Starting March 15, 2024! The 2nd  Niigata International Animation Film Festival

Feature Films Official Selection

12 Outstanding Works Selected / 2.5x more entries than last year

The 2nd  Niigata International Animation Festival will commence on March 15th, 2024. Our inaugural festival in 2023 received an enthusiastic response from the international animation community. We are an animation festival dedicated to feature length works and aiming to be the largest animation festival of its kind in Asia. Mamoru OSHII served as chairperson of the competition jury and Katsuhiro OTOMO designed the poster. The festival was attended by many luminaries of the anime community. Niigata has become an important destination for lovers of animation. Expectations are high for this year’s event!

We are delighted to announce the 2024 NIAFF official feature film competition selection!   We had 29 entries from 30 countries and regions – 2.5 times more than our inaugural year. After a rigorous screening process, the selection jury, Yoshihiko YATABE (former Tokyo International Film Festival programming director), Ryota FUJITSU (anime critic), Akiko SUGAWA (Yokohama National University professor / Japan Society for Animation Studies president) & Homami YANO (animation director), selected 12 nominees for this year’s prize. The official jury will be Nora TWOMEY (Cartoon Saloon), Michael FUKUSHIMA (OCADU, retired NFB), & Yuichiro SAITO (Studio Chizu). See below for a comment on the selection by our programming director Naoshi SUDO.

Bizarre Fish from the Abyssal Zone

original title: Bizarros Peixes das Fossas Abissais

director: Marcelo MARÃO (Brazil)

A woman with weird superpowers, a turtle with obsessive-compulsive disorder and a cloud with rain incontinence on an unusual journey to the depths of the ocean.

Four Souls of Coyote

original title: Kojot négy lelke

director: Áron GAUDER (Hungary)

An epic adventure based on a Native American creation myth, the film highlights the  increasingly pressing need to live in harmony with the environment — before it is too late!

Kensuke’s Kingdom

original title: Kensuke’s Kingdom

directors: Neil BOYLE, Kirk HENDRY (UK)

A sailing trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare when Michael and his dog are swept overboard. During their struggle to survive on a remote island they are  confronted by a mysterious Japanese man living secretly there since WWII …


Original Title: 『クラユカバ』 KURAYUKABA

director: Shigeyoshi TSUKAHARA (Japan)

Detective Sotaro confronts the mysterious mass disappearance that is

confusing the world! The detective must venture into the Dark (Kuragai)

himself, and confront its dubious subterranean denizens, including the

malicious Laughing Masks gang and the renegade police squad piloting the fearsome Demon 463 armoured train!

Mantra Warrior: The Legend of the Eight Moons

original title: นักรบมนตรา : ต。านานแปดดวงจันทร์

director: Veerapatra JINANAVIN (Thailand)

Every 500 years, a woman with the divine power is born. She holds the power to create or destroy all things. King Todsakan seeks this arcane power, risking the fate of the

universe. As the 8 moons of Vanara align, legendary warriors will emerge to guard this power from falling into the wrong hands.

Mars Express

original title: Mars Express

director: Jérémie PÉRIN (France)

In the near future, private detective Aline Ruby and her android partner are hired by a wealthy businessman to track down a notorious hacker. On Mars, they descend deep into the underbelly of the planet’s capital city where they uncover a darker story of

brain farms, corruption, and a missing girl who holds a secret about the robots that threaten to change the face of the universe.

On the Bridge

original title: Sur le Pont

directors: Sam & Fred GUILLAUME (Switzerland / France)

Men and women board a mysterious train that takes them to a suspension bridge  between heaven and earth. Some try to understand why they are here; others talk about their hopes and fears… Everyone is on their way to a mysterious goal – the  presumed end of the bridge – but does it really exist?

Sultana’s Dream

original title: Sultana’s Dream

director: Isabel HERGUERA (Spain)

Inés a Spanish artist lives in India and stumbles upon Sultana’s Dream , a science fiction story written by Rokeya Hossain in 1905. It describes Ladyland, a utopia in which women rule the country while men live in seclusion and are responsible for  household chores. Fascinated by the story Inés embarks on a journey across the  country to search for the one place where women can live in peace.

The Inventor

original title: The Inventor

directors: Jim CAPOBIANCO, Pierre-Luc GRANJON (USA)

The insatiably curious and headstrong inventor Leonardo da Vinci leaves Italy to join the French court, where he can experiment freely, inventing flying contraptions,

incredible machines, and studying the human body. There, joined in his adventure by the audacious princess Marguerite, Leonardo will uncover the answer to the ultimate

question: “What is the meaning of it all?” Embark on an exhilarating journey with   perhaps the greatest genius of all time in this humorous story for the whole family inspired by the life and times of Leonardo da Vinci.

The Other Shape

original title: La otra forma

director: Diego Felipe GUZMÁN (Columbia)

In a dystopian future where humanity lives on the surface of the moon in a community   where one has to have the appearance and thinking of a square. A man obsessed with fitting in will face the dilemma of becoming a square or unleashing the true form that

resides within him.

When Adam Changes

original title: Adam change lentement

director: Joël Vaudreuil(Canada)

Adam is an impressionable adolescent growing up in small town Quebec who has the  strange peculiarity that each time somebody makes a critique about his body, whether fair or unfair, his body actually changes to match the critique.

A word from Mr. Naoshi SUDO, NIAFF Program Director:

The competition selection for the 2nd Niigata International Animation Film Festival has been decided. There were 49 entries, about 2.5 times more than last year. Applications were received from 30 countries and regions around the world including Asia, the Americas,

Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The entries were more diverse than last year, not only in terms of culture, but also in terms of methods of production and expression.

Some works that did not fit into the conventional concept of animation which led to selection committee engaging in lively debates about the question of “what is animation?” The competition specializes in feature length films, and the selection committee were committed to  the festival’s goals of “excellence in images”, “excellence in storytelling”, and “achieving diversity” .

Although we were able to expand the competition selection to 12 from last year’s 10, there were many works that the selection

committee were heartbroken that they could not include. These films have been carefully selected and NIAFF is very proud to present

them. We are confident that if you come to Niigata you will be able to see a snapshot of the current state of animation production around the world.

About the Festival City of Niigata

In the 19th century, Niigata was a crucial hub for international commerce, a window to the world for Japan surpassing Edo as a shipping port. Niigata has also produced many renowned manga and anime creators. Since 2012, Niigata has implemented a city development   concept promoting the city as an important hub for manga and anime. The annual Niigata Anime & Manga Festival (GataFes) brings   an estimated 50,000 visitors into the city and the nationwide Niigata Manga Award has been held since 1996. The Niigata City Manga

House has a manga library of over 10,000 books, a “Tokiwaso” subsidized residence for aspiring manga artists, and a manga magazine editorial department. Niigata prides itself on being one of the most passionate anime and manga cities in the world and strives to

become the 21st century animation capital of the world! We hope that NIAFF will act as a magnet to bring animation fans from around the world to enjoy the unique mix of traditional and modern culture that Niigata has to offer.


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