Having received a standing ovation at the recent Cannes Film Festival, Red Turtle is set for release in Japan this September, and Studio Ghibli fans can't be any more excited. For the first time, a non-Japanese director has taken over the reins, resulting in a unique film like no other that's ever come out of the iconic studio.

Hayao Miyazaki may have retired, but there are many other mega-talented animators around the world, all of whom would jump at the opportunity to direct a Studio Ghibli-produced film. One of those directors is Michael Dudok de Wit, a Dutch animator who won Best Animated Short at the Academy Awards in 2001 for his film Father and Son. And of course, it's not like Michael sent a reel to Ghibli and asked them to consider him for their next project. He was already known to the creators at the studio, as they were all fans of his work, so when the idea came up for Red Turtle, there were no questions about who should be the director, despite Michael never having directed a feature film before. And not only is the director not Japanese, neither is the screenwriter, who happens to be a Frenchman named Pascale Ferran. Some fans of Studio Ghibli may find this worrisome, but there are no reasons for any kind of concern. The artistic producer for Red Turtle is none other than Isao Takahata, director of Grave of the Fireflies and the wonderful The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2015

Despite it being a co-production with French producers, which is also a first for Ghibli, the movie will have Studio Ghibli written all over it. After all, it was Miyazaki himself who set out to find Michael (the director) after he watched his short, and it is said that Michael even moved to Japan during pre-production to work on the storyboards at Ghibli. Red Turtle has no dialogue, and will screen a few weeks from now at the world-renowned Annecy International Animated Film Festival in Annecy, France on June 13. It will then premiere in France on June 29, followed by a Japanese release date of September 17.

Japanese trailer:

French trailer:

Are you excited or worried about this first for Studio Ghibli? 


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