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Interview – Jon Frickey – “Cat Days” – A Short Film


Posted April 8, 2018 by

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Interview – Jon Frickey

After receiving its world premiere at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival, Jon Frickey’s Cat Days has been officially selected for Aspen Shortsfest and a further six high profile film festivals.  With so much interest in this fun animation it is not surprising that the film has been ‘highly recommended’ by the Federal German Movie Rating Board.

Jiro, a little boy, feels sick.  His father takes him to see the doctor. She diagnoses a harmless condition, but it shakes the boy’s identity.

Cat Days isn’t German-American director Jon Frickey’s first film, as he has been a filmmaker and an illustrator since 2006.  Previously, he was an art director in advertising before following his true passion of filmmaking.  His previous films include Don’t Fear the Atom, Financial Crisis, Mr. Iiuu & the Nasty Bird and Michelle’s Sacrifice. A trip to Japan inspired Frickey to create Cat Days.

The voiceovers of the characters were created by Japanese actors based in Germany and some students from the Japanese School of Hamburg. 8-year-old Kanon Yamato plays Jiro and Yusuke Yamasaki Jiro’s father.

Cat Days has been selected in competition for Berlin International Film Festival, New York Children’s International Film Festival, Dresden International Film Festival, Stuttgart International Film Festival, Anifilm Trebon, Goldener Spatz Film Festival, International Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg, Athens Animfest and now Aspen Shortsfest.

Cat Days screens at Aspen Shortfest on Saturday April 7th at 2:30pm.

Interview - Jon Frickey    



To begin with, tell us about your latest film ‘Cat Days’… Where did the idea come from?

It all started out as a not so funny joke. My girlfriend told me she felt ill. I said it may be cat flu. And this became the starting point of the narration in Cat Days. As we were living in Kyoto at the time, the film  took place in Japan in my head. When I started animating, I decided to leave it there.

How did you get involved with the animation?

I studied design and illustration in Hamburg. I quickly realized that animating my illustrations was even more fun, and in fact, magical. I think it’s in the word “animation”, but we don’t notice it anymore. Then I worked in advertising. Then I remembered that I really like animation, and here we are.

Tell us about the cast, who are the leading performers? 

The voice recordings were the nicest part of the production. Together with my friend Takashi Horiguchi, an artist from Kyoto, I got to cast the children’s voices at the Japanese School of Hamburg, Germany.

Kanon Yamamoto is now Jiro, and Iroha Sato voices the girl. In real life, they are also friends and quite similar to the characters in the film. Another girl, Yuna Fujiwara, was so good in the audition, that I made up the narrator role for her.

The father and the animal shelter worker are Japanese actors, Yusuke Yamasaki and Fumio Okra, while the doctor is voiced by a Shinobu Sawada, who actually works in the administration of the Japanese School. She looks like the doctor, by the way, but without the crazy.

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

I’m afraid I am influenced by everything, but I can’t really put my finger on it.

What advice would you give any up-and-coming filmmakers, trying to crack the industry?

I can only speak for animation. And in animation, you can essentially tell any story you want to tell if you really want to tell it. You don’t even need an expensive application or a great computer. Today, I would suggest, to make lots of super short films and share them online. It’s more satisfying than working on a short film for three years and then discovering that there was something wrong with the core idea in the first place.

When and where can we expect to see “Cat Days”?

It will be screening at a number of festivals within the next year. In April, it will be at the Aspen Shortsfest, the Filmfest Dresden, Germany, the BISFF in Busan, South Korea, the ITFS in Stuttgart, Germany, and Cartoons on the Bay (Pulcinella Awards) in Turin, Italy. That’s all I know for now. Oh yes, in a year or two, it’ll be online.

What is the next step for you? Do you have any other films or projects in production? 

Nothing that’s ready to be said out loud. I don’t want to mix anything.


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