TALES FROM EARTHSEA Director: Goro Miyazaki Voicers: Junichi Okada, Aoi Teshima, Yuko Tanaka, Teruyuki Kagawa Prelude: The story is adapted from the Earthsea series, a fantasy classic written by American writer Ursula K. Le Guin, which is ranked alongside The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. Earthsea is a fictional realm that is, like Japan, an archipelago of islands surrounded by ocean. It is a pre-industrial civilisation where wizards maintain law and keep the peace with their magic. The story: Earthsea is collapsing. Crops wither, animals fall ill, people act strangely and the dragons, which normally live far away, appear. A powerful wizard decides to track down the source of evil to prevent civilisation from crumbling. During the quest, he comes across Arren, a prince who deserts his homeland, and an abandoned girl who is about to be taken by slave traders. Together they unveil a vengeful plot by Cob, a once great wizard whose fear of death leads him to open the door between the worlds of the living and of the dead. This is the cause of the imbalance in the world. The film: Animation master Hayao Miyazaki (Howl's Moving Castle) has wanted to bring the story of Earthsea to the screen since the early 1980s. His dream has now been realised by his eldest son Goro, who is equally fascinated with Le Guin's stories. Goro said he hoped his debut film will inspire people to lead a fruitful life. 'I hope people treasure every day they live. To eat, work and treasure those around us - this is what leading a serious life is about.' Behind the scenes: Hayao Miyazaki, who said he sacrificed family life for his career, was at first reluctant for his son to become an animator. But when Goro, who wanted to make Tales from Earthsea as a tribute to his father, showed him a drawing of a scene for the film, Miyazaki was impressed by his son's talent and enthusiasm. The drawing is the poster for the movie. About Studio Ghibli: Founded in 1985, Studio Ghibli is one of the world's greatest animation studios. Apart from the famed animations directed by Miyazaki such as Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997), and Spirited Away (2001), the studio also produces high-quality films by other animators, such as Isao Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies (1988), a touching tale of two children orphaned in the second world war. Tales from Earthsea opens on October 26.