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Mononoke Hime
(Princess Mononoke)


Princess Mononoke Screening at the New York Film Festival


The following is my personal account of the Princess Mononoke screening at the New York Film Festival.

- Ryoko

Sept. 26, 1999

press line-upAround 5 PM, I arrived at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall together with several people from the Miyazaki Mailing List, Tom Wilkes, Justin Sevakis, Griffin Waldau, and his beautiful mother and sister.

There were some fences put up, to make a passage to the entrance. This one was without a red carpet, but there were several people with big cameras and press passes, so Justin and I went to investigate (actually, I was too shy, so Justin did most of the talking.) There were TV crews from NTV (a Japanese TV network), who said that they are going to air the segment on the Monday evening news in Japan. There were also crews from a PR company, who said that they are going to sell the footage to the news companies who are interested in the story. But they said that since the Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary party at Rockefeller Center to be held that night would get a lot of coverage, this footage wouldn't get used so much. And there was a guy from ForeignTV.com, who said that they basically attend every premiere of a foreign movie. Also, a reporter from Metro Guide (a local TV station) was filming a report there. There were some other people, and later, we found more press, but we didn't figure out who they were.

We went inside, and picked up a ticket I ordered by phone. Then, we noticed that Miramax had a table set up next to the box office (for those who were invited to the screening to pick up their tickets) and there is a Princess Mononoke poster behind it. It's a poster with San's face and the head of her spear. The image has been given a "bronzed" look as if it's on a coin or the face of a shield. The bottom part of the poster was an image of Tatara-Ba ("Iron Town" in the dub), also in a bronze color. I took a picture of the poster, but accidentally deleted the data. Sorry. The poster had a line, "The fate of the world rests on the courage of one warrior". It might not represent this film accurately, but if American audience would be lured to the theaters with such a description, I won't complain.

Actually, I was sort of hoping to see a big Princess Mononoke banner or something in front of the Hall, but this poster was the only thing that showed that the night's event was the screening of Princess Mononoke. Maybe the Film Festival had a restriction on how much advertising a film company can do at the screening. But I had hoped that Miramax would take this opportunity to create more visibility for Princess Mononoke.

But at least Miramax had a lot of staff people working there, and they were having the last-minute meeting. Unfortunately, I couldn't hear what they were saying.

fansIt was around 6 PM, and we went outside again. People were starting to gather around the entrance. There were fans who were making a hand-made Mononoke Poster, drawing a face of San on the spot. It made me smile to see that American fans do the same thing as Japanese fans.

We continued to talk with several people, including folks from the Blue Sky Studio, whom I went to Ghibli with in last May (oh, what a day that was!). They were invited to the festival by Miyazaki-San, and they were going to the dinner hosted by Miramax afterwards. Well, of course I was jealous.

Tom alerted us that Neil Gaiman had just walked out of the limousine and went inside. I completely missed him, but it turned out that he showed up again later. Someone was saying "Who is the guy? He is like a rock star" (^^)

neil and harvey

Another black limousine pulled up and a huge guy appeared out of it. Had I not seen his picture before, I would've thought that he is a member of the Mafia. (^^; Of course, it was Harvey Weinstein, the president of Miramax.

(The picture was taken a bit later, when he was talking with Neil Gaiman while Miyazaki-San was being interviewed by the press.)


Then, finally, a big black van pulled up and Miyazaki-San appeared. Mr. Suzuki and several people were with him. He started to walk, but soon stopped to talk to the press. Many recording microphones were above his head. Everyone was rushing to get a picture of him.

(More pictures of him. Image heavy)

gaiman and miyazaki

He stopped several times to talk to the press, and then talk to Havey Weinstein and Neil Gaiman, who were waiting for him near the entrance. Miyazaki-San and Gaiman talked briefly, and shook their hands.

weinterin, miyazaki, gaiman
Afer that, there was a photo opportunity for the press. Miyazaki-San, Gaiman, and Weinstein lined up for camera.

Then Miyazaki-San went inside, and I overheard Harvey Weinstein telling someone, "A truly amazing film. Really great. It reminded me of..." Oh! what was the movie's title? Might be "Young Jessie James", but I'm not sure.

It's almost 6:30, the show time, so I went inside. I used to watch "Live from Lincoln Center" when I was living in the US, and I dreamed of the day I could go to a concert at Avery Fisher Hall. Never had I dreamed that I was going to watch Mononoke Hime there!

However, unfortunately, the first tier was really far back, so the screen which was hung on the stage looked really small. Many "Exit" signs also turned out to be rather distracting.

I got a program of NY Film Festival, which had one page about Princess Mononoke, but they spelled Miyazaki-San's name as "Hayoa" for the screenplay credit, although they spelled it right for the credit for director. :(

Miya on stageIt was already around 6:45, and people started clapping. The seats were almost full, but there were some empty seats. Finally, the organizer appeared on stage, and made a brief comment on how fortunate they were to get to show such a film. Then he introduced Jack Fletcher (the dubbing director), Neil Gaiman, Harvey Weinstein, Scott Martin (a Miramax guy who was responsible for MH), Claire Danes, Suzuki-San (Ghilbi's producer), and finally, Miyazaki-San to a huge cheer.

Miyazaki-San made a little speech. He said that he had worried how the people with different cultural backgrounds would react to such a movie, but the people he met in Toronto, LA, and NY made him feel that there are people who understand this movie well, and that turned his trip into a happy one. (Sorry for not a good picture here. I was sitting far back, and the Hall was really dark, even with flash.)

When the movie ended, there was a huge applause, but as American audience always do, they started leaving the theater as soon as the ending credits started rolling. Unlike other Miyazaki movies,Mononoke Hime has no image during the ending credit, so it is understandable that they felt that they can now leave.

In the middle of the ending credits, a spotlight was on one of the balconies, where Miyazaki-San was sitting, and people applauded again. When the credits ended and the lights came on, there were still some people, who stood up and applauded for Miyazaki-San again. He waved, and left.

I went to a dinner with Tom and two other nice people, Paul and Pamela, where we talked over the film we had just seen. Each one of us had different complaints against the dub, but we all liked it over all.

Ok, that's about it with my report. It was really nice meeting you guys from the ML, and it was certainly a great day for me!

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