Anime Expo Lite 2021 & Aniplex Online Fest 2021
Anime Expo Lite 2021: The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures - Hayao Miyazaki Preview
by Kalai Chik,
Earlier this year, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures announced it will be opening its doors in Los Angeles in late September. The heavily anticipated opening will feature an exhibition honoring award-winning Japanese director, Hayao Miyazaki. During an Anime Expo Lite panel, Japan Foundation LA and the Academy Museum presented a sneak preview of the exhibition and provided details of what the audiences can expect at the exhibit.
Jessica Niebel, the exhibition's curator, and J. Raúl Guzmán, assistant curator at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, explained that Miyazaki was a perfect choice because his films are representative of global filmmaking. The exhibit is the first show of its kind in North America and, because Studio Ghibli is the sole lender, they are available to provide material and assets to put on display. Although there weren't shots of the inside of the exhibit, both curators showed assets of what inspired the exhibition and how they'll be walking visitors through the lens of Miyazaki.
“We wanted to look at his process and his thinking,” said Niebel. “We thought it would be really nice to create this immersive environment that draws visitors in and lures them away from their everyday life into the magical world of Hayao Miyazaki.”
The exhibit is set to be divided into different sections. Although the Tree Tunnel serves as an entrance to the exhibit, it won't feature any original art. Rather, it's an art installation for visitors to walk through. Within this corridor, guests will hear music from My Neighbor Totoro and will be able to discover Totoro in the tunnel.
The next gallery, “Creating Characters,” attendees will see how some of those characters were developed. Guzmán displayed a concept sketch of Satsuki and Mei by Miyazaki and explained his thought process of shaping the exhibition experience for children. After that gallery comes the “Making Of” gallery, where a whole wall will be dedicated to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. From manga to film, this section will explain all the different types of materials involved in creating an adaptation. Following that, the “Creating Worlds” gallery will focus on Miyazki's fantastical worlds. Although he's known for developing great fictional worlds, they're ones where an individual can dream and be immersed in. Niebel displayed a scene from Castle in the Sky, as it was considered Miyazaki's first Studio Ghibli feature film as Nausicaä was created before Studio Ghibli was formed.
Art from Studio Ghibli beside Miyazaki will be featured as well, including a painted background from The Wind Rises. Niebel shared that they will also be publishing an exhibition catalogue. Possibly the most interesting insight into the exhibition was the “sky view installation.” Inspired by a key scene in Kiki's Delivery Service, the custom installation made for the exhibition by Studio Ghibli will feature an area where visitors can be immersed in the same environment as Kiki.
“When we went [to Studio Ghibli], we found out Miyazaki goes up to the rooftop everyday to look at the clouds,” explained Niebel. “[He] finds inspiration and tranquility in moments of contemplation. We thought we should offer that to our visitors as well.”
In addition to the drawings, paintings, and film clips from the Studio Ghibli movies, the curators explained that it's important for visitors to take a moment for themselves. To that effect, they'll be able to do exactly what Kiki is doing in the movie: lay down in the grass and watch animated clouds pass by.
Finally, the second to last gallery in the exhibition is called “The Magical Forest,” which is inspired by Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro.
“It's one of the most immersive places,” said Guzmán. “We want people to feel like they're in the amazing forests where spirits appear and disappear. We want people to reconnect with nature and hopefully think about coexisting with the planet we share.”
“This is the ending note we wanted to share,” explained Niebel. “We want to give people a sense of hope and beauty in nature and in the future. We want to encourage them to reconnect with themselves and with nature.”
The Hayao Miyazaki exhibition at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures plans to open on September 30, 2021 and run until June 5th, 2022.
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