Hayao Miyazaki: The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness by john cheng

Mami Sunada has directed a documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness that explores  studio Ghibli that was lead by, in my opinion one of the best animators in the world, Hayao Miyazaki. I must see this!

Opens at IFC Center on 11/28, available nationwide on digital platforms starting 12/9! Granted near-unfettered access to the notoriously insular Studio Ghibli, director Mami Sunada follows the three men who are the lifeblood of Ghibli – the eminent director Hayao Miyazaki, the producer Toshio Suzuki, and the elusive and influential “other director” Isao Takahata – over the course of a year as the studio rushes to complete two films, Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises and Takahata’s The Tale of The Princess Kaguya. The result is a rare “fly on the wall” glimpse of the inner workings of one of the world’s most celebrated animation studios, and an insight into the dreams, passion and singular dedication of these remarkable creators.

Watch Hayao Miyazaki animate the final shot of his final film, The Wind Rises, in the new Studio Ghibli documentary, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. Exclusive clip for with permission of GKIDS.

Roving Typist by john cheng

The Roving Typist is a short documentary about C.D. Hermelin, "... a New York City-based writer who goes to city parks with his typewriter and writes stories for strangers."

He sits in parks and writes impromptu stories for passer-bys. It really makes you think about the interactions we have day to day with strangers, or if we're quite honest, the lack of interaction with our neighbors. Check out the video, or go find him in New York, but if you really want to get a story from him, you can order one at the Roving Typist.

Hattori Masanaga: Tsuba, Kozuka and Menuki Artisan by john cheng

I normally don't go clicking around randomly in Youtube, but I was happily surprised when I found this documentary about Hattori Masanaga who is a Tsuba, Kozuka and Menuki Artisan. Watch the video as he tells the story of his growing up while he intricately and expertly carves out beautiful patters and imagery.

Something that stuck out to me in this video was his learning process. He says in the video that when he unknowingly began his apprenticeship, he was never really taught how to do things. His mentor just told him to take some material, carve a line through it and once he was done, grind it away and start again. Masanaga only learned his craft by watching. Watching his mentor as well as the other apprentice work on their craft. This struck me as interesting, because looking back to how I learned, this is very much how I picked up some of the skill sets that I carry today. This is the reason why I watch so many process videos, to learn more and more in order to satiate my appetite for learning. Who knows, maybe I'll try carving a tsuba now.

This is truly craftsman ship at its finest. Taking pride in your work no matter what, is something that you don't see much anymore. I will be the first to come clean to that. Even though my job allows me to be creative, sometimes complaining gets in the way and my craft suffers. I hope in this new year, I will be better at taking pride in what I do and do it to the best of my ability as I hone my skills day to day just as Hattori Masanaga did in his earlier years.

Finding Vivian Maier by john cheng

The mysterious photographer, Vivian Maier, was only discovered after her undeveloped work was purchased from an auction. Watch the clip after the jump to see the trailer of the documentary unfolding the mystery that is Vivian Maier.

This is the official trailer for the documentary film, Finding Vivian Maier. Coming Soon in 2013 A film unraveling the life of the now famous Vivian Maier and John Maloof's journey to piece together Maier's past. (Film website) (Maier's photographs)