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SPIRITED AWAY

Production Notes
Miyazaki's "Spirited Away," a Walt Disney Studios presentation of a Studio Ghibli film, is the latest cinematic triumph from Japan's most renowned filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki. Adding to his impressive body of work, which includes such remarkable animated features as "Princess Mononoke" and "My Neighbor Totoro," this exciting new film is a wondrous fantasy about a ten-year-old girl named Chihiro, who is whisked away to a spirit world and must learn to overcome her fears and face unique challenges in order to save her parents and herself. The most successful film ever to play in Japan, "Spirited Away" became the first animated feature in fifty years to win the coveted Golden Bear Award at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival. This newly crafted English language version of the film, guided by executive producer John Lasseter (Pixar's executive vice president, creative and Academy Award®-winning director of "Toy Story," "A Bug's Life" and "Toy Story 2"), veteran Disney director Kirk Wise ("Beauty and the Beast," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame") and producer Don Ernst ("Fantasia/2000"), enables English-speaking audiences all over the world to experience this animated adventure in an entirely new way.

Lasseter comments, "‘Spirited Away' is, to me, a real classic Disney film. Because like all classic Disney films, it has humor, heart, and tremendous character growth. A bit scary at times, a little bit strange, and wonderful – it sucks you in at the beginning and you forget about everything until the movie is over. It is a real privilege to be involved with one of Miyazaki's films and to help bring it to a whole new group of moviegoers. ‘Spirited Away' is a magnificent film and deserves to be seen by everyone who loves good storytelling and great characters. I became the film's number one fan and strongly encouraged my friends at Disney to release it. I think American audiences are really going to love this film. They're going to see images and visuals that they've never seen before in their lives. 

"We're incredibly busy at Pixar, but when I was asked to help with this I said ‘yes'without any hesitation because I wanted to see this film come to America," he adds. "And I wanted it to happen in a way that would be really respectful of the masterpiece Miyazaki created. He is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time and he has been a tremendous inspiration to our generation of animators. At Pixar, when we have a problem we can't seem to solve, we often look at one of Miyazaki's films in our screening room. ‘Toy Story' owes a huge debt of gratitude to him." 

Wise observes, "‘Spirited Away' is truly an amazing film. Like all of Miyazaki's movies, it has such a wonderful magical quality to it and is so beautifully staged. I like to think of him as the David Lean of animation. Working on the English language version was like getting a chance to study at the feet of a master because I got to watch it over and over and over again. I think all of his works are fantastic, but this one stands the best chance of crossing over into the American market because it's rooted in the same kind of storytelling traditions as Alice in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Both of those classic tales involve little girls who take a journey to this kind of parallel fantasy world, populated by all these amazing creatures and characters, and learn a valuable life lesson along the way when they finally come full circle back to their own world."  

Pam Coats, executive vice president, creative affairs, for Walt Disney Feature Animation adds, "All of us at Disney fell in love with ‘Spirited Away' and felt it was WALT DISNEY PICTURES' important to bring it to audiences over here. It's a beautiful movie. Miyazaki is truly a visual storyteller and this film is fascinating to watch. He is never afraid to tackle difficult issues and yet he confronts

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