Over the past few years, the organizers of the Tokyo International Film Festival have been adding one of Japan’s biggest cultural exports, anime, to the mix, featuring films and talks with directors including Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hideaki Anno.
This year, TIFF also rolled out a new prize called the Arigato Award, given to individuals who have contributed to the Japanese film industry. One of the first recipients of the award was Mamoru Hosoda, the director of films like Wolf Children and The Boy and the Beast, who was on-hand to receive the award and give a talk about his movies.
Hosoda explained that his motivation for making The Boy and the Beast was the birth of his son, which made him want to explore his pet theme, family, once more.
Specifically, Hosoda wanted to explore the idea of the gap between traditional family values and more modern family values, which he believes are a current source of strife.
Talking about why he decided to set the film in Shibuya, Tokyo, Hosoda remarked that Shibuya is a kind of place that feels littered with separate worlds. Hosoda also mentioned that the Mediterranean feel of Jutengai, the world of beasts in the film, was inspired by Shibuya’s “Spanish Hill,” a side-street filled with Spanish restaurants and cafes.
One audience member asked Hosoda why his films seem to be more fantasy-based with each release. Hosoda responded that he wants to create works that allow the imagination to fly.
Another member of the audience asked where Hosoda gets the motivation to keep making films. The director responded by saying he loves the process. “The joy of making things gets me fired up,” he added.
Finally, Hosoda was asked what he does when he’s reached the end of his rope.
“I sleep. Even if it’s the middle of the day, I drink some alcohol and take a nap. It’s like hitting the reset button.”