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The first Niigata International Animation Film Festival will be held from March 17 to 22, 2023. Pic credit: The Niigata International Animation Film Festival official website

The Niigata International Animation Film Festival, which will be held from March 17 to 22, 2023, has begun accepting entries for the competition section.

Applications can be submitted from November 1 to December 23, 2022. Any animation with a running time of more than 40 minutes (including end credits), which was completed after 2020, may apply. Feature-length animation works in languages other than Japanese and English must have English subtitles at the time of submission.

In the non-competition section, Japanese and international animation works will be presented from a variety of perspectives. Currently announced are the “Trend of The World,” “Retrospective,” “All Night Show,” and “Master of Animation Technique” sections, with additional screenings to be announced as they become available.

The festival will host additional public events, which will also be announced at a later date.

The aim is to create a film festival where animation professionals from Japan and abroad can gather and interact with each other.

The Niigata International Animation Film Festival timeline

The festival got an official website and Twitter channel on November 1, 2022.

The Niigata International Animation Film Festival was first announced in May 2022, when it was specified that the event would focus on feature-length animation.  

Director Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) will chair the jury while KADOKAWA’s senior advisor Shinichiro Inoue will be the festival director. Taro Maki, the producer of the In This Corner of the World anime film will be in charge of planning and production.

Niigata International Animation Film Festival aims at becoming the “largest festival in Asia with a competition section for feature-length animated films,” according to a press conference announcement by the festival’s executive committee held in May when the festival was announced.

Niigata has been chosen due to Niigata City being famous for its manga- and anime artists and has played a pivotal role in popularizing the animation culture. The city offers animation programs at vocational schools and universities, with ca. 400 students aiming at becoming manga- and anime artists every year. This is the highest percentage of prospective mangaka and animators in Japan, making Niigata a city of animation talents.

In addition, it was the Niigata natives that founded Toei Animation, which produced the first Japanese color feature-length anime — The White Snake Enchantress (白蛇伝).

Finally, the Niigata Anime & Manga Festival and the Niigata Manga Award have been around since 1998. The city has a strong manga and anime culture, so the location is just perfect for an international animation festival, which is likely to become an annual event.

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