It took around 10 years to complete “Poupelle of Chimney Town,” an animated film released on Wednesday. Back in 2016, a picture book written under the same title was published in Japan. You may consider that this film is based on the picture book released earlier. However, Akihiro Nishino, the producer of the film and the author of the picture book, said in an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo, “I wrote a scenario for the film in 2011. The picture book in 2016 is a spinoff of the film.”
It is an unusually unique way of production by which a spinoff goes before an original. “A story in a film has to unfold to add up to suspense and excitement over time. However, it only takes one second to impress readers,” Mr. Nishino said. “I wanted pictures to capture the interest of those who are not my fan yet.”
As he wished, the picture book gained a lot of popularity, selling around 700,000 copies in Japan. Its lyrical illustrated drawings were highly commended, which proved that his creative production methodology worked out. “I spent four years working on the picture book in cooperation with a total of 33 authors,” he said. When he drafted a rough storyline and sketch drawings, they picked up the job for further details. The production project was supported by crowd funding. Mr. Nishino intended to make sure that the film feels humane and warm by describing it in hand-sketched manners. Last year, the film recorded about 1.8 million in the Japanese box office.
When the premiere of the film was rejected by movie theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Nishino recruited a group of children at orphanages who hoped to watch the film and connected them on social media to grown-ups who were willing to buy movie tickets for them. As the film went viral, around 40 distributors from all over the globe offered him an opportunity to export the film.
To everyone's surprise, Mr. Nishino started acting as a comedian at the age of 19. He turned into a picture book author as he wished to do something else that can be free of language barriers. When he asked for crowd funding, people were not as familiar with the initiative as they are today. They disliked him, calling him a con man. “Poupelle of Chimney Town” is based on the author’s personal experience where he is mocked and teased just because he speaks up on his dreams.