Highly anticipated animated musical fantasy will debut as an official selection in upcoming Cannes Premiere section July 15 before hitting Japanese theaters July 16; GKIDS to release theatrically in North America this winter, both in Japanese and English dubbed versions.
There’s a brand-new teaser trailer for Mamoru Hosoda and Studio Chizu’s highly anticipated animated musical fantasy, Belle, which makes its world debut in the Cannes Premiere section on Thursday, July 15. This marks Hosoda’s second invitation to Cannes; his first, Mirai, made its debut at Director’s Fortnight in 2018 before going on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. GKIDS will release the film theatrically in North America this winter in both its original Japanese language and new English dubbed versions; it releases in Japanese theaters July 16.
“Following the selection of my previous film Mirai for the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, I am honored that Belle has been selected for the Première section of the Official Selection,” Hosoda said. “It is extremely rare for an animated film to be selected for the Festival de Cannes, and I believe that this selection is a sign to the audience of the both the significance of this new film and the growing recognition of animated films in the future.”
Belle mixes reality and fantasy as it follows Suzu, a 17-year-old high school student living in a rural village with her father. For years she has only been a shadow of herself. One day, she enters "U," a virtual world of 5 billion members on the Internet. There, she is not Suzu anymore but Belle, a world-famous singer. She soon meets with a mysterious creature. Together, they embark on a journey of adventures, challenges and love, in their quest of becoming who they truly are.
The Oscar-nominated and Annie Award-winning Mirai director, who also wrote the film, has assembled a top team of Japanese and international artists for the film, which includes character designer Jin Kim (Frozen, Tangled, Big Hero 6, Moana), who created the look of Belle, and concept artist Eric Wong, who designed the virtual world of “U,” as well as Oscar-nominated Wolfwalkers directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart of Cartoon Saloon (Song of the Sea, The Secret of Kells), who contributed artwork for the various virtual fantasy worlds within the film. Hosoda is also joined by long time producing partner and Studio Chizu co-founder Yuichiro Saito, as producer on the film. Composer Ludvig Forssell, best known for his collaborations with video game auteur Hideo Kojima (Death Stranding, Metal Gear Solid V), joined the team scoring the film.
Hosoda previously stated, “Belle is the movie that I have always wanted to create and I am only able to make this film a reality because of the culmination of my past works. I explore romance, action and suspense on the one hand, and deeper themes such as life and death on the other. I expect this to be a big entertainment spectacle.”
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.