Typically, airports are places that sensible people want to get in and out of as quickly as possible. But not this time. I’ve been staying at the New Chitose Airport on Japan’s Hokkaido Island since Thursday and I’ll remain here for an entire week to take part in the world’s only airport animation festival.
Now in its second year, the New Chitose Airport International Animation Festival officially begins tomorrow, October 31, and runs through Tuesday, November 3. All the screenings take place inside the airport’s three-screen theater, while festival guests will make use of the airport’s hotel, dozens of restaurants (including an on-site chocolate factory), and even its onsen.
Organized by festival director — and tireless promoter of indie Japanese animation– Nobuaki Doi, New Chitose offers a full slate of seven competition screenings, with filmmaker prizes totaling over US$17,000. I’m honored to be a part of the festival’s international jury alongside Holland Animation Film Festival director Gerben Schermer, Japanese indie filmmaker and comic artist Ryo Hirano, and Korean feature film director Chang Hyung-yun (The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow).