Platform International Animation Festival Honors Katsuhiro Otomo with Lifetime Achievement Award

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A scene from Katsuhiro Otomo’s “Combustible.”

Platform, the internationally acclaimed animation festival, will present renowned Japanese artist Katsuhiro Otomo with a Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 9:30 p.m.

The evening will begin with an exclusive screening of Otomo’s new short film, “Combustible,” followed by a conversation with animation historian Jerry Beck and then the award ceremony.

“It is an incredibly great honor for Platform to welcome Katsuhiro Otomo to the United States after so many years’ absence,” said Festival Director Irene Kotlarz. “We are delighted to present him with our first Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of his unique and original contribution to the art of animation. In recognizing an artist whose origins are deeply rooted in manga, Platform continues its polemical mission to break boundaries into other art forms and embrace a concept of animation that represents the widest possible range of influences.”

The festival is a three-day event that takes place in Los Angeles from Oct. 26 to 28. In collaboration with CalArts and the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), Platform will showcase exciting and innovative new animated films and talent while also celebrating animation’s heritage through special screenings and informative panel discussions.

Internationally recognized as one of the leading creative forces in modern Japanese anime and manga, Otomo began his career writing and drawing manga in the 1970s, then entered Japan’s animation industry as a character designer in the early 1980s. His epic story “Akira” was published as manga from 1982-88 and then adapted into a feature film released in 1988, which Otomo also wrote and directed. “Akira” has become a classic example of science fiction and a game-changing work of anime, inspiring such modern day Hollywood filmmakers as Sam Raimi, Chris Nolan and Andy and Lana Wachowski.

Kazuhiro Otomo

In 1987, Otomo made several short films that were included in the compilation features “Robot Carnival” and “Neo-Tokyo” (Manie-Manie). He wrote the screenplay adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s “Metropolis” (2001), and he has also directed several live-action movies. In 2005, Otomo was awarded the honor of Chevalier, Order of Arts and Letters, by the French Ministry of Culture.

Otomo continues to write and draw comics and to direct his own animated features, including “Memories” (1995), “Steamboy” (2004), and most recently, “Combustible” (2012).

The story of “Combustible” takes place in the city of Edo in the 18th century. Owaka, the daughter of a merchant family, and her childhood friend, Matsukichi. are drawn to each other, but Matsukichi has been disowned by his family, and is working for the city fire brigade. Meanwhile, negotiations begin for the arrangement of Owaka’s marriage.

Unable to let go of her thoughts of Matsukichi, Owaka’s mad emotions stir up a massive inferno that razes Edo. By chance encounter, the two meet again amidst the fires. An epic spectacle, “Combustible” is ignited by the traditional style of Japanese painting as inspiration, and its combination of hand-drawn and 3D CG animation fosters a fresh and original visual expression for the film.

Funded in part with generous support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Platform has additional support from its founding sponsor, Cartoon Network, as well as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Television Animation and ASIFA-Hollywood.

REDCAT is located at 631 W. Second St. (at Hope Street) in downtown Los Angeles, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Parking is available in the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking structure and in adjacent lots.

Tickets for the Otomo evening program are $20 for the public, $16 for members. Tickets for all other Platform programs are $10 for the public, $8 for members. Discounts are available for multi-program purchases. Tickets may be purchased by calling (213) 237-2800, at www.redcat.org, or in person at the REDCAT Box Office on the corner of Second and Hope (30 minutes free parking with validation). Box office hours: 12 to 6 p.m. and two hours prior to curtain.

Platform is part of the ongoing Jack H. Skirball “Film at REDCAT” series of screenings and presentations by independent film and video makers from around the world. For more information, visit www.redcat.org/category/redcat-event-type/film-video.

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