01 Giving It All I've Got for After School!

Kei Oyama

Hello everyone, I'm Kei Oyama.

I usually call myself a "film artist," but for quite a while I've been making animated films only, and since I feel I'll enjoy this method for some time to come, I'm thinking of changing my title to "animation artist."

In this series, I'd like to introduce the little-known world of "short animated film" through my works and production methods. The first installment will talk about the title of this series, "A is for Animation," and about the film I'm currently making.

"A is for Animation"--actually, I stole the idea for this title.
Or should I say, I was inspired by. . . or perhaps it's a homage?

There's a British short animated film called A is for Autism which was made in 1992. This 11-minute animation work is based on pictures drawn by children with autism, and the children themselves are the narrators. The quality of reproducing the pictures on film is wonderful because it's not just filming graphics, but experimenting with various things such as combining drawings with live action or moving the camera around wildly. The film opens with the pictures morphing into one another, and watching this makes you feel really good no matter how many times you watch it. You can easily find the film on the Internet by its title if you're interested.

Now, you may be wondering why I'm so keenly aware of A is for Autism, to the point of paying homage to it in this series' title. Well, this has to do with the new film I'm making.

At present, I'm working on a film titled Hokago (After School). A three-minute pilot version was made in 2008, and work on the main film began in 2011. It was supposed to be completed in 2012, but time flew by and before I knew it, it was already 2014. Similar to A is for Autism, it's made up of drawings in various styles, using a range of materials.


The film takes place at a junior high school after school. A first-year student on the baseball team is bored and yawns as picking up balls at practice; one of the bad kids spits from the school rooftop towards the track team running below; and a class clown sees a girl he likes in the school library but doesn't have the guts to tell her his feelings. Everyone is spending their after-school hours differently, with the whims of their budding self-consciousness.


As you can see in the trailer, the idea is that each cut is based on a self-portrait drawn by the characters appearing in the film. So every time the focal point of the scene shifts from one person to another, the style of the whole picture changes as well.

For example, person B as seen by person A is of course different from how person B sees himself, and person A might be just part of the background in person B's world. Through this work I'm not seeking a uniform view of the world, but rather diversity. I try to express the inner depths of every character, while at the same time aiming to portray school as a place where all these students gather, and to describe the period of adolescence itself.

When I first began making Hokago I didn't know about A is for Autism. After watching that film for the first time, I was once overwhelmed, thinking that if my film wasn't better in at least one respect compared to this work made 20 years ago, there would be no point in making it...

In the last installment of this series, I hope to be able to tell you about the completed film Hokago, along with scenes from its making and awards it will hopefully win. So I'm going to give it all I've got! Yeah!

keioyama00.jpgKei Oyama
Animation artist. Born in Tokyo in 1978.
In 2005, Shinsatsushitsu(Consultation Room), his graduation project at Tokyo Zokei University, won the Gold Prize for the Campus Genius Award, as well as Best Picture for BACA-JA. Oyama has been formally invited to international film festivals such as the Directors' Fortnight of the Cannes International Film Festival. In 2008 he made HAND SOAP for Aichi Arts Center which won him many awards including the Grand Prix for the Holland Animation Film Festival and the Special Prize for the International Animation Festival Hiroshima. In the live motion movies Watashi wa neko sutoka (I'm a cat stalker, 2008) and Gegege no nyobo (Gegege's wife, 2010) Oyama was in charge of making the animation clips. He is now a member of CALF, which he founded with his partners, making Hokago (After School) while producing, distributing, and selling animation works.

Official website: http://www.keioyama.com/
CALF: http://calf.jp/
CALF STUDIO: http://calf.jp/studio/

Page top▲