Film Festival Secretary General in Tokyo
Taro Maki

Formerly known as "Japanimation," Japanese animation has become “the worldAnime." And now that we are in the age of distribution, it is also called global content. "Anime", which has gained a lot of fans all over the world, also has the aspect of content that is consumed, probably because of its high production volume. It was previously targeted at kids and enthusiasts, it's about to become a popular entertainment worldwide. Against this background, one of the important objectives of this Niigata International Animation Film Festival is to rediscover and re-evaluate the value of animation. In addition to interacting with international creators and screening archived works, we also provide a place for animation researchers to make presentations, and also develop human resources such as workshops.
I would like to make efforts so that Niigata, which produces the most animation and manga creators in Japan and has an animation information center and a manga library, will be a meaningful meeting place for animation-related people around the world.

Program Director
Tadashi Sudo

Giving New Meaning to Animation from Niigata

We want to give animation a new meaning.
The Niigata International Animation Festival will start in March 2023.
In the 21st century, animation films around the world have become more diversified and variegated.
The changes can be seen in three areas: the regions where they are created, the themes/genres, and the media that convey the works.

First is the "creative region”. Today, an unprecedented amount of animation is being produced around the world, from Asia, Europe, America, Africa, the Middle East, and Oceania.
Valuing and discovering these diverse works requires new multiple perspectives as well.
However, while production is spreading around the world, the places where information and value of works are shared tend to be biased toward Europe and North America.
There is no better place than Japan to capture new changes. Japan has long been the hub of the East and Southeast Asian animation creative network, and as such, is home to a great deal of creativity and information.

The city of Niigata is also important. Multipolarization of creativity is not just happening on a country-by-country basis.
For a long time, animation in Japan was considered to be concentrated in Tokyo.
However, with the development of production technology and the recent lifestyle changes caused by the COVID disaster, more people are creating animation outside of Tokyo, and new studios are springing up one after another.
Niigata is truly emerging as a new region for the creation of animation and manga.

By holding the International Animation Festival in Niigata, we hope to convey the changes that are taking place in the world of animation.

Animation journalist. Author of the book "Who will create anime in the future?" (Seikaisha Shinsho)

Board Member/Staff

Executive Committee Chairman of NIAFF
Kenzo Horikoshi

Why hold this film festival in Niigata?

Niigata has trained 3,000 animation and manga creators over the past 30 years. In terms of human resources development, Niigata has the best record in this realm in Japan.

Kaishi Professional University has a Department of Animation and Manga, and Niigata University has an Animation Laboratory. This means that all the human resources needed by the animation industry, including not only animation technicians but also producers and others, can be trained in Niigata and on the production site.

Niigata also has a history of more than 300 years as the largest international trading city on the Sea of Japan, which headed towards Russia, the Korean Peninsula and China. It is similar to maritime cities facing the Mediterranean Sea, such as Genoa and Venice in Italy, or Hanseatic cities facing the North Sea, such as Hamburg in Germany. Niigata has a history as a civic city that tried to govern itself even during the period of shogunate rule, as well as being a maritime city, both of which have fostered the free imagination and critical spirit essential for creators.

This is the reason why Niigata has produced so many famous manga artists and animation creators, and why this film festival is being held here. Niigata has not only been involved in overseas trade, but has also played a role in determining the basis of the taste of Japanese food, with the best ingredients, along with Niigata's fermentation culture, being transported from Hokkaido to Kyoto on the Kitamae-bune ship, which is depicted in the festival logo.

What is another important rationale for holding an international film festival in Niigata? Niigata is home to 100 sake breweries, the largest in Japan. Furthermore, it is a place where animation can be discussed passionately over a variety of seafood from 400 miles of coastline.

Kenzo Horikoshi:Film-Producer, President of Eurospace, Dean at Kaishi Professional University, Emeritus Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts.
Films produced include for example, Leos Carax ”Annette”, Abbas Kiarostami ”Like Someone in Love”,François Ozon “Sous le sable”, Wayne Wang ”Smoke”, and the book The Glory of Independents (Chikuma Shobo)