Arts·The Filmmakers

How an anime film opened actor and filmmaker Connor Jessup's eyes — and changed his life

The star of 'American Crime and 'Closet Monster' shares his love for the 1991 Japanese film 'Only Yesterday'.

The star of 'American Crime' and 'Closet Monster' shares his love for 'Only Yesterday'

Anime can change your life! Connor Jessup shares the Japanese film that inspired him


4 years ago
The "American Crime" and "Closet Monster" star talks about his love for the 1991 animated film "Only Yesterday." 2:19

Usually when we ask creators about the piece of art that changed everything for them, they name something tied to a formative childhood memory, like Kim's Convenience creator Ins Choi on Bruce Lee or Chantal Kreviazuk on Tori Amos. But actor and filmmaker Connor Jessup proves it's never too late to find the thing that changes your life.

Jessup didn't see the 1991 Japanese animated film Only Yesterday until recently, but it completely opened his eyes when he did. Jessup, who is best known for his acting roles on the TV series American Crime and as the star of Stephen Dunn's award-winning film Closet Monster, is a budding screenwriter and director (his fourth short film Lira's Forest  is premiering at TIFF this month) — and he found much to be inspired by in Isao Takahata's adult-oriented animation.

Only Yesterday — which was produced by Japan's famed animated film studio, Studio Ghibli — tells the story of a 27-year-old woman in Tokyo who takes a trip to the countryside and recollects her childhood. In this video, Jessup stops by our CBC Arts studio (after weighing in on Xavier Dolan on CBC Arts' talk show The Filmmakers) to take us through his favourite moment from the film and tell us how it ended up changing his life.

Watch The Filmmakers this Saturday at 10:00 p.m. (10:30 NT) on CBC Television, or stream it at After the episode, stick around to see this week's feature presentation, Deepa Mehta's Water.


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