During a press conference at the Venice Film Festival yesterday, Studio Ghibli announced that acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki will "retire from the production of feature-length films." However, the announcement doesn't rule out the possibility of the filmmaker directing short films for the studio.
His final movie, The Wind Rises, has been playing in Japanese theaters since mid-July, but it doesn't have a U.S. release date set. The animated film is based on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II. It is currently playing in competition at the Venice Film Festival, which runs through September 10.
Hayao Miyazaki formed Studio Ghibli in 1984 with fellow filmmaker Isao Takahata, where he directed critically-acclaimed classics such as Nausicca of the Valley Wind, Lapuata: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Ponyo and The Wind Rises. Spirited Away, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Film in 2003, is still the highest-grosssing movie ever in Japan, 12 years after it was first released.
The filmmaker revealed in an interview this year that he was open to the possibility of a sequel to Nausicca of the Valley Wind, but he would leave that project in the hands of Evangelion director Hideaki Anno, who served as an animator on the original film.