Glenna Burmer won first place (Golden Award) as Best Music Composer from the Tokyo Film Awards for the original music she composed for the short animated film, Nana korobi, Ya oki. The film also won a third place (Bronze Award) for Best Animation.
Nana korobi, Ya oki, or Seven Falls, tells the inspirational story of a young girl who undergoes seven challenges to save a dear friend from the cold. Created by music producer and filmmaker Glenna Burmer, the film was produced and animated by a team from Deep Sky, led by art director Gaby Breiter. The film’s title is from a Japanese proverb: “Seven times you may fall, but get up the eighth.”
Most films are animated first and then musically scored, but Nana korobi is primarily a musical story. Burmer envisioned the movie as she was writing the score; the animation was created about a year later.
Burmer explained the process further: “Nana korobi was composed primarily as a woodwind piece with orchestral accompaniment,” she said. “It’s divided into sections, each telling a story of the seven challenges faced by the protagonist. For example, flute arpeggios depict snow falling; the character of the bear is represented by the low sonority of a bassoon. Various combinations of instruments illustrate other struggles faced by the protagonist – an ice storm, wolves, crows and so forth.
“As the obstacles she encounters increase in intensity, the composition becomes more dissonant. Not to give away too much of the plot, but at the end of the piece, when the girl rescues herself and her friend, the sun comes out and the music reflects a more pastoral scene.”
Tokyo Film Awards is a unique film competition organized by professionals working in the film and television industries. The competition focuses on short films, which festival organizers see as the best way to promote new and upcoming talent. It’s considered one of the top short-film competitions in the world.
Since it was completed in spring 2021, Burmer’s animated film has won more than 50 festival awards. Among top honors were awards won at several prominent Pacific Northwest festivals, such as the Seattle Film Festival and the Oregon Short Film Festival, as well as recognition from festivals worldwide from India to Istanbul, Spain to Singapore.