)
"With its complex characterizations and multiple storylines, Momo rivals mature live-action drama." (Variety)
"A triumph of traditional hand-drawn animation. (Toronto IFF)
"Hiroyuki Okiura needed seven years to complete this incredibly beautiful, handmade animated story, but it was worth the wait." (Sitges FFF)
"This beautifully crafted work is a true labor of love." (Hawaii IFF)
"Tremendously enjoyable and surprisingly realistic." (Hong Kong IFF)
ABOUT HIROYUKI OKIURA
Born in 1966 in Osaka Prefecture, Okiura is considered a natural talent in the world of animation, having started his professional career at the age of 16 with no academic background. His credits include some of the most visually stunning animated feature films produced in Japan: Akira (1988, key animator), Patlabor: The Movie (1989, key animator), Patlabor 2: The Movie (1993, assistant animation supervisor), Memories (1995, key animator), Ghost in the Shell (1995, character design, animation supervisor, layout artist), Cowboy Bebob The Movie: Knockin' on Heaven's Door (2001, opening credit sequence director and key animator) and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004, character designer, animation supervisor). Okiura made his directorial debut in 1999 with Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, which was selected for the 49th Berlin International Film Festival and won several recognitions in Japan and the world. Seven years in the making, A Letter to Momo is his second directorial effort after more than a decade-long hiatus.
ABOUT PRODUCTION I.G
Established by Mitsuhisa Ishikawa in 1987, Production I.G is one of the world's leading animation studios. With its cutting-edge works, such as Ghost in the Shell (1995), Jin-Roh (2000), Blood: The Last Vampire (2000), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (animation segment, 2003), Innocence (2004), The Sky Crawlers (2008) and Oblivion Island (2009), I.G has gained high reputation around the globe, inspiring Hollywood creators such as James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino and the Wachowski brothers.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.