Production Halted On Satoshi Kon's DREAMING MACHINE

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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Production Halted On Satoshi Kon's DREAMING MACHINE

The already tumultuous production history of Satoshi Kon's final film, The Dreaming Machine (Yume-Miru Kikai) has just become even rockier with word that animation studio Madhouse have very quietly put the production on hold due to financial issues.

The final work by the brilliant director of Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress, production on The Dreaming Machine began with Kon already aware that he was terminally ill and very likely would not survive to see the project through to completion. His one request was that the studio would see the work through until the end. And it appeared that was the case with character designer Yoshimi Itazu taking over the directing role - based on the detailed instructions left behind by Kon - in November of 2010 following Kon's passing from cancer.

But Madhouse founder Masao Maruyama recently acknowledged at Otakon that, due to financial pressures at Madhouse, production on the film has been halted with only six hundred of the fifteen hundred total shots from the picture completed. Maruyama says he remains committed to finishing the picture but, clearly, a major influx of cash is needed if they have had to shut it down less than half way through.
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Sean "The Butcher" SmithsonAugust 9, 2011 2:02 PM

If I was rich this film would not be in financial trouble. Spielberg? Lucas? Anybody? Helllooooooo?

SaltonerAugust 9, 2011 5:36 PM

Totally agree! Hello Hollywood. When they need an influx of cash, they mean like $10 million! Pocket change for most every studio in the land. This will get made. If Eyes Wide Shut got made after it's creator's death, THIS will for sure be made.

brettlv5506August 10, 2011 12:36 AM

Aronofsky would be the man to ask. He was a fan of Kon's work, especially Perfect Blue.

Ard VijnAugust 10, 2011 6:30 AM

Lucas and Coppola bailed out Akira Kurosawa once, didn't they? I thought that was how "Kagemusha" got finished, and their money was in "Ran" as well.
And Beatle George Harrison famously forked over the money to get Monty Python's "Life of Brian" made (with the reasoning "I just want to see this") so there are indeed precedents...

But in general it's almost unbelievable how anime's greatest directors are always having problems getting their projects financed. I know not many of these films have short-term financial success, but many keep making money decades onward...

hiroaki.jAugust 10, 2011 11:28 AM

James Cameron would be another good choice.

For fucks sake, a kickstarter campaign if nothing else.

brettlv5506August 10, 2011 1:33 PM

Madhouse could ask for help from other animation studios as well. I'm thinking Studio 4C and Koji Morimoto could partner with Madhouse to see it finished, or if all else fails, outsource all the animation to Korea.

Todd BrownAugust 10, 2011 1:42 PM

Would be great if that were the case but Kon doesn't match Kubrick in the eyes of US studios. Not by a mile. You can't equate a live action, English language thriller with two of the biggest stars in the world from one of the most acclaimed directors in the world to the work of an animated feature that - regardless of critical acclaim - exists in a commercial niche. Dreamworks set up their anime arm to handle Millennium Actress because they believed in the quality of the work. They shut it down again because Kon and Oshii didn't make them a dime. It's a business and return on investment is king.

Todd BrownAugust 10, 2011 1:44 PM

4C don't have any money, either. Not for something like this. It's the same in the animation world everywhere ... the stuff that gets made is TV work commissioned by a network to air it. The money is all project-specific, it gets spent on the specific commissioned work, then they move on to the next job. And there's nothing really left over for the personal stuff. There's a reason 4C haven't developed a feature in-house for a while ... the talent's still there but they can't pay to make it.

Major_RagerAugust 10, 2011 6:58 PM

If Aronofsky in anyway helps bring this movie to life, I will forgive him for having ripped Kon off so much... :)

Ard VijnAugust 10, 2011 9:10 PM

The anime market unfortunately has a tradition of studios underbidding each other to get projects, resulting in an industry where people work themselves to death for a pittance, and no studio has a secret stash of money to play around with. Hayao Miyazaki refers to this as "Tezuka's Curse" as Osamu Tezuka almost single-handedly started the underbidding tradition.

Even Studio Ghibli tends to be in financially somewhat dire straits every time they approach a new premiere date. Madhouse is very successful in what they do, both artistically and in popular mainstream, and it is a definite warning sign if this studio cannot raise funds for the creation of this movie. And frankly, Japan is still slowly climbing out of the devastating effects of this year's giant tsunami so I can see investors are a bit shy for high-risk ventures like an artistic anime. 11, 2011 10:47 AM

well, where's "crowdsourcing" when you need it? i'd pay a few bucks to see this finished... and so would you, ain't i right? maybe they should set up a kickstarter with some kind of benefit for donators and share the responsibility of getting this out with the rest of us... i'd like to believe we could do something like this without the help of hollywood... just people helping fund the stuff they want to see produced... well, man can dream, can't he?

CoryMarch 31, 2012 3:47 AM

I wonder if we could arrange a Kickstarter to help fund Kon's final film.