The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness offers a rare and intimate look inside Studio Ghibli, the legendary Japanese animation house responsible for films including Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, and Spirited Away. In an exclusive clip from the documentary—available for digital download today—watch fabled animator Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli do radio calisthenics.
The new documentary offers a never-before-seen look at the studio's creative process, following the lives of director Hayao Miyazaki, producer Toshio Suzuki, and "other director" Isao Takahata, the three passionate creators who form the heart of Studio Ghibli, as they race to complete Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises and Takahata’s The Tale of The Princess Kaguya over the course of a year.
Director Mami Sunada also catches Miyazaki's announcement of his retirement after the culmination of The Wind Rises in September of 2013. Although he’s previously retired and returned six times in the past, this time, he assures audiences that he is “quite serious” about taking a break from the world of animation because he wants to make way for new talents. In August of this year, Ghibli fans were shocked to hear rumors that the studio would be shuttering its doors, after Toshio Suzuki mentioned the “reconstruction” of the studio in an interview. On the heels of this news, the documentary comes at a critical moment for the 29-and-a-half year old studio.
For Sunada, who grew up watching Ghibli films, getting the film made was something of a small miracle. After many rejections from producer Suzuki, she finally convinced him by explaining she wanted to create a "theatrical documentary" about Studio Ghibli that was narrative-driven. For a year, she became a "fly on the wall," with almost unlimited access to the goings-on of the animation house. Viewers follow Sunada as she sits in on meetings about marketing toys from My Neighbor Totoro, spies on the resident cat, Ushiko, as he lounges in the sun, and learns that Miyazaki comes in precisely at 11am and leaves at 9pm—"he kept to his schedule like clockwork," she says in the film.
Watch the official trailer for The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness below, and grab your digital download of the film now.