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Miyazaki's 'The Boy And The Heron' To Open Toronto International Film Festival

Hayao Miyazaki's
latest film, now officially titled The Boy And The Heron is now out in Japan. Yet we knew next to nothing about it right up until release, thanks to Studio Ghibli's unprecedented decision not to release any trailers, clips, or synopsis. The film opened to $13.2 million in its opening weekend, making it the biggest debut in the studio's history. It has gone on to sell a total of 2.3 million tickets and made a total of  3.6 billion yen (around $25.4 million)

GKIDS Films have announced that they have picked up the North American rights and will release the film in the US and Canada later this year. There will be a chance to catch the film before then for fans in Canada.

The Boy And The Heron has been announced as the opening night film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Previous Ghibli films have screened at TIFF, but they have never had the honour of being selected as the opening film. It will screen on September 7. This is the first time in the Festival's history an animated film has been chosen to open the festival, as well as the first Japanese film.

“We are honoured to open the 48th Toronto International Film Festival with the work of one of cinema’s greatest artists,” said Cameron Bailey, CEO of TIFF. “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.” 

The film's story takes place in Japan during World War II. After losing his mother in the fire bombings of Tokyo Mahito and his father move to the countryside. There his father remarries his late mother's pregnant sister. As he struggles with this situation he encounters a talking heron and enters another world based on the promise of meeting his mother again.

The Boy And The Heron is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and Takeshi Honda is the animation director. Long time collaborator Joe Hisashi returns to compose the music and Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki is the producer.

The Toronto International Film Festival will run this year from September 7 to 17. The screening of The Boy And The Heron will take place at Roy Thomson Hall.