Sunday, December 14, 2008


In October of 2007, I attended a special reception for the Chicago Film Festival, which was following a "Japanese animation" theme. The main thing they were celebrating was the release of the Japanese film "The Girl who Leapt Through Time" I went with my classmates Michael Eurek and David Jacobs, as well as met with my professor, Matsugu-sensei, who at the time I didn't really know that well.

Anyways, this movie has had a kind of special meaning with me since before this reception. The previous summer, I was studying abroad in Hakodate, Japan, I believe it was a Saturday night, and this movie aired on television. My host family spent most of their time watching television, so all of us crowding around the glowing box on a Saturday night was not in any way unusual, but watching this movie together began to turn into something really special. My host mother, sister, and creepy yakuza host dad were all completely engrossed by the movie, and none of us could take our eyes off until the very end. Even I, who didn't really understand much of the Japanese, was completely sucked into the story and at the end of it, somehow felt a little closer to the people I was sitting there watching with.

This is why, back in Chicago, attending the reception, meeting the director, Hosoda Mamoru, was such a huge honor for me. I got the pleasure to chat with him in Japanese, and he also gave me advice on my animated short, Track and Failed, which I was just starting at the time. I remember him saying that putting yourself, your feelings, your experiences, emotions, etc into your stories is one of the most important things you can do when making a story. This is something I had been told numerous times in various classes, but it was still great to hear it from someone who has actually directed some fantastic animated films, and also to hear it in Japanese...and understand it.

Anyways, it was just released recently on DVD, so I picked it up and watched it again last night, this time with subtitles to make sure I got everything...and yeah. It's still wonderful. Brought back a lot of memories for me too. Just thought I'd like to share some of them here! Check out the movie if you haven't seen it, I think it's great.