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“Thank you, Japan for making me who I am.” TIFF’s Special Event John Lasseter to Speak on “Cool Japan” – 10/24(Fri.)

Special event with John Lasseter held and he spoke on the topic of “Cool Japan”. Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is having the world premiere of his latest film, “Big Hero 6” as the Opening Film. John shared his respect and fascination toward creativity of Hayao Miyazaki and Japanese culture for 27th TIFF on October 24 at EX Theater Roppongi.

Photo: John Lasseter ©Disney


For this special event, John Lasseter talk about Japanese culture and influence that he has received from Japanese animation, including the works of Hayao Miyazaki, Japan’s pre-eminent animation creator and director, as well as behind-the-scenes stories of the production of Disney animated movies which enjoy great popularity the world over
John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer at Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios, gave a special presentation on “Cool Japan” at EX Theater Roppongi on Friday evening to a packed house as part of the 27th Tokyo International Film Festival. Lasseter, who is well know for writing and directing films like A Bug’s Life, Toy Story, and Toy Story 2, gave a very personal recollection of how his life and career had been greatly influenced by Japan, and in particular, Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli, an internationally acclaimed creator of anime feature films who is also viewed by many as a symbol of “Cool Japan”.
Lasseter recounted his early childhood being fascinated with cartoons, even through teenage years, but was “blown away”, in his words, by Miyazaki’s first feature film, The Castle of Cagliostro. He also mentioned that he had wooed his wife with the same film while they were dating, and the film had had a profound effect on Lasseter’s career as an animator as he said, “It had a very strong effect on me because I felt that this was the first animated feature film I had seen that had a vision to entertain for all ages. It filled my soul with a drive.”
Lasseter went on to describe his long and inspiring relationship with Miyazaki, which began in 1981, and showed a variety of photographs from his multiple trips to Japan as well as a clip from My Neighbor Totoro, one of Miyazaki’s most famous works, which Lasseter felt had a profound effect on the old and the young alike. After showing a clip of the film, he praised Miyazaki’s style by saying, “it celebrates the quiet moments in film, all of Miyazaki’s films have five or six of these, it is so the opposite of Hollywood. Those moments set things up, like the arrival of the Cat Bus,” said Lasseter.
One of Lasseter’s earliest and strongest influences was a visit to Teruhisa Kitahara’s Museum of Tin Toys in Yokohama which he visited on his first trip to Japan, and eventually became the inspiration for the movie Tin Toy which was produced by Pixar and directed by Lasseter. Tin Toy went on to claim Pixar’s first Academy Award in 1988 for Best Animated Short Film being the first CGI film to win an Oscar, and was later the inspiration for Toy Story.
While Lasseter is best known for his work in computer animation, but has never forgotten his beginnings at the California Institute of Art and Disney. “When I went to computer animation I never forgot the traditional,” he said. “It is one of the secrets of Pixar.” He noted that while Miyazaki is known for not being a fan of computer animation, his enthusiastic response to Toy Story, which took four years to make, was very special to Lasseter and he remarked that Miyazaki “could see the story” through the technology.
Drawing parallels to his work and the deep lasting effect of what he described as Japan’s “juxtaposition of modern and traditional” as illustrated by photos of sleek skyscrapers next to quiet gardens and high tech vending machines within reach of ancient bamboo fountains, Lasseter said that one of the secrets of Pixar was to never forget the traditional principles while working with new technology. Lasseter described both Cars 2 and his latest movie Big Hero 6 – which premiered on Thursday as the opening film of the Tokyo Film Festival – as “a love letter to Tokyo,” and concluded his talk with a heartfelt tribute to Japan by saying, “Thank you, Japan for making me who I am.”
Date and time: October 24 (Fri), 17:00-18:00
Venue: EX Theater Roppongi
Theme: ”Cool Japan”
Appearance: John LASSETER (Chief Creative Officer at Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and DisneyToon Studios.)

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KEIRIN.JPThe 27th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
26th Tokyo International Film Festival(2013)