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Yūjō: an animated film created by Luca Chiarotti with the soundtrack by his twin Carlo, a beautiful homage to Isao Takahata.


Welcome Luca and Carlo Chiarotti, it is an honor to have you here with us.

Can you please briefly describe, to our readers, what your animation film, Yūjō, is about? to our readers?

Carlo and Luca: The story of the animated short revolves around the meaning of the Japanese word "Yūjō" which means "friendship". Based on a true story, it tells of the friendship between Yū, a small fisherman and a strange fish named Jō. After a terrible storm, the sailors of a small village disappear together with the moon and stars at the bottom of the sea. Orphaned, the children of the village built a temple at the bottom of the sea and improvise as fishermen, until one of them finds a small sunfish imprisoned among the wreckage of one of the boats. Freed from captivity, the two become inseparable friends and grow up in this colorful underwater world. At the end of his existence, the little fisherman, now a village elder, understands that his playmate was actually the spirit of the moon imprisoned in the guise of a fish. Thus he completes the last act of his existence, giving the sea gods the small wooden jewel in the shape of a fish that has accompanied him throughout his life. The spirit of the moon thus freed, shines again in the night sky, bringing light and colors back into the lives of human beings. The film is dedicated to the memory and genius of director Isao Takahata.


Luca and Carlo Chiarotti

How did you understand that this was your vocation?

Luca and Carlo: We are twins who have shared a common passion for cartoon-related art and music since childhood. From an early age and then gradually growing up, thanks to natural competition and complicity, we tried to improve and explore our creative inclinations. One of us, Luca, has cultivated a talent for illustration and animation, following the path of art and design, while the other, Carlo, has developed a predilection for musical composition, and everything relating to the world of sounds. The paths of life have taken us down different paths, allowing us to delve deeper into our respective passions. The designer immersed himself in visual art, while the musician studied and honed his musical skills. Despite our separate lives, fate has reserved a unique opportunity for us: the chance to collaborate in the magical world of animation. We simply found ourselves working on projects, where animation and music could give life to a more complete art form. The mutual discovery of our artistic strengths led to a natural synergy. Now we work together  very often , each aware of the strength of the other, creating a unique and engaging union also due to the fact that we have known each other practically all our lives and not in a literal but real sense, despite the different paths we have taken, the bond in being brothers is reflected in the projects we create.


As you previously told us, Yūjō is a beautiful tribute to Isao Takahata co-founder of Studio Ghibli, director, producer and writer who passed away in 2018. Tell us a little about your relationship with him and how this idea was born.

Carlo and Luca: We had the honor of meeting master Isao Takahata during our unforgettable trip to Japan. During a special evening, we invited him to Florence as a special guest at our event called NEMOLAND, to present him with the NEMOLAND LEGEND award.


Carlo: On this extraordinary occasion, I had the opportunity to arrange a song taken from his film "The tales of Princess Kaguya". The piece performed by the voice of a young singer accompanied by a small string formation with harp, created a magical atmosphere that enchanted and moved the audience and the director himself. We were lucky enough to spend many days with him and his wife and it was a unique opportunity to get to know him better and share our experiences. When we learned the news of Master Takahata's passing, we were asked by Japan to make video testimonials of our friendship. We therefore decided to dedicate the academy's short film of the year to the Japanese master.


Isao Takahata and Carlo.

What's the difference between producing a short film and an animated film, for you?

Luca: The substantial difference is that in the world of animation, actors are created starting from their physical and above all emotional characteristics. There are no auditions with actors, but only an intense challenge between our creativity and the drawing paper.


Carlo: As far as I'm concerned, I'd say that for me the challenge is more or less the usual one. It's about entering the story with suitable musical backgrounds, characterizing the characters with melodies or songs, if the animated film is intended for the little ones, simple melodies.



What difficulties or challenges did you face during the development of the project?

Luca: The challenge belonged to the entire team, because we had to produce it a in a month, as a deadline. The execution, part of the work, with the supervision entrusted to artists such as John Nevarez, Sandro Cleuzo and Tony Tarantini, was created by the best former students of our Academy. The undersigned contributed to this project, writing the story, the lyrics of the song together with Federica Fabbri, head of the Academy's animation course, and creating the first character models and supervising the entire production together with the talented Tony Tarantini. An incredible and important contribution was given by the magical animations of Sandro Cleuzo and the talent in storytelling of John Nevarez.


Carlo: Challenges and difficulties are always part of the game, in this particular case, having to write a song in Japanese even with the help of Yui, the singer, was truly a great challenge.


Carlo Chiarotti in his studio.

Carlo, you composed Yūjō's beautiful soundtrack. What is the working approach when you need to create something exciting and profound like the one created for this project?

Thanks for the "beautiful soundtrack"... In fact this soundtrack is giving me a lot of satisfaction, I knew I had done my duty as a composer and I am having confirmation of this thanks to the numerous awards for music in this last period. The approach that I have been using regularly for a few years, despite the fact that inspiration arrives when you least expect it as in all creative works, is to ensure that the moment in which the little voice of inspiration whispers to me "Ok Carlo is the 'time to sit at the piano and write' is almost always on command. It is perhaps also the awareness that is acquired over the years that allows me this type of approach. As for making a soundtrack emotional and profound, with such beautiful animations and colors and atmospheres that already move you, it was quite easy and automatic. In the first part I tried through Sound Design to create a mysterious magical atmosphere with a string ostinato for the storm and a flute melody for the calm. For the second part, reminding me of the emotions unleashed by the concert in honor of Maestro Takahata, the choice to write a song in Japanese made everything even more exciting, and here Yui Horio's beautiful voice comes into play with which I ended up I immediately tuned in, just as my brother Luca's text then helped to make the message even more intense.



We noticed a large team, tell us more about these artists involved in this project.

Luca: Our original mission was to give our best alumni the opportunity to create an entire animated short alongside great artists who had already produced animation for the professional industry. All this achieved in just one month. We selected among our colleagues the artists who were closest to the style we wanted to create for the animated short and this allowed us year after year to refine the process until it was agile and fast.


Luca Chiarotti presenting one of his projects.

What is your biggest dream? A project not yet completed or a collaboration with another artist you look up to.

Luca: My biggest dream is to create an animated feature film where style and story are unique and original. A feature film that creates emotions and that demonstrates that even in Italy projects can be created for a transversal audience, children and adults - An animated short made in full animation and that really "tells" something. Personally I adore the artist and the man Sandro Cleuzo and after having created these animated shorts and many books with him, I would really like to try my hand at making a feature film with him.


Carlo: Continue to write music for cartoons and write for the animation legends known in recent years. Animation is already magical in its own right, it has that extra edge that allows you to become part of that world, what more could you want.... A collaboration with another artist I respect? The list would be really too long, I'll leave it up to fate to decide.



Who would you recommend "Yūjō" to? And why?

Carlo: I recommend it to those who love Studio Ghibli animation, it is no coincidence that it was dedicated to the Maestro, and I hope that those who watch it will be able to immerse themselves in the universal message of friendship and respect for other creatures that human beings continue to have mistreat and destroy.


Luca: To all those who think that the sea is blue and the sun yellow. When they have finished seeing Yujo, many reflect on the colors they have seen, at first they consider them out of place, but then they understand that the colors also serve the story. Reality contains a lot of grey, but in the innocent minds of children the world is always a place full of absurd colours, and unfortunately when we stop thinking about it it is because we have become adults. Overturning the preconceptions of our imagination helps us to see beyond the banality of things and every new discovery we experience enriches us inside. Yujò takes us inside this concept.


What advice would you give to a new filmmaker or novice composer?

Luca: To never forget that we directors, animators and designers are actually "storytellers" and that our ultimate goal is to tell new stories to bring emotions to life. Technique and technology are only the means by which we achieve the result. A successful film told you a story you didn't know, makes you smile, cry and make your heart ache again and again. We are the rooster of Disney's Robin Hood and I never stop remembering it.


Carlo: As regards my profession, that of a composer, I can advise you not to give up at the first difficulties and to persevere even while doing other things. My story says it all, I started making music professionally again after a period in which I practically did many other different jobs, but always linked to music. This is a profession that, although artistic, makes ever greater use of new technologies, and it is essential to stay up to date, so continually studying is the key to doing this job, as well as obviously loving what you do, which remains the key to everything .


One thing you wish you had discovered sooner?

Carlo: In hindsight, it's easy to say this or that, but we wouldn't be surprised so that's fine.


Luca: I actually think that the right time to discover new things is exactly when it happens. You wouldn't understand that one thing if you hadn't learned the others first.


What is your opinion on the involvement of artificial intelligence in the world of entertainment?

Luca: When in the 90s I was a traditional animator and illustrator the digital innovation arrived, many were worried about it. I was interested in understanding how to use it and today digital is the norm. and Now that a new tool has arrived I have approached it with the same curiosity as then and like a newborn I try to use this new tool to meet my creative needs. Having arrived from the traditional to today allows me to have a complete vision of what was and what will be. But despite everything I find myself spending many hours drawing with traditional techniques and this makes me love even more what comes out of my mind through my hands. As a teacher at Nemo Academy, I try to make my students understand that there would be no "today" without the teachers of yesterday.


Carlo: Here a truly unique chapter opens not only for the world of entertainment but for almost all professions. Like any major transition, it is not possible to predict what the actual impact will be, for now I will limit myself to observing and trying to understand as much as possible given that the innovations, if used correctly, can only make our task easier.


How do you see Italian cinema and what would you change?

Luca: At the moment we are experiencing a small happy moment for Italian productions, but I think we are still far from the masterpieces of the inimitable Bruno Bozzetto. I think that instead of chasing American animation typologies, we should try to find our own way of telling stories, imitating French animated cinema. A little secret? something is coming…


Carlo: I can't help but agree with what Luca wrote...I'm anxiously waiting to find out the secret.


What are you working on at the moment?

Luca: I'm writing the script of my next animated short that I will make again with Sandro Cleuzo and John Nevarez, and again the music will be entrusted to my brilliant brother Carlo. As tradition, the title will consist of only 4 letters and after Life, Yujo and Wish the next short will be titled "ToBe".


Carlo: Right now, I'm working on a cartoon by an animation legend Willie Ito called “Hello Maggie” with many incredible artists whose trailer was presented at the CTN EXPO event in Los Angeles in November.

I am also completing the music for a pilot episode of a very particular Italian animated series, written by a young and promising screenwriter, Filippo Panfi, and created by Studio Fat Unicorn in Florence of which I am part.

There is then a concert scheduled, the songs of which I have arranged, dedicated to Studio Ghibli with the "Florence Pops Orchestra" which I will have the honor of conducting. In reality I also have other jobs with fairly imminent deadlines which I can't talk about, however, they still involve video games and cartoons. In short, not much free time but happily busy with music.


Do you want to tell us about other projects or add something?

Luca: A month ago I presented at the CTN in LA a book co-written on the incredible life of Jerry Eisenberg (an incredible experience), a great animator and character designer of the past, and now I'm dealing with the next three authors, the late Masami Suda , Tony Benedict and WIllie Ito, of whom I will also make a documentary to testify to an incredible career.


Carlo: There is a project in which I am also a producer as well as a composer and which I really care about, which is the one dedicated to a great Florentine animator directed by Francesco Chiatante and with the participation of Claudio Giusti as animator.


Thank you for your time, we are proud to have Italian artists of your caliber in our third edition of Morgana Film Festival!

Carlo e Luca: Thank you very much to all the Festival Staff!


You can get in touch with Carlo at info@carlochiarotti.com


WATCH YŪJŌ HERE:



LUCA



CARLO




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