The Berlin International Film Festival (a.k.a. Berlinale) today announced that Makoto Shinkai’s latest film, Suzume, will have its international premiere as part of the festival’s Competition section. Shinkai is scheduled to be in attendance at the festival along with actor Nanoka Hara and producer Genki Kawamura. Berlinale runs from February 16-26.
A romantic and fantastical coming-of-age story in line with Shinkai’s acclaimed features Your Name. and Weathering with You, Suzume is the story about a young girl traveling through various ruins across Japan while closing doors that lead to disaster. The fable was a way for the filmmaker to address the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, which caused nearly 20,000 deaths across Japan.
“At its core, Suzume is based on the massive disaster that occurred in Japan 12 years ago. I’m eager to see how this film translates to international audiences: what makes sense, what doesn’t, and what common ground we have across cultures. The film’s imminent international release will hopefully give me the answer to those questions,” said Shinkai. “And, I cannot thank our team members enough for their unprecedented talent and perseverance throughout the film’s production. On behalf of the entire team, I would also like to give thanks to all the fans who have cheered us on, making Suzume possible.”
Hara, who leads a cast of A-list Japanese talent as the voice of Suzume, commented, “As someone who has never been outside my home country, it’s a dream-come-true to attend the Berlin International Film Festival with the Suzume’ team. Time and time again, I’ve been so happy to be a part of this film. I’m looking forward to seeing the international audiences’ reactions at the festival and hope the entire world falls in love with the movie!”
Suzume hits theaters around the world this April, distributed by Crunchyroll, in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Wild Bunch International and Eurozoom (excluding Asia). Last May during the Cannes Film Festival, Crunchyroll acquired the international distribution and marketing rights (excluding Asia) from TOHO for the film produced by CoMix Wave Films and STORY inc.
Suzume debuted in Japan on November 11 and has now surpassed 9.63 million admissions. The film has earned 12.8 billion yen (approx. $99 million USD) in 10 weeks.