After the success of 2010’s The Borrower Arrietty, director Hiromasa Yonebayashi will return to Studio Ghibli with the film ‘When Marnie Was There’ based on Joan G. Robinson’s novel of the same name.
Yonebashi is the youngest director to ever to take on the reigns at Studio Ghibli, and the first to do so without the help of the now retired(?) Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki and Isao Takahata have long been the figureheads of the studio and it was considered risky to allow a newbie to take on this responsibility. However, Yonebashi has been with the studio since 1997 as a clean up animator and worked up through the ranks to get where he is today.
‘When Marnie Was There’ is the story of the friendless 12-year-old Anna (voiced by Sara Takatsuki) who meets a girl named Marnie (Kasumi Arimura) near a house by a marsh while on summer vacation.
The film takes place in a frontier Studio Ghibli has not yet visited: Hokkaido, Japan’s northern-most Island. The landscape is a stark contrast from the typical film by the famed animation studio.
“In Hokkaido, you can’t expect to see a clear and blue sky too often,” said Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura. “The Ghibli world is all about the blue sky and white clouds. The gray sky provides a backdrop for Anna’s mind, but it is also a challenge to draw a sky which is not clear and blue.”
Up until now there was not much news or images concerning the film. With less than a month until release on July 19th, the official Studio Ghibli twitter has finally begun releasing teaser images.
In other news, last Thursday The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences finally welcomed director Hayao Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki of Studio Ghibli! Miyazaki was last invited in 2006 as one of 120 people to join the Academy in 2006, but he politely declined citing that they assumed he was close to retirement. Now that the filmmaker has retired (for the 6th time), he is happy to join. Maybe that means his retirement is finally final this time.