Hayao Miyazaki's 'The Boy and the Heron' to open Toronto Film Festival

This image released by Studio Ghibli shows poster art for "The Boy and the Heron" by director Hayao Miyazaki. The film will be the opening night presentation for the 48th Toronto International Film Festival. (Studio Ghibli via AP) (Uncredited)

NEW YORK – “The Boy and the Heron," the first film in a decade by Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki, will open the 48th Toronto International Film Festival, organizers announced Thursday.

The long-awaited “The Boy and the Heron” opened earlier this month in Japan under the title “How Do You Live?” Miyazaki, the 82-year-old co-founder of Studio Ghibli and the maker of films including “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro,” came out of retirement to make his 12th feature.

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“The Boy and the Heron," about a boy named Mahito whose mother is killed in the WWII fire bombings of Tokyo, was released without any trailer or marketing promotions in Japan as a way, Miyazaki has said, to make seeing the film more of a discovery.

But “The Boy and the Heron” will get a big platform to make its North American premiere when it kicks off TIFF on Sept. 7 at the Roy Thomson Hall.

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

No release date has yet been announced but GKIDS will distribute “The Boy and the the Heron” later this year in North American theaters. The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 7-17.

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