The discussion ended on a somber note, as the panelists addressed rumors that Studio Ghibli would not return from a hiatus that was declared in August of 2014. Tonebayashi and Nishimura confirmed that they were no longer working there, as the studio had suspended making feature films. The only output is from Miyazaki, who makes short films for the studio museum. No current plans, even whether or not the studio would operate under a different name, could be announced.

The evening was brought to a rousing conclusion as all the panelists were brought onto the stage at the same time. As the eclectic group settled in, the first question for all was whether they could recall any moments during production that were particularly amazing, wonderful, or just plain horrible.

The producers of Sean the Sheep volunteered that learning their film would be released the same year as Inside Out brought on three days of sobbing.

Ale Abreu (Boy and the World) said that the aftermath of the first audience screening was a sad moment—because the audience was so sad. After two or three sleepless nights, the decision was made to change a single sequence. Instead of a vast dump swallowing a city whole, audiences would instead see a small town blossoming. Seeing this solve the problem was when Abreu knew the film was ready.

For his reply, Jonas Rivera (Inside Out) said his saddest moment was when his four-year-old got upset when they wouldn’t let him watch Boy and the World for a second time—that day.

Next, the filmmakers were asked if their film was what they had hoped it would be. The directors of Anomalisa said it was not exactly what they had expected, as there were new discoveries every day. Pete Docter (Inside Out) said it was what he was hoping for, and much more. Jonas Rivera said that seeing Inside Out in final form late in the process pulled him through the last of the five years of labor. Hiromasa Yonebayashi (When Marnie Was There) quietly said that the image he began with and the final film were the same. “It didn’t change.”

The next question dealt with influences. Specifically, the filmmakers were asked if they could remember a film they loved that inspired them to become animators. Pete Docter admitted that he wished his was an older classic, but it was actually The Rescuers. He recalled marveling at how “cool” Madame Medusa was; knowing it was fake, but believing it was real. One of the producers of The Sean The Sheep Movie said that he saw only one cartoon a week growing up and that it was invariably a Roadrunner. Afterward, he would reenact the whole thing with a friend. The maker of Anomalisa recalled watching Tom and Jerry every day.

Ale Abreu began studying animation when he was 13. A book about Time Masters by Rene Laloux was his first text. Since he had never seen the film itself, he tried to imagine what it was about, based on the illustrations. When it finally came to Brazil years later, he invited a friend to join him in seeing it. They were the only two in the audience. The movie was nothing as he had thought it might be—so he became an animator to create the films he had imagined. Time Masters, he said, changed his life, along with Fantastic Planet by Moebius.

Tonebayashi said that it was Studio Ghibli films that inspired him, and that it was an honor to continue the tradition. He said it was very unique that one studio could produce films like his favorite, the lively My Neighbor Totoro as well as Grave of the Fireflies, full of history and nightmares.

Duke Johnson (Anomalisa) grew up loving classic theatrical cartoons like Looney Tunes. He studied filmmaking as well as created fine art. When offered an opportunity to make an animated film, he discovered that it was the perfect marriage of all his interests. Mark Burton (The Sean the Sheep Movie) said he was more influenced by comedy than animation. As a youth, he created his own British-style Kids Comics.

The final question for the group was more specific: Was there a specific moment or scene in the film of which each filmmaker was particularly proud. Jonas Rivera quickly replied that, for him, it was a quiet moment when Riley is asleep, and Joy takes a moment to view a favorite memory. As she watched Riley skating with her parents, he commented, “Man, that’s the whole movie.”

The producers of The Sean the Sheep Movie suggested that Pixar could have simply released that moment as a short, leaving the field clear for anyone else to win the Academy Award. They then went on to cite their favorite moment, the scene in which Sean is placed in an animal shelter and takes in the scene. His eyes fill the screen, and minuscule eye movements show what he is thinking and feeling.

Rosa Tran offered that her favorite moment from Anomalisa was when Lisa sings "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." The script had called for "My Heart Will Go On," but the rights could not be secured. After trying out several songs, the actress spontaneously sang the Cyndi Lauper hit, making it just the right choice. Tran did not reveal to her animators that it took her two years to finally secure the rights to that song, even as they were animating the scene.

Duke Johnson said his personal favorite scene in Anomalisa was the rather graphic sex scene. They knew that it could have been exploitative, or inappropriately funny. Although on screen it unfolded organically, the scene itself took six months to film, and they did not know until it was screened for an audience if it would work. In the end, he concluded, audiences accepted it on its own terms.

Ale Abreu was very proud of the scene in which the boy finds the train that has taken his father away. As he searches the crowd, he slowly realizes that there are thousands of men, each of whom looks like his father.

Tonebayashi of When Marnie Was There spoke of the careful, nuanced way that Anna’s mental state was depicted. He was, he said, proud of the fact that they gently depicted the change in her character in a careful, nuanced manner. The moderators agreed that the most powerful scenes or moments in animation were so often found in silence. The program ended on that note.