Suzuki was attending due to his role as a producer on Michael Dudok de Wit’s Oscar-nominated feature The Red Turtle. (Dudok de Wit did not attend because of the César Awards that took place in Paris yesterday.) Dudok de Wit’s film, indeed, played a role in bringing Miyazaki out of a self-imposed “retirement” that he announced with great fanfare in 2013.
At the end of the discussion about The Red Turtle, one of the event moderators, Pixar director Pete Docter, asked Suzuki if he had any other news that he wanted to share about what was happening at Studio Ghibli nowadays.
Suzuki, through a translator, gave a long answer about how Hayao Miyazaki had approached him last July with about 20 minutes’ worth of storyboards for a feature idea. Miyazaki wanted to know if the idea was any good. Suzuki joked that he knew if he told Miyazaki the idea was good, he could forget about his own retirement, but he told Miyazaki that the idea had promise and that he should keep developing it.
Miyazaki, said Suzuki, was in part motivated by the production of Dudok de Wit’s The Red Turtle to return to feature filmmaking. Though The Red Turtle was animated in Europe, Miyazaki watched Suzuki produce the film and kept close tabs on its production.
Suzuki decided in December 2016 that Miyazaki’s film was solid enough to produce, and they’re now gearing up to produce the feature. In other words, this is a story that’s just getting started.