Home Entertainment ‘Your Name,’ ‘The Garden of Words’ Artist Yoshitoshi Shinomiya Makes Feature Directorial...

‘Your Name,’ ‘The Garden of Words’ Artist Yoshitoshi Shinomiya Makes Feature Directorial Debut With ‘A New Dawn’ (EXCLUSIVE)

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Anime artist Yoshitoshi Shinomiya cut his teeth working on films by superstar Japanese filmmaker Makoto Shinkai, including the director’s box office smash hit “Your Name.” Now, Shinomiya is prepping his feature directorial debut, “A New Dawn,” a profoundly personal film inspired by the changing Japanese landscape after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.

Tokyo-based Asmik Ace (“Inu-Oh,” ” Tekkonkinkreet”) and France’s Miyu Productions (“Chicken for Linda,” “Dozens of Norths”) are producing the feature, which the former will distribute globally.

“A New Dawn” unwinds inside an inactive fireworks factory that is about to go into administrative action. For the past four years, young Keitaro has lived inside the derelict structure, chasing the illusion of a father who vanished years before. The location used to be nestled in a lush forest, but the surrounding area has recently been redeveloped by the city, which covered the land with solar panels. Only a scant bit of greenery around the factory remains amongst the sea of panels.

Asmik Ace, Miyu Productions

With the end of his makeshift home just around the corner, Keitaro commits to launching a firework his father left behind before the building is repossessed. He recruits his brother and a childhood friend to help close this chapter of his life and bring about a new dawn.

Key artists working on the film include character designer Utsushita, art director Akiko Majima, and composer Shuta Hasunuma.

Speaking with Variety, Shinomiya said that the idea for “A New Dawn” first came to him back in 2016. “One day, on the way to my workshop, my child looked out the car window and cried out, ‘I can see the sea!’” the director recalled. “I realized that the solar panels my child saw through the trees actually looked like the surface of the water. At that moment, I thought, ‘This is a new scenery of Japan, and the next generation will capture it with this kind of sensitivity, though I saw such landscape as something negative.’ I felt that moment was very meaningful to me, and I believe it was the beginning of this project.”

Asmik Ace, Miyu Productions

Describing the film’s primary visual influences, the director explained, “In developing the scenario, I learned that the paper, seaweed, and pigments used to make Japanese paintings had commonalities with fireworks before the Edo period. I had always held the items as paints detached from such a traditional context, but in fact, for pyrotechnicians, there were materials that could be substituted for gunpowder. That was a very fresh surprise. Even with this kind of modern lifestyle, there was something that such artisan culture of 100 or 200 years ago had in common.”

“A New Dawn” is currently in production and will be released sometime in 2025.