On Thursday, May 31, 2012 AT 5:30PM, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), in partnership with the Providence Children’s Film Festival, will present two exclusive screenings of Studio Ghibli films, as well as a very special conversation with producer Toshio Suzuki. Spirited Away and Only Yesterday will be screened in the RISD Auditorium in their original Japanese, with English subtitles. The event is free and open to the public; tickets are available through EventBrite. Spirited Away (suitable for children ages 10 and up) will kick the evening off from 5:30 to 7:30PM, followed by the Q&A with Suzuki from 7:30 to 8:30PM. Only Yesterday (suitable for children ages 14 and up) will play from 9:00 to 11:00PM.
Suzuki will be in Providence to receive an honorary degree at RISD’s 2012 Commencement celebration, taking place on June 2, 2012. Director and animator Hayao Miyazaki, his colleague and mentor Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki have agreed to accept the honor, with Suzuki coming to RISD’s Commencement ceremony to collect the honorary degree on behalf of the studio.
When Studio Ghibli was nominated for an honorary degree, there was enormous enthusiasm for the idea but little hope that the notoriously private studio would actually accept — especially since the honor requires recipients to attend RISD’s Commencement ceremony to accept the award in person. After all, the studio didn’t even send anyone to the Academy Awards when its film Spirited Away was nominated for (and won) Best Animated Feature in 2002. But convinced that shared principles — an emphasis on craftsmanship and respect for the natural world — make RISD and Studio Ghibli natural allies, President John Maeda asked for assistance from noted Japanese fashion designer and RISD alumna Tae Ashida [1987 RISD Apparel].
Ghibli believes strongly in the quality and craftsmanship of their films; in maintaining the integrity of their sometimes non-linear narratives; and in having the freedom to critique capitalism and globalism while exploring themes of pacifism, feminism and the relationship of humanity to nature and technology. Long considered pioneers and great treasures in Japan — and admired all over the world — RISD is delighted to be honoring Studio Ghibli at Commencement, and that Mr. Suzuki is graciously taking part in the RISD / Providence Children’s Film Festival screening and conversation as part of his visit to Rhode Island.
About Studio Ghibli
Studio Ghibli, which derives its name from the Arabic word for a strong North African wind, was established in 1985 by director and animator Hayao Miyazaki, his colleague and mentor, director Isao Takahata, and producer Toshio Suzuki to “blow a new wind through the Japanese anime industry” and push the boundaries of traditional animation. Since then the studio’s phenomenal work has focused on pacifism, feminism and the relationship between humans, nature and technology, while also offering an incisive critique of capitalism and globalism.
Studio Ghibli is perhaps best known in the US for the Oscar-winning film Spirited Away (2001). Its latest release, The Secret World of Arrietty (2011), opened in February in theaters across the country. Ghibli’s diverse portfolio of films, including My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Grave of the Fireflies (1988), Only Yesterday (1991), Princess Mononoke (1997) and My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999), have contributed to the studio’s reputation for exacting detail and for allowing its drawings to really drive each story.
Disney and Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter has acknowledged Studio Ghibli as one of the greatest animation teams of all time. The studio has also been lauded for the humanity, spirituality and integrity of its films, and for refusing to allow American distributors to edit their signature nonlinear structure. Studio Ghibli’s work has a huge following both in Japan and worldwide. Their films inspire ongoing academic research and have been shown at Carnegie Hall and in the Los Angeles American Cinematheque retrospective series. The Ghibli Museum, Mitaka in Tokyo is dedicated to the studio’s history and hand-drawn animation styles.
May 31, 2012
Location: RISD Auditorium – 17 Canal Walk, Providence, RI 02903
5:30 to 7:30PM, followed by the Q&A with Suzuki from 7:30 to 8:30PM.
Recommended for children ages 10 and up.
Cost: Free and open to the public, but tickets must be reserved in advanceÂ here.