Luca is probably the closest Pixar will get to making a Studio Ghibli film. That’s probably not a huge swing to make — the creatives at Pixar have long been fans of the works of Hayao Miyazaki and the anime studio that he co-founded, frequently citing films like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away as influences for their own award-winning films. But there’s a certain feeling with Ghibli films that is hard to express. A nostalgia, a serenity of spirit, a bittersweet simplicity that has been consistent with most of the films from the renowned Japanese animation studio. And Luca gets pretty close to achieving that (at least in the 30 minutes of footage that this reporter watched for an early press presentation dedicated to the Pixar film).

And that was intentional, according to Luca animation supervisor Mike Venturini. The director of LucaEnrico Casarosa, grew up watching some of the earliest TV works of Miyazaki and his frequent collaborator Isao Takahata, like Future Boy Conan and 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, and that love for all things Miyazaki bled into Luca.

“That really comes from Enrico’s love for those films and how it’s influenced him as a filmmaker,” Venturini told /Film in an interview over Zoom. “We use the word lyrical to describe his storytelling. It’s very rhythmic and get can get quiet at times.”

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nausicaa art print

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind turned 35 last year, but it’s never too late to celebrate a stone-cold classic. Hayao Miyazaki‘s fantasy epic, which would become the inaugural film for the animation titan Studio Ghibli, has a haunting new art print courtesy of artist Karl Fitzgerald, whose work is debuting on Bottleneck Gallery today.

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Pixar Up House with Real Physics

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, watch as visual effects artists simulate the flying house from Up using real physics to determine just how many balloons would be needed to make it happen. Plus, check out 30 minutes of relaxing visuals from Studio Ghibli movies to start your day off on a peaceful note. And finally, find out how realistic karate scenes are in movies like The Karate Kid, Bloodsport, and even The Office. Read More »

earwig and the witch review

There’s been a lot of trepidation heading into Studio Ghibli’s Earwig and the Witch. It is the studio’s first foray into CG animation, a technology it had used sparingly for high-octane action sequences in Spirited Away and Princess Miyazaki or for the clattering steampunk castle of Howl’s Moving Castle, but never to this extent and never for a feature film. And that trepidation only grew with subsequent trailers for Earwig and the Witch showing the film’s oddly stiff character animation and flat, untextured surfaces. It looked like an unfinished 3D-animated imitation of Ghibli’s classic warm, genial art style — a style that has mostly been instructed by the animation style of Hayao Miyazaki — but missing the soulfulness that typically characterizes the studio’s films.

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goro miyazaki interview

When Goro Miyazaki returned to Studio Ghibli in 2015, he found the offices to be completely empty.

“Nobody was here and it was like storage, very empty,” Miyazaki recalled in an interview with /Film over Zoom ahead of the release of his upcoming movie Earwig and the Witch. “And I thought, ‘Okay, so I won’t be making films anymore.'”

But it would be just three years later that Miyazaki would get back in the director’s chair once again, for a kind of film that had never been done at Studio Ghibli before: a CG-animated movie. Earwig and the Witch was always conceived as a computer-animated film, but the Japanese anime industry more often uses that tech as a tool to imitate a cel-shaded/ hand-drawn look, as Miyazaki had recently done in the CG-animated TV series Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter. But something about doing a fully CG-animated film appealed to Miyazaki because “here at Studio Ghibli, doing a cel look, emulating hand-drawn animation at a studio that specializes in hand-drawn animation didn’t really make sense.”

And it was Miyazaki’s father, the legendary Ghibli filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, who actually encouraged him to pursue the film with this approach.

“It was actually recommended, or suggested, by Hayao Miyazaki and [longtime Studio Ghibli producer] Toshio Suzuki that I would do a film adaptation of this story,” Miyazaki said.

Read our full interview with Goro Miyazaki on Earwig and the Witch below.

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aya and the witch images

Studio Ghibli‘s first CG-animated movie is coming to theaters and HBO Max this February. GKIDS, the North American distributor for Ghibli, has set the theatrical release for Earwig and the Witch for February 3 in select theaters nationwide, with an HBO Max streaming debut set to follow just a few days later.

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earwig and the witch trailer

The first-ever CG animated film from Studio Ghibli is getting a lot of press for the anime studio – beloved for 2D classics like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro – as they enter the unknown territory of 3D animation. And U.S. distributor GKIDS is pulling out all the stops for Earwig and the Witch, directed by Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro Miyazaki, by recruiting a star-studded English voice cast which includes Richard E. Grant and Kacey Musgraves. Watch the new English dub Earwig and the Witch trailer below.

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earwig and the witch us release

It only took a bit of witchy, CGI magic to revive Studio Ghibli after the revered Japanese animation studio temporarily shuttered its doors in 2014 following the supposed retirement of anime titan Hayao Miyazaki. But it’s Miyazaki’s son, Goro Miyazaki, who will direct the studio’s first film in 7 years, and Studio Ghibli’s first-ever fully CG-animated feature, Earwig and the Witch. Watch the Earwig and the Witch trailer below.

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my neighbor hayao art book

In 2017, Spoke Art Gallery held its first annual Hayao Miyazaki-inspired art exhibit in San Francisco, featuring art from over 250 artists who celebrated the legendary filmmaker with creations that brought guests into the whimsical worlds created by Miyazaki. Now, Spoke Art has collected the Miyazaki-inspired art into a book, My Neighbor Hayao: Art Inspired by the Films of Miyazaki, which goes on sale today.

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academy museum hayao miyazaki exhibit

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the few anime filmmakers who can claim crossover success, with beloved classics like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away leaving an indelible mark on global pop culture (and the latter winning the director a much-deserved Oscar). But the Studio Ghibli filmmaker has never yet had a North American museum retrospective dedicated to his art and works. Until now.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures announced that its inaugural exhibition will be Hayao Miyazaki, a retrospective on the filmmaker that explores each of Miyazaki’s animated feature films through his six-decade career and features original art, character designs, storyboards, and more. It will be the first time these 300-or-so objects will be available for public view outside of Japan.

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