Makoto Shinkai born in 1973 started his work in CG with a computer games company where he did many short CG animations for games.
He always enjoyed anime, manga, and games as a child watching anime such as Lupin. Impressed with stuff he saw as a child, he wanted to create something by himself. While working for the gaming company, he found technology had reached a point where almost all the animation could be done with one person with one computer. This started his dreams of making an independent short film resulting with "Her and her cat" which won a number of various awards.
Growing bolder, he quit his job to work full time on a new project "Voices of a Distant Star (Hoshi no Koe)". In June 2000, armed with just a celluar phone mail theme, he started the project. Working alone it took Makoto Shinkai roughly about 7 months to complete the task of animated his first full colour 25 minute long movie. Hoshi no Koe released in 2002 made its way to North America through fansubs where it became an instant hit with most fans and was quickly picked up by ADV films.
Makoto Shinkai now has a new project which will hopefully be released in 2004, a 50 minute feature film titled. "Beyond the Clouds: The promised place."
Below are some images that show Shinkai's CG work and some of the imagery in everyday life that inspired the scenes in Hoshi no Koe.
Other Voices (official website - japanese)
Makoto Shinkai Fan Site (non official - english)