Yoshiaki Nishimura INSPIRES at DNEG London!

Oscar®-Nominated Writer/Producer of Netflix’s ‘The Imaginary’ shares insight for DNEG Animation’s INSPIRE series

We were thrilled to host Oscar®-nominated Yoshiaki Nishimura as a special guest for DNEG Animation’s INSPIRE Series!

Last week at the London studio, we welcomed the Writer/Producer behind The Imaginary for a conversation about the groundbreaking Netflix film. Moderated by DNEG Animation’s Shane Mulholland (Producer), the duo spoke about the ongoing popularity of hand-drawn animation, the creation of Yoshiaki’s Studio Ponec, the importance of collaboration and international partnerships in the industry, and more.



Kicking off their conversation, they took a closer look at Yoshiaki’s illustrious career so far. Starting as a games creator before landing at Studio Ghibli, Yoshiaki worked on the production team for Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) and served as Animation Producer on The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013), for which he received an Academy Award® nomination. In 2015, Yoshiaki founded Studio Ponoc with the intent to create films that spoke to children. Since its inception, the studio has produced a number of animated works – most recently The Imaginary (2023), based on the renowned book by A.F. Harrold and illustrated by Emily Gravett.

Speaking of The Imaginary, Yoshiaki shared a closer look at bringing the film to life, touching on the hand-drawn animation style, the groundbreaking, first-of-their kind techniques used to create the film’s light and shadow, and incorporating the use of traditional Japanese woodblock printing in the animation processes.


Among other things, Yoshiaki talked about how a 2D painted style of film allows for greater audience connection:
“Because the images are vague and imperfect, audiences all over the world use their own cultures, experiences, preferences to fill in that story and complete the images. And I think that is the reason why hand drawn animation and hand painted animation is so appreciated.”
He also shared why he believes films can change people’s lives – and the world:
“I genuinely believe one film could change somebody’s life. And that in turn could change the world that we live in. Because a film has the power to affect somebody’s life deeply in that moment, but can also act like a seed that’s been planted that could have the power to blossom and have a very significant effect in somebody’s life 10-20 years down the line. And that has the power to create a better world and encourage positive change. I’m sure some of you believe in this as well. So, that’s something that I really will carry on in my life, even if it comes to, you know, closing Studio Ponoc, I don’t think I will ever abandon this idea.”

Thank you for inspiring us, Yoshiaki!




Los Angeles