Forgive me the rather spotty posting ... personal life's been a little
crazy lately, haven't been able to update the site. I have a ton of watercolors
from the 2nd sketchcrawl I did a couple of weeks back but I have had no
time to upload them yet. Anyway ... as you might have noticed on the front
page of the site, Ronnie and I are getting ready for an artshow at Meltdown
comics in Los Angeles. Should be fun but I can tell you one thing,
framing drawings ain't fun! X) Anyway, if you want to see some Nina, Mia
and fragments originals don't miss this, hope to see lot's of you there
! take care!
PS For people
up here in the bay area, the following weekend (October 9-10) I am gonna
take part of an huge open studio weekend at the ART
EXPLOSION studios in Potrero. More infos to follow, but if you're
in the area be sure to come around!
A couple of weeks ago I’ve had the luck of attending a screening
in the Shell 2 - INNOCENCE” at ILM. At the event I had the pleasure
of meeting director Mamuro Oshii, who struck me as a very down to earth,
intelligent, likeable and silent guy. Production
IG’s cofounder and producer of Innocence Mitsuhisa Ishikawa
was also at the screening. Through the years I have had the luck of meeting
with Ishikawa San several times and I’ve always been amazed at what
a funny and playful man he is, while also being one of the most influential
figures in Japanese animation. A few years back in New York he even briefly
introduced me to Kanno Yoko, a fantastic composer I’ve been a big
fan for years (yes, I am a geek after all). More recently I chatted with
Ishikawa San at my friend Justin’s wedding in Kyoto. I met Ishikawa
in fact thanks to Justin, who worked on GITS2 for him in Tokyo. Waiting
to be seated at the banquet, Ishikawa and I cracked each other up regarding
Pixar’s movie “Finding Nemo” … in his broken English
he told me that he and I should make a movie together: “Finding
money” …. X)
The joke is rather silly (and we hadn’t even drunk any sake yet)
but it does tell a lot about Japanese animation and how cheaply and painstakingly
it’s produced. Men like Ishikawa have the talent pool to make groundbreaking
movies but struggle to find the money to produce them. They often make
lower budget commercial projects to try and pay for the more substantial
and artistic movies. A wholly commendable enterprise. Well, with Innocence
Ishikawa certainly did his job right.
The movie cost 18 million dollars to make, peanuts for animation productions
over here, but a huge budget for a Japanese production, and I can tell
you one thing: it shows every yen spent.
Saying the movie is visually rich it’s an understatement. Some sequences
are truly amazing in their intricate and sophisticated visuals. This movie
puts together CG backgrounds with 2d animation. The result, while not
always consistent, is in most sequences a feast for the eyes, in some
even ground breaking.
Oshii’s story, while a tad hard to follow here and there (but no
surprise here), comes together quite well, especially in the end. Under
a few layers of “technofuturisticstuff”, lies quite a satisfying
detective story. Maybe the only thing I found a tad repetitive was the
characters’ quoting from scriptures quite often, it got a tad tiring,
but it might very well be just a cultural thing. The movie left me wanting
to see it a second time (I bet Ishikawa will be happy to hear that) for
two reasons: the visuals and the story that as expected, with Oshi at
the helm, will be better understood after a second viewing. Kenji Kawai’s
soundtrack hits the mark with similar themes to the first movie’s
music, but it felt even stronger and emotional.
The movie comes out in selected theaters this month. I warmly recommend
it … you’re in for a visual treat and a few amazing action
sequences from the top talents of Japanese 2d animation.
Well, there goes my review ... Oh and my life is going pretty well …
my back is getting much better, been swimming a lot to strengthen it.
Oh and guess what, big news … toward the end of the year I am gonna
have a little time off from Pixar to focus on my projects and maybe rest
a tad too … Looking forward to it! It’ll also give me a chance
to spend sometime with my family back in Italy.
And on that note … here’s a couple of photos from there …
Listening to Cat House
by Takako Minekawa from XIMER-EP.