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Tatsumi finds match with Factory
By Patrick Frater
Mon, 07 February 2011, 09:13 AM (HKT)
Germany's Match Factory is to handle international sales on Tatsumi, Singaporean director Eric Khoo's (邱金海) upcoming venture into anime.
The film which is in advanced post production and is set to be completed by the Spring, is a strong contender for a slot at the Cannes festival in May. Not only is Khoo Singapore's only director to date to have had a film in Cannes competition (My Magic in 2008), Tatsumi may serve as a gentle lesson in the diversity of Japanese animation for the uninitiated.
The film is inspired by A Drifting Life (劇画漂流), the 800-page autobiography of Japanese manga artist Tatsumi Yoshihiro (辰巳ヨシヒロ). It interweaves both biographic elements about the fiercely independent artist himself and anime versions of some of Tatsumi's short stories from the 1970s. These range from a monochrome story in the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, through the sexual frustrations of an aging office worker, to the curious relations of a factory worker and his pet monkey.
Tatsumi himself is revealed as being inspired by Tezuka Osamu (手塚治虫, creator of Astro Boy 鉄腕アトム), forced to cater to his audience's tastes. Later he expands his creative independence and then enters a darker period of brooding and obsessive and frantic creativity.
The film is shot in Japanese and partly narrated by top Japanese theatre actor Bessho Tetsuya (別所哲也), though it is structured as a Singapore-Indonesia co-venture. (Khoo's My Magic was in Tamil.) Production is by Khoo's Zhao Wei Films and production and facilities group Infinite Frameworks.
Animation director is Phil Mitchell, creator of the Re-boot TV animation series and director of 2008 animated feature Sing To The Dawn.
"I had to make a tribute film on Tatsumi because he had such a profound influence on me when I was a young comic artist before I became a film maker," said Khoo. "When I look back at some of my earliest short films, I can see Tatsumi written all over them. On a subconscious level, I was, and still am, just so inspired by his tragic, powerful and yet humane tales."
Match Factory has footage to show at its EFM booth. The company has previously handled several Asian titles including last year's Cannes winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (ลุงบุญมีระลึกชาติ), Kinatay and The Drummer (戰・鼓).