Distressing news for animation fans arrived from the Venice Film Festival over the weekend.
Hayao Miyazaki, director of such fan and critic favorites such as Spirited Away and Ponyo, as well as the upcoming The Wind Rises, announced that his latest film will be his last. Miyazaki, who won an Oscar in 2003 for Spirited Away, turned 72 back in January, so perhaps age has played a part in the decision.
The announcement was made during a press conference by Koju Hoshino, president of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki’s production company. Miyazaki himself did not have a statement, instead choosing to wait for a press conference to be held this week in Toyko.
Miyazaki has had a career rivaled by few. The Wind Rises is the director’s 11th feature film and he has directed nine other shorts, as well as television series. His work has legions of fans and is often a darling of critics as well, not an easy feat in today’s entertainment climate.
The Wind Rises has already found success in Japan and will make its North American debut during the Toronto Film Festival next week. Following that it will open at the New York Film Festival at the end of the month and be distributed by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures.
Photo: Studio Ghibli’s The Wind Rises