Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


Since the nineteenth century, Japanese artists have experimented with forms of the graphic novel (or manga), transcending the literal and entering the realm of speculation and metaphor. Adapted from Yuki Urushibara's widely celebrated manga, Bugmaster transports us into a visually mesmerizing, softly poetic, fantastical world that explores the shifting relationship between nature and human beings.

Ginko is amushishi (bugmaster), a gifted healer who expertly manipulates mushi (bugs), small supernatural beings in touch with the essence of life and death. Though few can see them, mushi permeate both nature and humans, casting haunting spells. With silver hair, a missing eye, and troubling gaps in his memory, the mysterious Ginko travels through premodern Japan, rescuing those plagued by these phantom spirits. While searching for answers of his own, he meets the beautiful Tanyu, a crippled bugmaster who records the history of the mushi by locking them into scrolls. When the mushi escape Tanyu's scrolls and attack her, Ginko must save her and, at the same time, rescue the traces of a vanishing age.

In his second live-action foray, famed animator Katsuhiro Otomo (Steamboy, Akira) delicately blends CGI animation with poignant performances to create a fully realized mythical universe where human beings and nature are inextricably bound by otherworldly, primordial codes.

— Kevin Lau

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]