Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron, the latest animated fantasy from Japan’s Studio Ghibli is set to open the 71st San Sebastian Festival, screening on Sept. 22.
In a few of weeks, Miyazaki's final and self-declared movie, Bowing San Sebastian, will accomplish the remarkable feat of debuting at both the Toronto and San Sebastian film festivals.
The movie will have its European premiere at San Sebastian. The Toronto-San Sebastian double is evidence of San Sebastian's increased emphasis on animation and the high regard in which Miyazaki is held.
The Japanese director's movie will screen at the San Sebastian Festival for the fourth time, but this is the first time he will be a part of its Official Selection, the festival announced on Thursday.
With Spirited Away, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (2008) and The Wind Rises, respectively, Miyazaki has already performed in San Sebastian's big screen Velodrome.
Sultana's Dream, an additional animated film by Isabel Herguera, is in competition with San Sebastian. The third film, They Shot the Piano Player, was written and directed by Oscar-winner Fernando Trueba.
However, Juan José Campanella's Foosball (2013) began in San Sebastian with an animated film.
The highest premiere in Studio Ghibli history, The Boy and the Heron had its release earlier this year in Japan, grossing $13.2 million in its first weekend. Mahito Maki, the protagonist of the movie, finds an abandoned tower in his new town and ventures into a magical realm where a talking grey heron accompanies him.
The Boy and the Heron is being distributed by Gkids in North America, where it will be seen in theatres later this year.