Miyazaki’s Totoro to Close Hollywood Film Fest

This year’s Hollywood Film Festival will open on Oct 18 with Warner Bros.’ Val Kilmer/Robert Downey Jr. action-comedy, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, and close on Oct. 23 with the world premiere of a new English-language version of Hayao Miyazaki’s classic animated feature, My Neighbor Totoro. Most screenings will take place at Arclight Theatres, located at 6360 Sunset Blvd.

First released in 1988, My Neighbor Totoro is the story of two girls who move to the country to be near their ailing mother and end up having fantastic adventures with colorful forest spirits. This new dub features the voice of ubiquitous child star Dakota Fanning and her sibling, Elle Fanning.

Miyazaki’s latest toon opus, Howl’s Moving Castle, will receive the fest’s Animation of the Year award. The film is a love story about an 18-year-old girl trapped in an old woman’s body and a magician who undertake a magical adventure on an enchanted walking castle.

War of the Worlds will be honored with the festival’s Hollywood Visual Effects of the Year Award. Director by Steven Spielberg’s summer blockbuster features vfx work by Industrial Light & Magic, led by six-time Oscar winner Dennis Muren. (Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Abyss).

Batman Begins, directed by Christopher Nolan, will take home the Hollywood Sound of the Year Award. The film’s supervising sound editor is David G. Evans, whose film credits include Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and the David Cronenberg pics Spider, Crash and The Fly.

The Hollywood Make-Up of the Year Award will be bestowed upon Sin City from directors Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. Industry legend Gregory Nicotero (Ray, Kill Bill) helped bring Miller’s graphic novels to the screen with prosthetics that transformed actors Mickey Rourke and Nick Stahl into depraved denizens of Basin City.

War of the Worlds, Batman Begins and Sin City are all nominated for the Movie of the Year award. Also up for the prize are George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode III–Revenge of the Sith,Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man, Fernando Meirelles’ The Constant Gardener, Paul Haggis’ Crash, Craig Brewer’s Hustle and Flow and David Dobkin’s Wedding Crashers. The winner will be decided by public voting at the Yahoo! Movies website, www.movies.yahoo.com.

This year’s program includes films from more than 20 countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S. The finalists were selected from more than 2,200 film submissions.

The festival is also presenting the Hollywood Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Festival showcase of horror films on October 21, 22 and 23, in alliance with Film Threat magazine. For a complete festival schedule go to www.hollywoodfestival.com.