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Toronto International Film Festival 2021
Short Cuts Programme 03

Yoriko Mizushiri
Anxious Body

Living things, artificial things, geometry shapes, and lines. When these different things encounter, a new direction is born.

Hi Yoriko thank you for talking to The New Current, how are you held up during these very strange times?

Lucky for me, my life hasn't changed much but living with my dog is the biggest help for me. My dog makes me happy just by being with her.

Has this time provided you with any new creative inspiration or opportunities?

I am always inspired by the everyday, casual movements, and sensations. I don't try to create something directly from this crisis.

What does it mean for you to be Premiering Anxious Body in the Short Cuts Section at TIFF?

This is a very big step for me. I'm especially happy that TIFF is not specializing in animation and treats live-action and animation in the same category.

You have had great festival success with your previous award-winning films, have the awards and recognition that they bring added any additional pressure on you?

The pressure to surpass my previous works is much greater than the pressure to surpass my previous awards. I believe that if I can overcome this pressure, recognition at film festivals will naturally follow.

Can you tell me a little bit about how Anxious Body came about, what was the inspiration behind your screenplay?

I thought that the body is an "anxious object" that always wants to feel something different and is never stable. I wanted to express in this animation film the sensation of the body that changes little by little through repeated sensing.

It was also important for me not to give any special meaning to it. I didn't want to put meaning into the movements of the animation. The meaning would be in something that the viewer could feel in their body. My goal was to create an animation work that can be enjoyed through the senses of the body so that the viewer can be immersed in the tactile animation.

"The main thing about my animation work is that I want to create a feeling."

What were the biggest challenges you faced bringing Anxious Body to the screen?  

The biggest challenge for me was to make sure that it would not be the same as my previous works. I've been making tactile animations in the past, focusing on the softness and how it moves in a pleasant chain reaction. This time, I wanted to add something like "distortion" to it and go in a direction that was a little different from my previous works.

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?

I didn't even think I would be making films until my graduation project at university, so I didn't feel anything about filmmaking until then. I had been familiar with Disney and Ghibli animation since I was a child, so I had some enthusiasm for animation.

In my case, I became passionate about filmmaking the moment I actually felt the joy of making my own animation for the first time.

How much has your style and approach to your films changed since your debut short?

I don't think my style or approach to my work has changed much. The main thing about my animation work is that I want to create a feeling. In order to make it work, it is essential to think about the composition. I believe that finding new ways to structure the work will raise the level of the work.

Is there any advice you would offer someone thinking about getting filmmaking?

The amount of work is all. It directly connects with the quality and the interest.

And finally, what do you hope audiences will take away from Anxious Body?

It's a tactile animation work, so I'm happy if you can feel something in your body being evoked, like "I understand this movement," or "I've felt this before”.

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