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Alongside the feature strands, SXSW runs several shorts programmes throughout the festival, which often provide an early chance to see the work of up and coming directors. Sol Friedman’s Kabuki inspired short, Junko’s Shamisen has to be one of the most ambitious, and visually stunning pieces I’ve ever seen. He joins us to discuss the painstaking blending of green screen footage with hand drawn, computer composited animation and a ‘dead’ fox.

Junko’s Shamisen (2009)

Set in the rural backwoods of feudal Japan, a young peasant girl named Junko, returns home to discover her blind grandfather brutally murdered. Filled with despair, Junko, accompanied by a mystical fox spirit, abandons her old life and sets off for the village in search of better fortune. While begging, young Junko inadvertently encounters the evil samurai lord responsible for killing her grandfather and with the influence of the fox spirit, avenges her grandfather through an act of gruesome poetic justice.

I’m quite proud of the Canada Council for the Arts, to recognise that a project needs to have the flex room to really explore things and certain things you just can’t lock down until you actually get down to business.

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