Akihabara Majokko Princess is an anime-flavoured short film starring Kirsten Dunst, directed by Terminator Salvation helmer McG, and featuring art direction from the artist Takashi Murakami. A celebration of Japanese anime culture, the four-minute film features actress Dunst as a magical anime princess singing a cover of the 80s musical hit Turning Japanese by The Vapors.
Conceived for the Pop Life: Art in a Material World exhibition -- which has just left London’s Tate Modern before travelling to Hambury and Ottowa -- Akihabara Majokko Princess was shot on the RED One camera over two days in the streets Tokyo's pop cultural mecca, the Akihabara district. Post-production -- including colour correction and visual effects -- was handled by sister companies Rushes in London and Company 3 in New York and LA.
"It was an honour to be able to collaborate on this work of art," says Stefan Sonnenfeld, Company 3’s co-founder and chief colourist on the project. "I appreciated the way Murakami approached colour in the piece and really enjoyed helping him realize his extremely vivid vision."
In keeping with Murakami’s pop aesthetic, Company 3 Flame artist Glen Bennett sweetened the original imagery by compositing magical-looking glitter and sparkles into the shots and adding richer, more colourful skies, making everything larger than life and very, very colourful. Sonnenfeld collaborated with Murakami to give the piece a consistent look, bringing out the chroma in buildings, skies and interiors, making background objects monochromatic and keeping skin tones neutral.
"Murakami was very engaged in the entire post production process, sitting side-by-side and collaborating with the artists throughout the project," recalls Sarita White, visual effects executive producer for Company 3. "With the help of Rushes, once Murakami left Company 3 in Los Angeles for London, we were able to get the files delivered and prepped for viewing at the Tate before his plane even landed at Heathrow."