Five animated short films created by Japanese artists were recognized at Animafest Zagreb, which wrapped up June 3 in the Croatian capital.
A pioneer of the industry was honored for his contributions to anime.
Together with other events held in Annecy, France, Ottawa and Hiroshima, the World Festival of Animated Film ranks among the world's top four animation film festivals.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Animafest started as a biannual festival. It is currently held annually, with a short film edition in even years.
It also serves as a qualifying round for the U.S. Academy Awards, with the top winner receiving an Oscar nod for Best Animated Short Film.
This year, six short films from Japan were in the running.
Atsushi Wada's "The Great Rabbit" and Shin Hashimoto's "Beluga" won special mentions from the jury in the Grand Competition category.
Masaki Okuda's "A Gum Boy" also won the same accolade in the Student Competition category.
The French-produced "The Great Rabbit" won the Silver Bear award at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. "A Gum Boy" was nominated at the Berlin festival the year before.
Also, Yuta Sukegawa's "The Light" and Jun Nito's "Over the Hill" won special mentions in the Films for Children Competition. Sukegawa's "The Light" is also in the running at the 14th Hiroshima International Animation Festival, which will take place this summer.
Meanwhile, Animafest presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Yoji Kuri, in addition to holding a special showcase of his works.
One of the pioneers of Japanese animation, the anime maestro formed a group called "Animation Sannin no Kai" (animation association of three) with Ryohei Yanagihara and Hiroshi Manabe in 1960.
Kuri not only has received numerous awards at international film festivals, but also has been recognized by the Japanese government for his outstanding contributions to animation.
For more information, visit Animafest at (http://www.animafest.hr/en/home).
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