Words by Billy Beale and Ed King
Birmingham sees the launch of its first Anime film festival this week, with screenings at The Mockingbird Cinema and Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) running from 29 September to 5 October.
Organised in partnership with Flatpack Festival and Geeky Brummie, with sponsorship from the Glasgow based AllTheAnime, the inaugural Birmingham Anime Film Festival will showcase 20 films – from well-loved releases from Studio Ghibli to groundbreaking films from movie makers such as Makoto Shinkai.
Born from Japanese animated story telling there are now around 430 production companies producing Anime content, reaching audiences across the world through film, television, and modern day muti media.
Recognised as an important part of modern cinema, Anime releases have built dedicated audiences and achieve the highest industry accolades – with Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards.
Ahead of the Birmingham Anime Film Festival launch, Lee Nabbs from The Mockingbird Cinema told: “The Mockingbird is renowned for its mix of new releases, cult, and eclectic films.
“Regular Anime screenings have always been part of our scheduling mix and we’re proud to launch Birmingham Anime Film Festival to show our love for the genre and bring together fans from far and wide, to show the breadth and depth of this special part of cinema.”
David Baldwin, Producer – Cinema & Screen, Midlands Art Centre added: “The world of anime is no longer some niche genre. It’s a global phenomenon that has become a major part of cinema, streaming, toys and conventions.
“MAC is very pleased to be a part of Birmingham’s first official anime festival, with a focus on some of the more transgressive titles from across the history of anime, including classic works from Satoshi Kon and Eiichi Yamamoto.”
And to help you along your merry little way, Birmingham Review’s Billy Beale gives his cherry picked ‘ones to watch’ from the first ever Birmingham Anime Film Festival.
Weathering With You (subtitled – Saturday, 30 September, The Mockingbird Cinema)
A teenage boy moves to the city and meets new friends, including a girl who can magically bring the sun out on rainy days. Director Makoto Shinkai’s follow up to Your Name treads on familiar territory – teenage relationships in a relatable contemporary setting, with a magical twist.
Weathering With You wants to argue hopefully about future generations’ relationship to local communities, older generations, the environment. More than anything, it’s a sweet story with masterful animation.
Weather With You – official trailer
The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl (subtitled – Wednesday, 4 October, The Mockingbird Cinema)
The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl tells the story of a single revelrous night and the colourful characters that come in and out of the unnamed heroine’s drinking session, and the equally anonymous man pursuing her romantically.
It shares a great deal of its characters and art style with The Tatami Galaxy series and somehow manages to fit the same amount of youthful hangouts and cosmic introspection into just 90-odd minutes.
The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl – official trailer
Belladonna of Sadness (Wednesday, 4 October, MAC)
A uniquely stylistic retelling of the Joan of Arc story, with suitably psychedelic artwork for 1973 and a soundtrack to match.
Apparently, this film bankrupted the studio on its release but it’s now being celebrated for its cult success 50 years later.
Belladona of Sadness – official trailer
Promare (Thursday, 5 October, The Mockingbird Cinema)
Like everything that comes out of Studio Trigger, Promare is high octane, high drama, high action. A team of elite firefighters combat pyromaniacal freedom fighters that threaten the public peace with their mutant fire powers.
It’s all clashing neons and pastels, mechanical fire trucks that don’t stop unfurling more and more firehoses until they’re about six storeys high. A feast for the eyes.
Promare – official trailer
The first ever Birmingham Anime Film Festival comes to The Mockingbird Cinema and Midlands Arts from 29 September to 5 October – in partnership with Geeky Brummie and Flatpack Festival, with sponsorship from AllTheAnime.
For more on the Birmingham Anime Film Festival, including full festival programme and links ot online ticket sales, visit www.baff.uk
For more from AllTheAnime visit www.alltheanime.com