Beauty is an intangible thing; can not be fixed on the surface, and the wear and tear of old age on the body cannot defeat it.

-- Robert Henri

The Dam Keeper at Berlinale!

Posted on Saturday 25 January 2014

The world premiere of our indy short film,The Dam Keeper will be at Berlin International Film Festival! Before we started submitting for festivals, Robert Kondo and I said to each other, “it’d be great to open our film in Berlin.”
We cannot believe our wish came true!

We are coming to Berlin next month to attend the festival. Not only will we share our film with audience for the first time, but we would be watching lots of films from all over the world. It’d be a lot of fun with a tremendous learning opportunity of the international film industry.

ロバート・コンドウと共に作ったダムキーパーのワールドプレミアがベルリン国際映画祭で幕明けする事が決まりました。 選り好みする身分ではないと分かっていながら、ベルリンが初舞台となったらいいなぁとロバートと夢みていただけに、なんとも嬉しいニュースです。

2月の6日から16日まで開催される映画祭の招待を受け、ロバート、そしてプロデューサーの二人と皆で参加してきます。 あまり寒くないことを期待して、、、、



dice @ 3:40 pm
Filed under: Announcements
R.I.P. Frédéric Back

Posted on Thursday 26 December 2013

man_who_planted copy


We lost one of the most respected and beloved artists in the world of animation.

My single source of inspiration, Frédéric Back passed away in the morning of Christmas eve.
That morning, I woke up with an early phone call to hear the devastating news.  In the past several months, his declining health has been a heavy concern over the hearts of animation community.
For many years since I was first introduced to one of his master pieces The Man Who Planted Trees, I had been a huge fan of his work.  It was only back in 2010 when I first met him in person through Sketchtravel project, thanks to our mutual friend, animation historian Charles Solomon.
We all know of his incredible craft as an animator and painter, his ability to bring poetry to his storytelling.  But when I met him in person, it was him as one beautiful human being  who touched me beyond his craft.
I have never met anyone as giving and loving as Frédéric Back.   He truly believed in the well-being of nature and all living things.   He believed in the role of artists beyond entertainment or business.  
“Do not hesitate to give your talent if you have the ability to bring light to the world of darkness” 
Frédéric told me with such conviction.   I still remember I was completely overwhelmed by the bright sparkle in his eye..
A few years after my first visit, I took my 5 month old son to Montreal.  It was my son’s first travel experience.  I wanted my son to meet Frédéric more than anyone else in the world so he could remember who inspired his father.   
That is also when I decided to make “something.”  Something beyond my comfortably paid job which eventually lead to the project The Dam Keeper with Robert Kondo.  It was my dream to show the film to Frédéric to respond to his generosity.
We finished The Dam Keeper too little too late.  By the time I sent the DVD to Frédéric, he was already fading away.   That is my big regret. 
If every artist shared even a small part of Frédéric’s soul, I am certain the world would be in a much better place.
We may not be able to become Frédéric Back.
But it is not too late that we follow his path as artists.
Rest in Peace, Frédéric.
僕にとって心の師であるアニメーション界の巨匠フレデリック・バックさんが24日の朝亡くなられました。スケッチトラベルというプロジェクトを通じて知り合ってから本当に良くしていただきました。 多くの手紙のやり取りをしたり、悩んでいる時に励ましの言葉をいただいたり、、たった数年でしたが、大事な事を沢山教えていただきました。
バックさんはアニメーターとしても歴史上に残る巨匠でしたが、本当に彼がすごいのは彼の人間としての大きさでした。 僕はあれほどに寛大で,素直で、純粋に世界の全ての生き物を愛する勇気を持っている人と出会った事がありません。
dice @ 10:18 am
Filed under: Announcements
The Dam Keeper DONE

Posted on Sunday 22 December 2013

Finally, this indy side project is complete. We were done with the whole animation more than a few months ago but there is so much work involved after the picture is done. Every step made this film better and every step was a great learning experience. Now, it is in the can!

This whole journey was all about “learning from doing what we don’t know how to do.” Both Robert Kondo and I have been art directors in animated films and we would have never learned this much if we hadn’t broken out of our comfort zone.

I know many of you our friends have been looking forward to watching this film. This is the tricky thing about indy shorts. We are only showing in festivals for now as many festivals will disqualify us once this is screened in public before. So there will be a bit of a waiting game though we are anxious to share this with as many people as we like

Keep your eye on The Dam Keeper page. As soon as we get lucky enough to show our film at festivals, we will let you know. While we have a challenge of our film being 18 min.(too long for most festivals), hopefully it will travel to your city eventually!

AND we have a lot of fun stuff coming up. We will share a series of the movie trailers, making of footage, interviews, fundraising events and more secret DK projects in 2014!!

For now, we are laying our pencils(tablet?) down.

The Dam Keeper “movie” is complete.




自分ができない事をすると言う事は、沢山の壁に当たり前のようにぶつかるということでした。この道でやってきたいつのまにか芽生えていたプライドも捨てなければならなかったし、恥ずかしい思いもいっぱいしました。 そして今までないほどに映画作りというものの、基本を勉強しなければなりませんでした。





dice @ 12:29 am
Filed under: Announcements
Indy Short Film the Dam Keeper

Posted on Monday 5 August 2013

I can’t believe how long I left my blog without any update.
But seems like most people follow my work through my Facebook page which I update a lot more often these days.

I do miss getting my update on my blog because it is a lot more controlled than generic/busy looking Facebook.. It’s just that more people visit my facebook page than my blog these days.

Anyhow, as I mentioned a little earlier this year, I took 3 months off from my full time duty at Pixar and worked on this indy short film with my buddy Robert Kondo. In this 3 months, we did most of the production work which was ambitious but we tried our best to focus on getting it done as professionally as possible without turning this project into one of those never ending projects.

Now we have about a month left. It is still a very aggressive schedule but we want to get it done!

Check our our facebook page</strong> and “like” it if you want to hear our weekly update on this production!

this is our early looks test. It’s a traditional animation and we paint every frame which is why it takes long to finish!!

dice @ 6:53 pm
Filed under: Announcements
It’s been 2 years….

Posted on Thursday 7 March 2013

As the second anniversary of Tsunami tragedy approaches, I’m doing once again Artists Help Japan auction to bring some awareness of the tragedy.
In the past two years, Artists Help Japan raised over $250,000 and donated to our trusted partners Mercy Corps and Give2Asia.
This time, it is very small with only my  personal possessions.  This won’t raise too much but hopefully it will raise a bit of awareness and show that we have not forgotten.
After the overwhelming international support in the first year, the help and support in the affected areas is losing its steam.
Many of the affected areas are in danger of turning into ghost towns with the financial support running out soon.
The government and corporations are now pushing through re-opening many of the nuclear power plants as the world memory of the horror experience with its nuclear disaster is slowly fading away.
Most sadly, the recent survey shows that Japanese people have less room to even think about the affected areas only after a few years from the disaster.  Not to mention some of us outside of Japan may be thinking even less.
All the proceeds will be donated to Mercy Corps.  They have done some really good job in partnership with a few of the best NPOs in Japan.
But again, more than the money, your support is going to help us show people in Japan that we have not forgotten.
If you have friends who may be interested, please spread the word out.
dice @ 12:59 pm
Filed under: Announcements