In June Kunio Kato was awarded The Annecy Cristal, the festival's top prize for his "Tsumiki no Ie". Translated as "The House of Toy Building Blocks", it tells the story of an old widower who lives in a house of blocks, defending his home from the sea and reflecting on memories of his life and family. Sadly it is not on-line. However Kunio is one of those animators I have been meanng to write on for some time. I'm quite at a loss as to which one of his works to select though The Apple Incident is the first of his works I saw and is such a distinctive, enigmatic piece of work I have taken the liberty of posting a series of images. It brightens up the site and it reveals something of his distinctive qualities. An apple outgrows its domestic situation, rolls into the city, falls like some huge asteroid and then in company with others of its ilk, rains down from the skies to astounded crowds. Men arrive to chop the fruits up, eat the chunks; from workers' heads little apples grow. As may be gathered, it is very much in surreal form, and any suggestion of meaning is most tentative. Only a fool would attempt a rational explanation. So... I guess the apple represents an idea, transforming its world, amazing and bewildering the public who gradually assimilate it whereupon it becomes part of them. (It certainly worked for Isaac Newton!) The concept doesn't sound quite so good as the visual impact of giant apples. What is undoubted is the power of the images. As a boy I used to read science fiction books or short story collections by Brian Aldiss, James Blish or Robert Heinlein with glossy covers revealing impossible worlds like The Apple Incident. Something of that sense of wonder is communicated in this and other of Kunio's works. You can visit his website, or see a higher resolution version of the animation on Viddler - The Apple Incident. Kunio studied graphic design at Tokyo's Tama University of Arts, graduating in 2001. He is one of the impossibly talented people at Robot. A screenshot from his Annecy award winning piece is below.