This week, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) announced that Hayao Miyazaki’s latest anime film will be featured on opening night.
Studio Ghibli and the 82-year-old Hayao Miyazaki are back in full swing, for one last time. This week, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) announced that Miyazaki’s film The Boy and the Heron will be opening the festival as it will make its international debut. The screening will take place at Roy Thomson Hall on September 7, 2023. The film was originally released in Japan on 14 July 2023 and has already been a hit!
Word caught onto the news as TIFF tweeted out the details and even has a dedicated page on their website in preparation for the TIFF 2023 schedule. Domestically, the film has already earned 4.01 billion yen (28.82 million USD) on 2.61 million admissions. The film sold 1.003 million tickets and earned about US$13.2 million in its first three days! This was also the first time a Studio Ghibli film got a simultaneous IMAX release alongside a regular release. Additionally, it will be screening in Dolby Atmos, Dolby Cinema, and DTS:X.
CEO of TIFF Cameron Bailey, explained how significant this addition to the festival’s lineup and screenings this would be, “We are honoured to open the 48th Toronto International Film Festival with the work of one of cinema’s greatest artists. 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.”
Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki are no strangers to TIFF screenings as 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) have all been showed at the festival. However, this is a historic moment because no animated film has ever opened the festival, as said on the festival’s announcement. To add even more to the nostalgia factor, the film will feature an excellent score with Miyazaki’s long-time collaborator, Joe Hisaishi.
TIFF has also updated all of their announcement pages, noting they will be respecting SAG-AFTRA protocols regarding the participation of its members at the festival. While the SAG-AFTRA strike rules apply to domestic films, international films will not be affected. Film festivals have already seen some of the impacts of the strike when Venice lost Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers starring Zendaya, when the studio pulled the film from the festival and delayed its theatrical release.
While this opportunity for an anime film opening the festival came at an interesting time for the film industry, I am confident that this could be the perfect platform to elevate the art form of anime and animation. We may even see this nominated at the Oscars next year or Makoto Shinkai’s Suzume. GKIDS has already stated their licensing on the film, and it will be out across North American theatres later this year. So, if you cannot make it to TIFF this year, there is not too much to worry about. The 48th edition of TIFF will be held in Toronto, Canada, from September 7 to 13, 2023.