In 2010, four friends (three animators and a critic) got together and decided to set up a DVD label. When choosing a name for it, they asked each other “what part of a woman’s body do you like the most?”. One of them answered “the calf”. Thumbs up all round. The label was born.
You might think that setting up an independent DVD label at a time when disc sales were in rapid decline was a bit of a mad move, but three of the four friends just happened to be a group of the most exciting animators working in the artform today. Kei Oyama, Atsushi Wada, and Mirai Mizue have been making waves on the festival scene ever since. Their work is a unique blend of vibrantly colourful, abstract, morphing, humorous, weird, figurative, and occasionally grotesque animation. Here we present a selection of Calf’s most recent output which includes a couple of UK premieres by Oyama and Mizue.
So what about the fourth friend? Well, he’s Nobuaki Doi, and when it comes to independent Japanese animation they don’t come much more knowledgeable or passionate than him. He’s written extensively on the subject and will be giving a talk on notable filmmakers from the 1960s onwards, and how Calf has picked up the baton from them.
Part of Swipeside, an animation programme produced in partnership with a group of students from Birmingham City University.