Last year the world was saddened by the news of Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki announcing his retirement – just as his acclaimed (and final) animated feature “The Wind Rises” had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
Even more shocking was the news in August this year that Studio Ghibli itself would be restructuring and essentially getting out of the animated feature business. Ahead of his acceptance of an honorary Oscar, The Los Angeles Times asked Miyazaki about the company’s future. Sadly, the news still appears bleak:
“At this point, we’re not making a new film. I think we will not be making any feature films to be shown in theaters. That was not my intention, though. All I did was announce that I would be retiring and not making any more features.”
Asked if others at the studio could continue on their legacy after he and partner Isao Takahata leave, and if the medium of hand-drawn animation has much life left in it, he says:
“That will depend on their efforts and whether they’ll have the fortune, the luck, to be able to make films… If creators have the intent to do hand-drawn animation, there certainly will be opportunities for them to do that. But what might be a difficulty will be the financial considerations. I do think the era of pencil, paper and film is coming to an end.”
Despite the dour outlook, the official stance of the company as of August is that they are in the midst of a ‘brief pause’ to re-evaluate and restructure in the wake of Miyazaki’s retirement.