Today marks the 71st year of Hayao Miyazaki's life and the 48th year of his professional career as an animator and film director. Starting his career at Toei Animation as an inbetween artist, his work led him down the fast track to success as his suggestions were turned into the ending for Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon and led to his feature film debut as a director in 1979 with the Castle of Cagliostro Lupin the 3rd film after years of smaller jobs in the industry.
Not long after the success of that film, he co-founded Studio Ghibli with Isao Takahata and produced some of the most acclaimed works in animation such as My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso and Castle in the Sky, culminating in his Academy Award win for Spirited Away in 2002, helped in no small part by his friendship with Pixar Animation head John Lasseter, an avowed fan of Miyazaki's work.
So join me in helping to celebrate Miyazaki's birthday today with a Totoro cake and let me know what your favorite Miyazaki directed film is. My personal favorite would be Ponyo, what's yours?
Speaking of films, a new traveling Studio Ghibli retrospective has been announced by theater distributor GKIDS that will travel the country and hit LA beginning on January 26 to February 12 at the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater and Aero Theater, with more engagements scheduled in Boston, Toronto, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, Seattle, Dallas, Austin, and more North American cities throughout the year.
The retrospective as its running in New York at the IFC theater is so successful that additional screenings have been added for Princess Mononoke, Ocean Waves, Castle in the Sky, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and My Neighbor Totoro through the 12th of this month.