Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda wins Locarno Kids Award, Locarno74 to host Swiss premiere of 'Belle'

Written by: Allysa Malicdem

Published on: August 3, 2021 at 10:15 AM PHT (GMT+8)

Mamoru Hosoda
Mamoru Hosoda | PHOTO COURTESY: The Straits Times

The official website of Locarno Film Festival has announced on Thursday that Japanese filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda will receive the inaugural Locarno Kids Award. The 74th Locarno Film Festival, which will run from August 4 to 14, will host the Swiss premiere of his latest production, ‘Belle’ (Ryu to Sobakasu no Hime, The Dragon and the Freckled Princess).

The Locarno Film Festival will be held at the Piazza Grande, the world’s largest open-air cinema with 8,000 seats. The said festival will pay tribute to Hosoda’s first 20 years of his career with the conferment of the award. It will also hold screenings for 209 films. In addition, a workshop on Japanese animation and techniques will be organized. The occasion opens an avenue for childhood and adolescence themes, centering on young viewers and nature by re-discovering the past through feature presentations.


Having started way back 1948, the Locarno Film Festival occupies a deep position in the heart of major film festivals. Annually during August, the 11-day festival happening at the Swiss-Italian town of Locarno, Switzerland, becomes the center of auteur cinema.


Under Hosoda’s direction and animation by Studio Chizu, ‘Belle’ graced the big screen on July 16 and has received applauses and praises for the film’s animation, depth and twist. The feature film also earned a 14-minute standing ovation at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.


Apart from Hosoda, Studio Chizu co-founder Yuichiro Saito produced the film. International talents collaborated and contributed to the production. Jin Kim (known for her works on ‘Moana’, ‘Tangled’ and ‘Frozen’) designed the character of Belle. Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar-nominated Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart took part in the creation of the virtual fantasy world inside the film.


Mamoru Hosoda has been a critically-acclaimed film director who was the genius behind great works such as ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’, ‘Summer Wars’, ‘Wolf Children’, and ‘The Boy and the Beast’.


Hosoda’s ‘Mirai’ scored nominations for an Oscar (2019) and a Golden Globe (2018) award. It received several awards and distinctions including the AniMovie award for ‘Best Animated Feature Film’ at the International Stuttgard Festival of Animated Film in May 2019, ‘Animation of the Year’ award at the 42nd annual Japan Academy Prizes in March 2019 and the ‘Best Animated Independent Feature’ category for the 46th annual Annie Awards.

Belle
Belle | © Mamoru Hosoda/Studio Chizu. Belle Project

‘Belle’ follows the story of the 17-year-old high school student Suzu who suffers from a personal trauma, refraining her from doing what she loves the most, singing. Later on, she discovers an online space called “U” where she takes on a different persona “Belle”, a music idol. Through Belle, Suzu begins to express herself more with her music. Then, a mysterious creature known as “The Dragon” appears…


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Sources: Anime News Network | Locarno Film Festival official website

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