Anime artist honored at fest

ROME — Japanese anime auteur Hayao Miyazaki will be honored with a Golden Lion for career achievement at the Venice Film Festival.

Winner of the 2002 animated feature Oscar for “Spirited Away,” the publicity-shy Miyazaki — who did not attend the Academy Awards — will be at the lagoon for the first time, according to Venice topper Marco Muller.

Miyazaki’s “Howl’s Moving Castle” world-preemed last year on the Lidobefore breaking box office records in Japan and enjoying a boffo run in France.

Muller called Miyazaki one of the greatest directors in Japanese cinema, saying his “energy combines romanticism and humanism with an epic take on storytelling, a touch of visionary fantasy that leaves one open-mouthed.”

Miyazaki will be lionized Sept. 9, Miyazaki Day on the Lido, with screenings of several of his Studio Ghibli films as yet unreleased in Italy, including “Castle in the Sky” and “My Neighbor Totoro.”

Muller also announced that the next fest, which runs Aug. 31-Sept. 10, will be a slimmed-down affair with “absolutely no more than 60″ pics, doing away with the Venice Midnight and Venice Digital Cinema sections.

He said Venice will continue to have midnight screenings, but they will comprise out-of-competition entries.

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