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.