After word late last year that The Wind Rises would in fact not be Hayao Miyazaki‘s swan song, we were waiting to hear if Studio Ghibli would do the obvious and greenlight his next feature-length animation. The director was reportedly working on up to 100 storyboards for the film as he awaited the go-ahead, and now official word has come in that the Spirited Away helmer has begun production on his next feature.
Miyazaki’s long-time producer Toshio Suzuki confirmed the news last night while at a pre-Oscars interview for the Studio Ghibli co-production The Red Turtle, which is nominated for Best Animated Feature. “Right now in Tokyo, he’s putting all his effort into making it [the feature],” says Suzuki, who will re-team with the director to produce, according to Kyodo (via Kotaku). Ideally aiming for a release in 2019, before Tokyo hosts the Olympics in 2020, Miyazaki realizes it could potentially take until 2021 to complete. As for what the film will be about, there have been rumors it is an expansion of his upcoming short, Kemushi no Boro (aka Boro the Caterpillar), but that has yet to be officially confirmed.
In the meantime, if one wants a taste of Ghibli-esque Japanese animation, former producer at the animation company, Yoshiaki Nishimura, founded Studio Ponoc last year and recruited many of his past co-workers to join him on their first feature-length project, Mary and the Witch’s Flower. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There), the film is an adaptation of Mary Stewart‘s The Little Broomstick, as scripted by the director and Riko Sakaguchi (The Tale of the Princess Kaguya), and we have a new trailer. The story follows a girl who goes an an enchanting adventure after being exiled to her great aunt’s house, and the film will arrive in Japan this summer, but no U.S. bow has been confirmed yet.
Check out the trailer below along with a video homage to Miyazaki’s flying sequences (via Fandor).