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Ghibli Art Director Aims to Make Anime Film to Support Quake Area

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Staff on film about lone pine tree to survive tsunami is raising funds via crowd-funding website WESYM

Nizo Yamamoto, who has worked as an art director on such films as Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, and Grave of the Fireflies, is aiming to make an anime film titled Kibō no Ki (The Tree of Hope) to support the areas hit by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The film is based on the Takata-Matsubara pine tree grove in Iwate prefecture. The grove had lined a two-kilometer (1.24-mile) stretch of coastline in the prefecture and consisted of around 70,000 trees. After the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, one pine tree remained standing. The tree became a national symbol of hope for Japan's recovery after the disaster. Although the tree itself later died due to the salty soil that remained after the sea water receded, the tree was molded into a monument that now stands at the site of the original tree.

The film will be specifically based on Man Arai's photo book of the same name. Arai, who is well known for writing the lyrics to Masafumi Akikawa's song "Sen no Kaze ni Natte," is working on the project as the scriptwriter, and he will also be in charge of the film's music. The film's website has concept art images by Yamamoto featuring a woman named Layla, who is the spirit of the lone pine tree, and a young man named Upashi.

Yamamoto is raising funds for the film via the crowd-funding website WESYM. Currently the project has raised 50,450 "SEEDs" of the goal of 47,150,000 SEEDs (each SEED costs 1 yen or about US$0.01). WESYM is hosting the crowd-funding campaign for another 124 days. The staff hopes to release the film in theaters in 2014.

Image © The Tree of Hope Production Committee

Source: Cinema Today

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