Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” Sold Out At Toronto Film Festival

Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” Sold Out At Toronto Film Festival

Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron will enjoy its international premiere on September 7 at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The hand-drawn animated film, which Miyazaki says will be his swan song, will be the opening night feature at the prestigious festival.

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Even though the acclaimed director will not be present for the premiere, the screening is already sold out, say festival officials. It is the first time that an animated film will have opened the event, as well as the first Japanese film to do so.

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The Boy and the Heron, which is Miyazaki’s first feature in ten years, had its premiere in Japan earlier this summer, where it earned about $48 million without any promotional or marketing campaign. GKIDS will be releasing the movie for North American distribution later this year.
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Set during World War II, the film tells the story of Mahito Maki (voiced by Soma Santoki), a 12-year-old boy who enters a magical dimension after he encounters a talking heron in a forest. Other characters are voiced by Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki, Aimyon, Yoshino Kimura, Takuya Kimura, Karou Kobayashi, and Shinobu Otake. The musical score was composed by Miyazaki’s long-time collaborator, Joe Hisaishi.

Over the years, several of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli films have enjoyed the spotlight at TIFF. They include The Red Turtle (2016), The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2014), The Wind Rises (2013), From Up on Poppy Hill (2011), Spirited Away (2002), and Princess Mononoke (1999).

Miyazaki, now 82, cofounded Studio Ghibli in 1985 with Isao Takahata. His films have grossed some $1.6 globally while breaking box-office records in Japan. In 2002, Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, and in 2013 The Wind Rises was nominated for the same award. In 2014, Miyazaki won an Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.

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