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Yuasa Masaaki’s Venice and Toronto-Bound ‘Inu-Oh’ Picked up by Fortissimo

Japanese animated film project "Inu-Oh" to
(C)"INU-OH" Film Partners

Fortissimo Films has acquired sales rights outside Asia to “Inu-Oh,” a Japanese animation film that will play at both the Venice and Toronto festivals.

The film is directed by Yuasa Masaaki with acclaimed Japanese animation studio Science Saru. It will have its world premiere in the Orizzonti competition section at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 9, 2021. That will be followed by a special presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“Inu-oh” is an animated rock musical about a boy who was born with unique physical characteristics. One day he meets the blind biwa player. The boy asks him to write a song about him. The player writes and performs a song about the boy’s fate. They become a musical success and their career stars rise quickly in 14th century Japan. The boy frees parts of his body bit by bit while performing and the musician reconciles with his past.

The film is adapted from the novel “Tales of the Heike: Inu-Oh” written by Hideo Furukawa, and published by Kawade Shobo Shinsha.

The film was  produced with Japan’s Asmik Ace partnered as producer and distributor. A mainland Chinese partner Open Culture Entertainment (Shanghai) is also credited as a producer. The film has been pre-sold to GKids for North American release and to Anime Limited for France, the U.K. and Benelux. It is set for Japanese release in early summer of 2022.

Yuasa made his feature-length debut in 2004 with “Mind Game,” and followed up with “Ping Pong: The Animation” “Night Is Short,” “Walk On Girl” and “Devilman Crybaby.” In 2017 his “Lu over the Wall,” took the best film award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

“Very little remains in the historical record about the Sarugaku Noh performer Inu-Oh, but with Hideo Furukawa’s bold interpretation of his story, Akiko Nogi’s script, and Taiyo Matsumoto’s images, it’s bound to become an amazing work,” said Yuasa when launching the project in 2019.