studio ghibli tiff opening night

Studio Ghibli is taking over TIFF this year with a screening on opening night

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced that their Opening Night screening will spotlight legendary director Hayao Miyazaki's newest film, The Boy and the Heron. 

If that name doesn't ring a bell, you will probably recognize Miyazaki’s company, Studio Ghibli, the Oscar-winning studio behind some of the most beloved animated features in history. 

The announcement is historic in more ways than one. 

For starters, it's the first time a Japanese film has opened the festival and also represents the first time that an animated feature has been selected as the opener, which speaks to the respect and distinction that Miyazaki has earned during his prolific career.

Even before the announcement, though, the film has been top of mind for the dedicated Studio Ghibli fan base, as well as the wider film community. 

The Boy and the Heron is the first feature film Miyazaki has directed in the last 10 years, and after its exclusive release in Japan earlier this year, the hype levels have only gone up. 

Part of what has resonated with audiences so far is the film's artful production. 

In textbook Ghibli fashion, the entire animation was hand-drawn. The film was also scored by Joe Hisaishi, the musical mind behind other Ghibli classics, including Nausica and Spirited Away

The film's TIFF screening will also mark its international premiere, finally giving audiences outside Japan the opportunity to see what's already been called a "masterpiece" by TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey. 

TIFF's official announcement published earlier today describes the film as "a simple story of loss and love" that "rises to a staggering work of imagination," with Bailey also expressing his excitement for the audience to experience the production for themselves. 

If it's anything like the "transformative experience" he describes it as, we should have another Ghibli classic on our hands.

The big night is only a few weeks away, with the festival set to kick off on September 7. 

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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