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Mamoru Hosoda Wins Inaugural Locarno Kids Award

The staff of the Locarno Film Festival announced on Thursday that Mamoru Hosoda has won the first-ever Locarno Kids Award. The festival, taking place from August 4–14, will host the Swiss premiere of his latest anime film BELLE (Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime, literally “The Dragon and the Freckled Princess”) at the Piazza Grande.

The festival will also organize a Locarno Kids workshop on Japanese animation and its techniques. Locarno Film Festival plans to have 300 screenings of 209 films in this year’s event.

Mamoru Hosoda and his Studio Chizu‘s new BELLE film originally opened on July 16. Chizu describes the story:

Our protagonist, Suzu, is a 17-year old high school girl, who lives in the countryside of Kochi Prefecture with her father, after losing her mother at a young age.

She loves singing with her mother more than anything else, but as a result of her mother’s death was no longer able to sing.

It wasn’t long before she and her father grew more and more distant from each other, and Suzu closed her heart to the rest of the world.

When Suzu felt that writing music was her only purpose left in life, she then discovers the massive online space known as “U,” where she takes on her persona, Belle.

Another me.
Another reality.
We are no longer limited to a single world.

Suzu quickly realizes that when she is inside “U” as her avatar, Belle, she can sing quite naturally. As she continues to showcase her own music in the virtual world, she fast becomes the rising star of “U.”

Nonetheless, that surprise is short-lived. Suddenly, a mysterious dragon-shaped creature appears before her…

Hosoda’s Mirai film won the AniMovie award for best animated feature film at the International Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film in May 2019. The film won the Animation of the Year award at the 42nd annual Japan Academy Prizes in March 2019. The film also won the Best Animated Independent Feature category for the 46th Annual Annie Awards. Mirai was also nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Hosoda’s other films include The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, and The Boy and The Beast.

Source: Locarno Film Festival’s website

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