16th Animation Division Excellence Award
Animated feature film
HOSODA Mamoru [Japan]
Hana, a 19-year-old university student, was predestined to fall in love with a wolf boy. In time she gives birth to two wolf chi ldren, Yuki (Snow) and Ame (Rain), but not long afterward their father suddenly dies. Clutching her still young children to her breast, Hana decides to raise them in a beautiful and remote region, where they can pursue two ways of life — that of a human and that of a wolf. This story, depicting the love between a mother and her children, follows Hana, Yuki, and Ame over a 13-year period.
Reason for Award
This is a simple yet profound, bold and ambitious work. The overarching theme is universal – raising, then letting go of one’s children – but this film’s take on it depicts children who must choose whether to become human or wolf when they grow up, a drama of metamorphosis for which animation is perfectly suited. The work excels in all its filmic aspects: the scenario skillfully compresses a 13-year-long story into under two hours; CG techniques lushly portray snowfall, torrential rain, and trees and grass swaying in the wind; and the animation art gently and painstakingly brings the expressions and actions of the characters to life. The creators deserve kudos for so effectively employing all these elements in the service of a tale about the joys and meaning of life.