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Hayao Miyazaki's 'Final' Film Begins 3-Year Production in October

posted on 2017-05-19 06:00 EDT
Studio Ghibli hires animators for Spirited Away director's last feature

Studio Ghibli posted a job recruitment notice for animators on director Hayao Miyazaki's "final" film on Friday. The studio is hiring in-between animators and background artists on a three-year contract starting on October 1. The notice emphasized that the film is "director Hayao Miyazaki's final feature animation film" due to his age (76), and noted that the three-year employment contract is subject to change or extension.

Although the studio is not restricting job applicants by country of origin, it noted that Japanese language abilities are necessary for the production. No relevant experience is necessary, although inexperienced employees are expected to learn the required skills during a six-month training period. The jobs will be at the Koganei building in Tokyo that Ghibli has held for years. The salary is 200,000 yen (about US$1,800) a month, plus coverage of travel and social insurance expenses.

In the Owaranai Hito Miyazaki Hayao (Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki) special that aired in November, Miyazaki reported that he wants to return to making an anime feature film after his upcoming "Kemushi no Boro" short for the Ghibli Museum. According to the special, Miyazaki was not satisfied with doing just the CG short, and he presented a project proposal for a feature-length film last August.

Despite not officially receiving a green-light for the feature film at the time, Miyazaki decided to start animation work on the project anyway. Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki reported in April that Miyazaki has been drawing the storyboards for the project since last July. However, Suzuki said at the time that Miyazaki has only drawn 20 minutes of storyboards so far.

The November television special showed the feature film's proposed schedule, in which Miyazaki suggested that the film could be done by 2019 — before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. However, Suzuki stated in April that this proposed schedule is simply impossible.

Suzuki demurred from revealing the feature's title, saying, "I can't tell you." When asked if Miyazaki can finish the film while the director is still alive, Suzuki replied, "Hmm, I don't know." Suzuki had commented in the television special that Miyazaki would draw storyboards until he dies, and another staffer dryly noted that this would make the movie a huge hit.

Miyazaki rose to prominence in the 1970s on such television anime series as Lupin III, Future Boy Conan, and Sherlock Hound. He directed his first feature film, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, in 1979. He then adapted the beginning of his Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind manga into an anime film in 1984, before he and fellow director Isao Takahata founded Studio Ghibli.

With Ghibli, Miyazaki helmed the feature films Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Ponyo, and most recently, 2013's The Wind Rises. He also co-produced Takahata's directorial efforts and directed smaller projects such as the "experimental film" On Your Mark and Ghibli Museum Shorts such as Mei and the Kitten Bus and Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess.

Spirited Away, which opened in 2001, remains the highest-earning film ever at the Japanese box office. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2003.

Suzuki reported in April that people can watch Miyazaki's "Kemushi no Boro" CG short in July. The Ghibli Museum does not list the short in its July schedule, but the new job recruitment notice states that Ghibli has "finally" completed the short.

[Via Motoko Rich]


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