×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Mirai’ Filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda on Family, Imagination and Academy Invite

Family is an important theme for Japanese animation director Mamoru Hosoda, and his new film, “Mirai,” is no exception. The film, one of his most intimate, is about a young boy who comes to terms with becoming a big brother when his parents bring home his new baby sister, something Hosoda’s family experienced not too long ago.

Mirai” will have its North American premiere this weekend, Oct. 19-21, at the Animation Is Film Festival at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. Hosoda will be on hand for Friday’s premiere and over the course of the weekend for screenings of some of his other films that the festival is highlighting, including “Summer Wars,” “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” “Wolf Children,” and “The Boy and the Beast.”

Hosoda answered some of Variety’s questions about his work and influences.

Our critic called “Mirai” your most personal film yet. What does this story mean to you?

I think the observation is on point. However, it is incorrect if my film is considered to be thoroughly based on my personal experiences. I use my imagination to tell a story about things I don’t know. I use my imagination to portray what I yearn for or things that are missing within me. That’s how I create movies. I am an only child but “Mirai” is a story about siblings. I’m an adult living in a society but I wanted to portray the world through a child’s eyes.

Can you talk about your process? How do you get your ideas?

I think what I experience with my family, such as the joys and troubles in our everyday life, is something other families in other parts of the world would experience as well. Three years ago, we welcomed a new baby [girl], and my three-year-old son just couldn’t accept the fact that he was now an older brother. He threw tantrums because he didn’t want to share his parents’ love. When I saw that, I thought I saw the raw and bare soul of a human being. Humans can’t survive without love. Life is all about longing to be loved, wandering around to find love, and accepting others to gain love. That’s what I learned from my three-year-old son.

What do you like best about animation? 

Generally speaking, animated films have frequently depicted children. I suppose it is the most suitable media to portray children. Perhaps we choose animation to tell a story about children because we want to go back to our childhood, and to escape from our social responsibilities to live freely like children. Maybe we want to see the world sparkle with wonder again.

What have been your biggest influences?

When I was younger, I was influenced by painters from foreign countries or art from the past. But now I’m more inspired by things that are closer to me, such as my children and my wife.

What have been your biggest challenges?

I’m aiming to challenge myself with every film I make. In “Wolf Children,” I made the main character a mother. In “Mirai,” the main character was a four-year-old boy. This is something that hasn’t been done before in the history of film. I believe that there are infinite possibilities in animated films. I want to keep challenging those possibilities to make movies that people haven’t seen before.

You were invited to join the Motion Picture Academy this year. What does that mean to you? How do you feel about the Academy opening up to a wider range of voices?

I’m just so surprised and humbled. If I could contribute to the film culture, that will be great.

A complete schedule, tickets and more information is available on the Animation Is Film website

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

  • Female Filmmakers in Germany Make Progress

    Female Filmmakers Surge Forward in Germany, But Still Face Obstacles

    Four feature films by German filmmakers screened at the Toronto Film Festival, and three of them were directed by women – Angela Schanelec’s “I Was at Home, But…,” winner of the Berlinale’s best director prize, Ina Weisse’s “The Audition,” and Katrin Gebbe’s “Pelican Blood,” the latter two both starring Nina Hoss. Germany’s Oscar entry this [...]

  • Bull

    Annie Silverstein's 'Bull' Takes Top Awards, Robert Pattinson Starrer 'The Lighthouse' Wins Jury Prize at Deauville

    Annie Silverstein’s feature debut “Bull” swept three awards at the 45th Deauville American Film Festival, including the Grand Prize, the Revelation Prize for best first film and the Critics’ Prize. “Bull,” a portrait of a rebellious teenage girl from South Texas, world premiered at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard and marks Silverstein’s follow up to her [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content