We’re two months away from the inaugural Niigata International Animation Film Festival (NIAFF), and organizers have unveiled the films that will screen in competition at the first-ever edition of the Japanese festival.

Niigata was established as an annual event dedicated to elevating animated features from around the world. This first competition lineup fits well into that mold, including films from a diverse group of countries:

  • Vampire in the Garden The Movie, Ryôtarô Makihara (Japan)
  • Khamsa – the Well of Oblivion, Vynom (Algeria)
  • Oink, Mascha Halberstad (Netherlands)
  • Little Nicolas – Happy as Can Be, Amandine Fredon, Benjamin Massoubre (France)
  • Even Mice Belong in Heaven, Denisa Grimmová, Jan Bubeníče (Czechia, France, Poland, Slovakia)
  • Opal, Alan Bidard (Martinique, France)
  • Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, Pierre Földes (France, Canada, Netherlands, Luxembourg)
  • Thee Wreckers Tetralogy, Rosto (Netherlands, France, Japan)
  • Unicorn Wars, Alberto Vázquez (Spain, France, Japan)
  • When You Get To The Forest, Eric Power (U.S.)

The 10 films were selected from 21 submitted works hailing from 15 countries. Including minority producers, 12 countries are represented in the competition lineup.

The first Niigata festival jury will be presided over by Japanese animation legend Mamoru Oshii, director of Ghost in the Shell. The festival’s director is Shinichiro Inoue, former editor in chief of Newtype; the artistic director is Tadashi Sudo, an animation journalist; and the secretary general is Taro Maki, producer of In This Corner of the World and Mobile Police Patlabor.

The first Niigata International Animation Film Festival will be held in Niigata City, Niigata prefecture, from March 17 to 22. A new poster for the festival was also released alongside the line-up.

Niigata Poster

Pictured at top: Oink; Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman; Unicorn Wars

Earlier Coverage of Niigata Animation Festival