Guillermo Del Toro Presents ‘The Boy and the Heron’ at Open TIFF – The Hollywood Reporter

Hayao Miyazaki is animated The boy and the heron After opening the Toronto Film Festival with visual beauty and profound philosophical messages on screen, he received brief and polite applause, but without the red carpet glitz of Hollywood stars.

The Japanese anime legend was not seen at the international premiere in Toronto; instead, Studio Ghibli was represented by managing director Junichi Nishioka. And Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro helped launch Miyazaki’s latest animated film, making a surprise appearance on stage before the premiere audience at Roy Thomson Hall.

“He is perhaps the greatest animation director of all time,” said the Pinocchio director as he compared Miyazaki to Van Gogh and Mozart as an artistic genius. “You are lucky to be able to see (The boy and the heron) for the first time outside Japan,” del Toro added.

And in a year in which Toronto’s reliance on American celebrities for glitz and glamor was underscored by their absence from the premiere gala ceremony, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, national executive director and chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, walked the red carpet toward Roy Thomson Hall, ahead of a keynote address at TIFF on Friday afternoon as part of the industry conference.

Cameron Bailey, CEO of the Toronto Film Festival, was also on hand to present The boy and the heron at Roy Thomson Hall from 277 films from 74 countries showing in Toronto until September 17th. “I’m a fan,” Bailey said of Miyazaki after recounting how he showed his young son virtually all of the Japanese anime master’s animated films.

Handover of the premiere slot The boy and the heron It was the first time a Japanese film or animated title opened the major Canadian festival. It also hedged TIFF’s bet that the Hollywood strikes would not be resolved in time for an opening night that saw American stars walk red carpets to the Princess of Wales and Roy Thomson Hall theaters to kick off this year’s 48th edition .

Hollywood’s double strike, after SAG-AFTRA joined the Writers Guild of America in its own walkout, has banned members from promoting film titles tied to studios or streamers in Toronto, Venice or other fall festivals.

Elsewhere at TIFF, no official press conferences are scheduled for the 2023 edition, and the biggest celebrities likely to walk the red carpets in Toronto are directors such as del Toro, Viggo Mortensen, Patricia Arquette, Richard Linklater and Taika Waititi or stars with Indie films that were exempt from promotion by the SAG-AFTRA festival.

Films from streamers or studios, so-called “struck productions,” cannot get an exemption from the tentative agreement from the unions and are therefore shown in Toronto without A-list celebrities in the city to advertise.

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