THE SKY CRAWLERS Begins North American Theatrical Run
Somewhere, in a country similar to ours, there are children who do not become adults.
They are very similar to us.
The world-acclaimed animation auteur Mamoru Oshii brings his latest masterpiece to light…
THE SKY CRAWLERS (Sukai Kurora), the new animated film from director Mamoru Oshii, begins its North American theatrical release today in Los Angeles.
The story takes place in another possible ‘now’ – a world that has eradicated war and finally attained peace. However, this prolonged state of peace created demand for a new kind of war. A war happening elsewhere, that could be seen on TV or read in the papers – in order to get a feeling of reality.
Private war contractors enlist fighter pilots to perform their services in an endless “war as entertainment.” They called these pilots Kildren. Innocent-looking teenagers in appearance, Kildren never age into adulthood, and live in a state of eternal adolescence until the day they drift gracefully through the endless skies.
One day, pilot Yuichi Kannami arrives to his newly assigned airbase. He has only vague memory of his past. The only two things he recalls are that he is a Kildren and how to operate a fighter plane.
A woman is keeping an eye on Yuichi. She is Suito Kusanagi, the base commander. A Kildren herself, Suito behaves as if she’s been waiting to meet Yuichi for a long time. Perplexed, Yuichi is nevertheless gradually attracted by her.
All pilots at the base have to confront the most invincible enemy ace, known as Teacher. His trademark is a black puma painted on the nose of his plane.
Who really is Teacher? What does Suito know about Yuichi’s past? What are the secrets behind the Kildren?
Even if you had eternal life, your yesterday would be different from your today. Sound of the trees, smell of the wind, warmth of a person next to you – all of which may be subtle, but they are the proof that you’re alive. Your life may just be a repeat of everyday, yet everyday you will see something different. We should treasure each moment of it and make the best out of your given fate. -THE SKY CRAWLERS director Mamoru Oshii
Born in Tokyo in 1951, Mamoru Oshii has an extensive background in film and television animation, with credits including URUSEI YATSURA: ONLY YOU (Urusei Yatsura Onrii Yuu, 1983), PATLABOR: THE MOVIE (Kidoo Keisatsu Patoreibaa the Movie, 1989), and PATLABOR 2: THE MOVIE (Kidoo Keisatsu Patoreibaa the Movie 2, 1993). He has also directed the live action features THE RED SPECTACLES (Akai Megane, 1987), STRAY DOG: KERBEROS PANZER CORPS (Keruberosu: Jigoku no Banken, 1991), and AVALON (2001).
In 1995, Oshii received international acclaim for his anime film GHOST IN THE SHELL (Goosuto In Za Sheru: Kookaku Kidootai), based on the manga by Masumune Shirow and produced by Production I.G. GHOST IN THE SHELL was given a limited theatrical release in the United States and topped the Billboard video chart in 1996. The movie greatly influenced many filmmakers such as James Cameron and the Wachowski brothers. In 2004, Oshii made history again with GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE (Inosensu), the first Japanese animation feature film ever to be nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Festival de Cannes. This year GHOST IN THE SHELL 2.0 retold the story of the first film with new 3D-CGI animation.
With his most anticipated animation film, THE SKY CRAWLERS, Oshii moved on from his former filmmaking to a new style, while continuing to collaborate with Production I.G, the cutting-edge anime studio behind GHOST IN THE SHELL and the animated segment of KILL BILL VOL. 1, and the Nippon Television Network (NTV). The story is based on the six-part, bestselling novel by Mori Hiroshi, an amazingly prolific writer whose books have sold 9.5 million copies in Japan alone.
After reading the novel, Oshii praised it as “a work that should be made into a movie for young people now.” Clothing, food and housing are in abundance in our modern society, and yet we carry an unfulfilled vacuum in our hearts. “It is time to face this new perception to our existence through the Kildren, who live indefinitely in eternal adolescence, and this theme should be dealt with now,” claims Oshii earnestly. Mori regards his novel The Sky Crawlers “as the most difficult among all of my works for film adaptation.” However, Mori declared himself “surprised and relieved at the same time to know the director was going to be Mamoru Oshii,” and gave his immediate consent.
To adapt the story to the screen, Oshii turned to scriptwriter Chihiro Ito, who had beautifully depicted sensitive feelings of youngsters in two acclaimed movies, CRYING OUT FOR LOVE, IN THE CENTER OF THE WORLD (Sekai no Chushin de Ai wo Sakebu, 2004) and SPRING SNOW (Haru no Yuki, 2005). The musical score is written by Oshii’s most trusted composer, Kenji Kawai (GHOST IN THE SHELL, RING, DEATH NOTE).
Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi (BABEL) stars as Suito Kusanagi, with Ryo Kase (GODZILLA: GMK, CUTIE HONEY, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA) providing the voice of Yuichi Kannami. The supporting cast includes Shosuke Tanihara (VEXILLE) as Naofumi Tokino, and fan favorite Chiaki Kuriyama (BATTLE ROYALE, KILL BILL VOL. 1) as Midori Mitsuya.
THE SKY CRAWLERS was distributed domestically by Warner Bros. Japan, who released it to theaters this past August 2. World sales for the film have been handled by Elle Driver and NTV. The movie won the Future Film Festival Digital Award as an official selection of the 65th Venice International Film Festival, and also claimed “Best Original Soundtrack”, “Best Youth Motion Picture”, and the Jose Luis Guarner Critic Award at the Sitges International Film Festival in Catalunya, Spain.
On September 5, THE SKY CRAWLERS made its North American premiere at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. Two days later Sony Pictures Classics announced that they had acquired distribution rights to the movie for the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America.
The US release begins today, December 5, with a limited theatrical engagement as the Los Feliz 3 Cinemas, 1822 Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Additional theaters and cities to be announced.
THE SKY CRAWLERS
2008 / 121 min / Color
Screen Size 1.85:1
Production Companies: Production I.G, NTV
Japanese Theatrical Release: August 2, 2008; Warner Bros. Japan
North American Theatrical Release: December 5, 2008; Sony Pictures Classics
Yuichi Kannami: Ryo Kase
Suito Kusanagi: Rinko Kikuchi
Midori Mitsuya: Chiaki Kuriyama
Naofumi Tokino: Shosuke Tanihara
Towa Sasakura: Yoshiko Sasakibara
Mizuki Kusanagi: Megumi Yamaguchi
Fooco: Mabuki Ando
Kusumi: Mako Hyodo
Aizu Yudagawa: Daisuke Hirakawa
Yuri: Yuriko Hishimi
Daniel’s Master: Naoto Takenaka
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Executive Producers: Seiji Okuda, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa
Producer: Tomohiko Ishii
Original Story: Mori Hiroshi
Screenplay: Chihiro Ito
Animation Director: Toshihiko Nishikubo
Character Designer/Key Animation Supervisor: Tetsuya Nishio
Mechanic Designer: Atsushi Takeuchi
Art Director: Kazuo Nagai
Supervising Layout Artist: Takashi Watabe
Color Designer: Kumiko Yusa
Visual Effects: Hisashi Ezura
CGI Supervisor: Hiroyuki Hayashi
Cinematographer: Hisashi Ezura
Editor: Junichi Uematsu
Sound Design: Randy Thom and Tom Myers (Skywalker Sound)
Sound Director: Kazuhiro Wakabayashi
Music: Kenji Kawai
Line Producer: Toru Kawaguchi