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Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless
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Veteran Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki discussed the famed animation house’s future in a documentary broadcast by the TBS network on its “Jonetsu Tairiku” program on Sunday evening.
Suzuki talked about the need for “big changes in all aspects of our operations.” One possibility he mentioned was a hiatus in the production department and taking what he described as a “short break” to assess the studio’s future.
He added that it “would be possible for us to keep making films indefinitely.”
Such short breaks are common in the Japanese animation business, in which companies hire animators on a per-project basis and dissolve the production teams, save for a few key staff, when the project is completed.
Studio Ghilbi was unusual in retaining a large number of full-time staff by industry standards, with annual personnel expenses totaling nearly $20 million by one estimate.
But with the retirement of studio maestro and co-founder Hayao Miyazaki (pictured) in September of last year, Studio Ghilbi lost his fabled box office clout. Its latest feature, Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s “When Marnie Was There,” is expected to finish with about $36 million, which makes it a solid hit, but Miyazaki’s films would routinely top the $100 million mark. His last feature prior to retiring, “The Wind Rises,” finished with nearly $120 million. So as Suzuki noted, the studio has to economize; now that it has become a more normal studio by local standards.
A post to an English-language blog subsequently picked up by other media, wrongly reported Suzuki as announcing Studio Ghibli’s closure and dissolution. The death of Japan’s most famous animation house, to paraphrase Mark Twain, has been greatly exaggerated.
Japan’s Studio Ghibli Envisages Short Break, not Imminent Closure (via filmantidote)
Studio Ghibli | 1985 - 2014
After recent rumors of Studio Ghibli closing their animation department and the low box office numbers for When Marnie Was There, it was time to make an appreciation post for a company that has created true movie magic again and again. So, thank you, Studio Ghibli. Hopefully it isn’t good-bye just yet.Studio Ghibli is no longer producing animated films. So here’s to you, Ghibli, and everything you’ve given us.
Ashik Kerib (Sergei Parajanov - 1988)
The Crucified Lovers (1954, Kenji Mizoguchi)
"The reason I like this film is that even I, the filmmaker, get confused as to which parts were fiction and which documentary. It’s as if the film doesn’t belong to me, as if it had made itself; the main character was so strong, it was I who was being told what should be done. And when I saw the film, I realised it was not an artificial creation, but different; it increased my responsibility as a filmmaker. Cinema is no longer the panoramic experience it once was, with big budgets; cinema is -or ought to be- about analysing individual human experience, and how you can find yourself within that subjectivity. After making this film, I realised how I could identify with each of the characters, and how much of myself was in them."
— Abbas Kiarostami, Close-Up (Nema-ye Nazdik 1990)
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