Studio Ghibli and Wild Bunch have collaborated to bring you a new animated feature called The Red Turtle. Right off the bat you can tell that it’s not animated by Ghibli’s team, but the same themes of nature are still present.
Some might be inclined to steer clear of the film because it’s co-produced and not entirely Ghibli-made, but a look into the credits shows that the film was brought to life by an extremely capable Dutch animator named Michael Dudok de Wit. Back in 2000, his eight-minute short film titled Father and Daughter won the Academy Award for best animated short. The success was followed by an influx of offers for work, but he paid them no mind.
“I had never intended to make a feature-length film,” de Wit told THR. “I love short films. They are very individualistic, because you can do them alone or with a small group of friends.”
But one day he received a letter from Studio Ghibli, it said:
“We saw Fathers and Daughters and we want to make a film together with you,” recalls de Wit. “It was like, ‘Whoa, this is amazing.’ But I didn’t understand it. They didn’t make films outside of Japan. They’d never worked with a non-Japanese director. So why me?” he said.
That was back in 2006. Over the last decade, de Wit and Studio Ghibli began a relationship which ultimately culminated in the creation of The Red Turtle, a story of a man stranded on a desert island whose encounter with an odd turtle changes his life. The picture is Studio Ghibli’s first ever non-Japanese production, is completely free of dialogue and was co-written by French writer Pascale Ferran.
Check out the trailer above and catch the film in theaters in France starting June 2016 and in Japan September 2016. A Western release could come any time after that since there’s no dialogue whatsoever.