The Screening Room Blog
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Miyazaki hand draws 'Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea'
VENICE, Italy -- Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki explained today why he hand drew 170,000 frames for his latest animation "Gake no Ue no Ponyo" ("Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea") which is showing in competition at Venice.

The 67-year-old, famous for Oscar-winning "Spirited Away" and "Howl's Moving Castle," said he has gone back to basics with this film, rejecting computer animation in favour of the humble pencil: "Currently computer graphics are used a lot and this use can at times be excessive. Animation needs the pencil and man's drawing hand which is why I did the film this way."

The film tells the story of five year-old Sosuke who finds a goldfish (Ponyo) with her head stuck in a jam jar. They become friends but when Ponyo decides she wants to be human, the waters of the sea she used to live in begin to rise causing disaster for Sosuke's home town.

One critic I spoke to said that this was the film he is most excited about seeing this festival, despite it being made for children. Another journalist told me that it was the only film this festival that they had "really fallen in love with."

Miyazaki said that many of his staff had been having babies recently and seeing them from birth made him want to make a film for them. When asked why he wanted to make a film about the sea, he said: "The sea is something so very complicated but I just thought it would be great to draw it with crayons."

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