Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron from Studio Ghibli will open the 48th Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, September 7, at Roy Thomson Hall, it was announced today by Cameron Bailey, CEO of TIFF. The 48th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 7-17.
The screening will be the International Premiere of the film and the first outside of its release in Japan (under its original title How Do You Live), where it opened to record-breaking success. While several of Studio Ghibli’s films have screened at TIFF, including 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), this is the first time a Japanese film or an animated film has opened the Festival. The original story was written and directed by the Japanese filmmaker and produced by Oscar-winning Studio Ghibli, which Miyazaki co-founded.
The hand-drawn, animated feature — director Miyazaki’s first feature film in 10 years and rumored to be his last — features a musical score from Miyazaki’s long-time collaborator Joe Hisaishi. In a break with tradition, Studio Ghibli released the film in Japan without any promotion, marketing materials, or film description. GKIDS will distribute The Boy and the Heron in North America, where it will be released in theaters later in the year.
“We are honoured to open the 48th Toronto International Film Festival with the work of one of cinema’s greatest artists,” said Bailey. “Already acclaimed as a masterpiece in Japan, Hayao Miyazaki’s new film begins as a simple story of loss and love and rises to a staggering work of imagination. I look forward to our audience discovering its mysteries for themselves, but I can promise a singular, transformative experience.”
TIFF this week revealed its Gala and Special Presentation lineups, as well as their Doc program, that includes Craig Gillespie’s Dumb Money, starring Paul Dano, Shailene Woodley, Pete Davidson, Vincent D’Onofrio, America Ferrera, Nick Offerman, Anthony Ramos, Sebastian Stan, and Seth Rogen, and Lee, a biopic of starring Academy Award winner Kate Winslet as photographer Elizabeth ‘Lee’ Miller, the fashion model who became an acclaimed war correspondent for Vogue magazine during World War II, the narrative feature debut from documentary filmmaker Ellen Kuras that also stars Emmy Award winners Andy Samberg, Alexander Skarsgård and Josh O’Connor, Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard and Academy Award nominee Andrea Riseborough. They’ll also have The Burial, the new film from Maggie Betts (and her first since 2017’s Novitiate) starring Academy Award winners Jamie Foxx and Tommy Lee Jones, with Bill Camp, Jurnee Smollett, and Alan Ruck, as well as and David Yates’ Pain Hustlers, starring Chris Evans, Emily Blunt and Andy Garcia. The Doc lineup will include new films from Errol Morris, Frederick Wiseman, Raoul Peck, Lucy Walker, Karim Amer, Anand Patwardhan, Roger Ross Williams, Caroline Suh, Cara Mones, Jen Markowitz, and Claire Titley.
This announcement comes on the heels of TIFF’s recent showcase and audience favorite, POP Japan, celebrating the convergence of the cult, pulp, and popular in Japanese film and art, in which Miyazaki’s seminal films and most lauded classics, My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, were also featured.