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'Michiko' at the Ottawa International Animation Festival

The film ‘Michiko’, which was made in collaboration between University of Birmingham PhD researcher Kanako Kuramitsu and story artist Vivian Zhou from Sheridan College, Canada, tells the untold story of Michiko, who was born of a Chinese mother and a Japanese father during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) in China.

The film screened at the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2018 as part of the Canadian Student Animation Competition. It was selected among submissions from across Canada to be screened together with 17 other films on September 29th and 30th, inside a theater in the National Gallery of Canada. Over the two day period, the film was screened to approximately 160 people.

The audience that watched the screening were a mix of animation professionals, and people with an interest in animated films. It was the first time that the film was shown to a primarily professional animation audience.

The feedback received was more from a technical point of view, but audience members expressed strong empathetic emotions towards ‘Michiko’. One audience member reflected that the simple art style worked in context of the story, and that the fact that it was based on a real story struck very hard with her. Several audience members later approached me with positive feedback to the story, describing it as “Moving, heartfelt,” and “a perspective on war that is not often seen”.

Although the film did not win any awards at the festival, it was an honor to have it included amongst so many other incredible films, and Vivian is very happy that it was screened to an audience that may not have seen it otherwise.

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