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Feature Film

Studio Ghibli’s ‘The Red Turtle’ Will Premiere At Cannes

One of the most anticipated animated features of 2016 will have one of the most coveted film premiere slots: the Cannes Film Festival.

The festival, which runs May 11-22, has announced that Michael Dudok de Wit’s The Red Turtle will premiere in its Un Certain Regard category. The project marks the feature-length debut of the 62-year-old director who has received much praise throughout the years for his short films The Monk and the Fish (1994) and Father and Daughter (2000).

Though produced in Europe, The Red Turtle was made under the auspices of Studio Ghibli. Dudok de Wit reportedly created the storyboards at Ghibli in Japan under the oversight of Isao Takahata, who is credited as the film’s artistic producer.

The story follows the life of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs and birds. Dudok de Wit has said that he hopes the film “shows a deep respect for nature, including human nature, and conveys a sense of peace and awe at the immensity of life.” These environmental themes, which are often at the core of Ghibli films as well, give some clues as to why Hayao Miyazaki personally selected the project to be the Ghibli’s first international co-production.

Pascale Ferran (Lady Chatterley, Bird People) served as the film’s co-writer with Dudok de Wit. Prima Linea Productions handled the animation production; other companies involved in the production and financing of Red Turtle include Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions, Arte France Cinema, CN4 Productions, and Belvision.

Toho will release The Red Turtle in Japanese theaters in September. No American release is scheduled at this time, though it’s hard to imagine the film won’t receive a stateside theatrical release at some point.

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  • Ghibli Fan

    Cool, I wasn’t actually expecting this movie to be branded as a Ghibli co-production. I didn’t know that Isao Takahata was heavily involved in the project either. I was just assuming that Ghibli was contributing to the animation, like they did with Ghost in the Shell 2.

    • jojo

      Actually, as the article says, the animation is done in France, not in Japan.

  • Such a fascinating team-up. I hope interviews at Cannes reveal more about the behind-the-scenes of this production. Especially since looks sort of CG? I guess maybe cel-shaded/2D hybrid? The turtle and the raft look CG in the top-most pictures, but then the humans look more hand-drawn..if that’s the case, I wonder if Ghibli had to bring in more/new people since they only did minimal CG previously.
    And I hope it makes its way stateside so I can see it in theaters.

    • Noah

      Everything is hand drawn except for the turtle, which is CGI.

      • That’s awesome! Do you have a link about that somewhere? Would love to read more about it.

  • David

    Can’t wait for this. And the fact that it is premiering in Cannes is an additionally exciting. One of my most anticipated films this year.

  • Steven Bowser

    I feel like calling it a “Ghibli film” seems misleading. How much does this actually have to do with Ghibli? Was this even made by them? Because it seems less like a Japanese production and more of a European one.

    • Sara Bersani

      “Though produced in Europe, The Red Turtle was made under the
      auspices of Studio Ghibli. Dudok de Wit reportedly created the
      storyboards at Ghibli in Japan under the oversight of Isao Takahata, who
      is credited as the film’s artistic producer.”
      Having one of the founders in the main staff should qualify enough

      “These environmental themes, which are often at the core of Ghibli films
      as well, give some clues as to why Hayao Miyazaki personally selected
      the project to be the Ghibli’s first international co-production.”

      • Steven Bowser

        I guess the visual style is just so different that I have trouble seeing it as a full-fledged “Ghibli film” alongside films like Spirited Away or Princess Kaguya

        • Sara Bersani

          I understand, but this difference is what makes the project so interesting

          • Steven Bowser

            Yea, for sure. I’m really interested in this. I’m just not expecting it to bear any recognizable marks of Ghibli. It’s probably just going to seem like a French film, because it mostly is.