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LIAF 2021: BFI Japan 2021 – Into the Unknown – The Trippy Worlds of Indie Japanese Animation

December 3, 2021
9:30 pm
At The Horse Hospital SOLD OUT
ONLINE TICKETS STILL AVAIABLE: book tickets or buy a pass

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, BFI Japan 2021, Into the Unknown - The Trippy Worlds of Indie Japanese AnimationJapan 2021 National Lottery Fan 275Screening as part of  Japan 2021: Over 100 years of Japanese  Cinema, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network.


Hiding behind the monolith that is Anime is a special world where independent Japanese animation lives. In the last 20 years independent animation has thrived in many parts of the world. Technological developments have democratised animation, opening the door for faster and more affordable production methods. The Internet has freed some animators from producers and distributors. Artists can now put their films on Vimeo or YouTube, showcase their work on their own websites and put out self-produced DVDs. These innovations have let animators eliminate the middle person and given them direct contact with their audience.

Responding to the new-found interest in artistic animation, a number of animation schools in Japan have opened and blossomed in the 21st century, such as the Tama Arts University and the Tokyo University of the Arts. The result has been a dramatic increase in independent animation production. Today, independent animation in Japan has never been so alive and active, an example being the production and distribution company New Deer run by Nobuaki Doi, who have several productions in the works and who actively support young Japanese indie animators to take their work to the world.

This screening shows some of the best of these films made over the last decade by animators with unique visions who swim against the tide and are fiercely independent.

Find out about our other BFI Japan 2021 programmes: Atsushi Wada – A Jolt to the Subconscious and Junk Head

The Dawn of Ape – Mirai Mizue, Japan

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, The Dawn of Ape, Mirai MizueThe world’s first animation made to be watched by chimpanzees. For this screening for the first time ever, humans are allowed to watch as well.

2019 4 mins

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Hunter – Ryoji Yamada, Japan

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Hunter, Ryoji YamadaA haunted hunter is searching for something that he may never find. A twisted jazz soundtrack sets the scene for this neo-noir mystery.

2017 9 mins

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Starting Over – Mika Seike, Japan

Starting Over, Mika Seike, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalYou fall down every time before you reach your goal. At each fall, the glass you held shatters, and everything starts all over again. But there are things you can only discover through repetition.

2016 8 mins

Open One’s Mouth – Akane Murata, Japan

Open One's Mouth, Akane Murata, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalSensuous and transporting, material pigments, mud pigments and metallic foil animate the textures and temperaments of the every day and elsewhere.

2021 4 mins

Rabbits Blood – Sarina Nihei, Japan/UK

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Rabbit’s Blood, Sarina NiheiTwo rival groups battle for survival underground – sinister cloaked men and neutralist rabbits.

2017 5 mins

A Bite of Bone – Honami Yano, Japan

A Bite of Bone, Honami Yano, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalA little girl reflects on her last summer with her father at his funeral.

2021 10 mins

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Airy Me – Yuko Kuno, Japan

Airy Me, Yuko Kuno, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalA half-remembered dream, morphing between the mundane and fantastic with a child-like innocence and a peculiar, unarticulated sadness.

2013 6 mins

Jungle Taxi – Hakhyun Kim, Japan

Jungle Taxi, Hakhyun Kim, LIAF, London International Animation On a sticky night in the jungle a taxi spirits a mysterious passenger to their destination.

2016 8 mins

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Down Escalation – Shunsaku Hayashi, Japan

Down Escalation, Shunsaku Hayashi, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalFalling down, deep into the layers of itself, until the form is no more.

2018 7 mins

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Futon – Yoriko Mizushiri, Japan

Futon, Yoriko Mizushiri, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalA woman wrapped in a futon begins to dream and think about the future. Everything melts pleasantly together.

2012 7 mins

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Feed – Eri Okazaki, Japan

Feed, Eri Okazaki, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalTwo large, gentle beings plant trees; a goat is fed; meatballs are cooked – slow, mysterious, beautiful.

2016 7 mins

Summers Puke is Winter’s Delight – Sawako Kabuki, Japan

Summers Puke is Winters Delight, Sawako Kabuki, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalPainful events become memories over time. Still we vomit and eat again.

2016 3 mins

Our Funding Partners

Arts Council England
With Special Thanks to the Arts Council England


Film London, Film Hub London, BFI FAN, National Lottery

Event supported by Film Hub London, managed by Film London. Proud to be a partner of the BFI Film Audience Network, funded by the National Lottery.