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    Guillermo Del Toro Introduces ‘The Boy and the Heron’ to Open TIFF – The Music news


    Hayao Miyazaki’s animated The Boy and the Heron earned brief and polite applause after it opened the Toronto Film Festival with visual beauty and deep philosophical messages on screen, but without the draw of red carpet glitz from Hollywood A-listers.

    The Japanese anime legend was a no-show in Toronto for the international premiere, with Studio Ghibli instead represented by executive Junichi Nishioka. And Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro helped introduce Miyazaki’s latest animation film as he made a surprise appearance on stage in front of the first-night audience at Roy Thomson Hall.

    “He may be the greatest director of animation ever,” the Pinocchio director said as he compared Miyazaki to Van Gogh and Mozart as an artistic genius. “You are lucky to be able to see (The Boy and the Heron) for the first time outside its country of origin,” del Toro added.

    And in a year where Toronto’s dependence on American celebrities for glitz and glamour was underlined by their absence from the first-night gala ceremony, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, national executive director and chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, worked the red carpet headed into Roy Thomson Hall, ahead of a keynote speech at TIFF on Friday afternoon as part of the Industry Conference.

    Toronto Film Festival CEO Cameron Bailey was also on hand to introduce The Boy and the Heron in Roy Thomson Hall from among 277 movies from 74 countries that will screen in Toronto through Sept. 17. “I’m a fan,” Bailey said of Miyazaki after recounting showing virtually all of the Japanese anime master’s animated films to his young son.

    Handing the opening night slot to The Boy and the Heron marked the first time a Japanese film or an animated title has launched the marquee Canadian festival. Doing so also hedged bets for TIFF that the Hollywood strikes would not be resolved in time for an opening night assured of American stars on red carpets headed into the Princess of Wales and Roy Thomson Hall theaters to kick off the 48th edition this year.

    Hollywood’s double strike, after SAG-AFTRA joined the Writers Guild of America with its own labor action, has barred members from promoting movie titles tied to studio or streamers in Toronto, Venice or other fall festivals.

    Elsewhere at TIFF, there are no official press conferences planned for the 2023 edition, and the biggest celebrities likely to walk red carpets in Toronto are directors like del Toro, Viggo Mortensen, Patricia Arquette, Richard Linklater and Taika Waititi, or stars with indie movies that received SAG-AFTRA festival promotion waivers.

    Films from the streamers or the studios, so-called “struck productions,” cannot get interim agreement waivers from the unions, and so they are screening in Toronto without A-list celebrities in town for promotion.



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