Tales in pen and ink

Kunio Kato, a member of the ROBOT Character and Animation team, is a Japanese animator whose quietly surreal films portray a curious world of fantasy and whimsy. This year, his short Tsumiki no Ie ("La maison en petit cubes" or "House of Blocks") won the Annecy Cristal prize at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market.

In the highly surreal short The Apple Incident (2001), giant apples begin falling from the sky onto a bemused city. Winner of the Best Prize in the 2001 Laputa International Animation Festival.

Dreamy and dreamlike, Aru Tabibito no Nikki ("The Diary of Tortov Roddle" or "A Traveler's Diary") (2003) is a series of unconnected episodes of strange and whimsical happenings in the life of the eponymous hero, a tall traveler in a top hat who wanders the world astride his curiously long-legged pig companion. The film comprises Episodes 1-6. Selected for the 2004 Annecy festival, it was the winner of the Best Prize in the Laputa Animation Festival in 2003 and the Grand Prix in the Hida International Animation Festival of Folktales and Fables.

An excellent review of the film can be found at the Nishikata Film Review.

The adventures of Tortov Roddle continue in the bonus Episode 7, The Red Berry, in which the traveler encounters a garden of hallucinogenic red fruits.

Fantasy Story (2003) is another collection of vignettes illustrating various flights of fancy. It was a selection in the the 8th Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival (SICAF) and the Ottawa 04 International Animation Festival.

Michaël Dudok de Wit is a Holland-born animator living in London whose charming, spare, Japanese-influenced cartoon animations have won numerous awards, including an Academy Award, a BAFTA, and the Annecy Grand Prix for his 2000 film Father and Daughter.

The Aroma of Tea (2006) is Dudok de Wit's latest film. It is drawn entirely in washes of tea.

Father and Daughter (2000) is a quiet, moving tale about a young girl awating the return of her lost father.

In the ancient tradition of cat-and-mouse cartoons comes Le Moine et Le Poisson ("The Monk and the Fish") (1994), a delightful, minimalist short about a monk's obsessive attempts to catch the fish he spies in the monastery pond.

Tom Sweep (1992) is a humorous little cartoon about the travails of a beleaguered street janitor.

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