Nine feature films have been unveiled for the 23rd Bucheon International Animation Festival (BIAF2021) from among 77 feature film submissions. The South Korean event will take place October 22-26 this year.
Archipelago (Félix Dufour-Laperrière; Canada) — A sophisticated documentary essay film about Quebec and the islands on the Saint Lawrence River in Canada. More specifically, an experimental film that combines animation with actual archival footage, documentaries, and virtual abstract images. Running through a thousand imaginary islands from the Atlantic Ocean to the Saint Lawrence, the adventure is an epic journey across Quebec’s history and cultural landscape.
Checkered Ninja 2 (Thorbjørn Christoffersen & Anders Matthesen; Denmark) — Alex and the Checkered Ninja are back on a frantic hunt for the villain Phillip Eppermint. When Eppermint manages to evade a prison sentence in Thailand, Checkered Ninja comes back to life to team up with Alex. On their hunt for revenge and justice Alex and Checkered Ninja are swooped into a dangerous mission, where their friendship at times will be intensely challenged.
City of Lost Things (Chih-yen Yee, Taiwan) — A 16-year-old struggling teenager, Leaf, runs away from home, skips classes and mysteriously ends up in a peculiar place, the City of Lost Things. There he meets Baggy, a 30-year-old plastic bag. Baggy never sees himself as just another piece of unwanted junk. He has a purpose in life – to lead his tribe in fleeing the City of Lost Things.
The Crossing (Florence Mialhe; Germany/France/Czech Republic) — On a dark night, Kyona’s family hurries to flee from the invaders. Soon, the family scatters, and Kyona and her little brother Adriel hit the road in search of safety. The two meet different people and overcome a variety of challenges as they pass through many different places, such as a hideout for street urchins, a mansion of oppressive foster parents, a hut in the mountains where a mysterious old lady lives, and a circus. The young siblings are vulnerable, but they persist.
DEEMO Memorial Keys (Fujisaku Junichi & Matsushita Shuhei; Japan) — Deemo is a mysterious, lonely creature that plays a piano in a castle. One day, a girl who has lost her memory comes falling down from the sky. The girl meets the mystical residents of the castle, and finds a tree that grows with the sound of the piano. A gentle, ephemeral story of love spun by Deemo and the girl.
Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko* (Ayumu Watanabe; Japan) — A heartwarming and moving comedy-drama about an unconventional family – a not-so-ordinary mother-and-daughter pair who live their lives to the fullest. Easy-going, cheerful, passionate and always ready to eat something delicious, mother Nikuko falls hard for the bad guys. Her happy motto: “Ordinary is best of all!” Naturally Nikuko’s loud and bold spirit embarrasses 11-year-old Kikuko, her daughter on the verge of puberty. With nothing in common except living together on a boat at the port, a miracle occurs when their secret is revealed.
Inu-Oh (Masaaki Yuasa; Japan/China) — Inu-oh has a tangled fate: He was born with a deformity, so his parents covered his face with a mask and his entire body with fabric. One day, Inu-Oh meets a blind biwa player called Tomona, who starts to make a song of Inu-oh’s life and play it. A musical animation focusing on two pop stars out of the distant past!
Josep (Aurel; France/Spain/Belgium) — A young Valentin happens to hear a recollection from his grandfather, Serge. The story dates back to the winter of 1939. That February, the Spanish republicans sought asylum in France to escape Franco’s dictatorship. But in the French camps, the refugees were mistreated. Serge, who was a camp guard, met a refugee there named Josep. Unlike other guards who constantly abused the refugees, Serge showed sympathy for them. After saving Josep from trouble, they became secret friends.
My Sunny Maad (Michaela Pavlátová; Czech Republic/France/Slovakia) — When Herra, a young Czech woman, falls in love with Nazir, an Afghan, she has no idea what kind of life awaits her in post-Taliban Afghanistan, nor of the family she is about to integrate into. A liberal grandfather, an adopted child who is highly intelligent and Freshta, who would do anything to escape her husband’s violent grip.
*Festival organizers note that Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko will be eligible for special prizes but not the main competition prizes, due to the Jury President position of director Ayumu Watanabe (BIAF2020 Grand Prize winner Children of the Sea). The feature film jury further comprises animation director Kenichi Konishi (Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya); CINE21 founder, journalist and critic Haery Kim; and director Danbi Yoon (Moving On), winner of the Bright Future Competition Award at Rotterdam.