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Suzuki’s swansong will be the ultimate in exclusivity

Rough artwork has been leaked of Studio Ghibi’s next film, announced as the ultimate in collectibles: a film released in a single print, with a guarantee of no DVD or Blu-ray release. Slated for release in one year’s time, Gertie the Dinosaur began with the most unlikely of inspirations for a much-loved children’s studio – the recent decision by the Wu-Tang Clan to release their album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin as a single exclusive copy touring museums around the world, and for sale to the highest bidder.

“My first thought was that they were ripping us off!” jokes producer Toshio Suzuki, rumours of whose retirement turn out to be an exaggeration. “The Ghibli Museum already puts on exclusive movies like Mei & the Kittenbus, but taking an exclusive movie on tour would be a great way to bring out the fans in numbers, and fight piracy. If it was good enough for the Wu-Tang, it was good enough for me.”

According to Suzuki, producers deliberately brain-stormed a format that could not be pirated. Gertie will be made in 3D to deter copying in cinemas, and features a “live-action” component that can only be experienced in the place of exhibition.

“We’re still working on how the live integration will function,” says Suzuki, who now wishes to be known as No-Kutz. “But the current plan is for the director to tour with his film, acting as a sort of ringmaster at a circus of dinosaurs.” But Suzuki still faces the problem of enticing the famous director Hayao Miyazaki to not only come out of retirement to make the film, but travel around the world performing with it.

“It’ll take some doing,” admits Suzuki. “But Miyazaki-san, or as he will henceforth be known, Porco Bosso, is sure to be tempted by the chance to go to hundreds of anime conventions and shake hands with people dressed as vampires. He’s already said that he’ll do it, but he is insisting on a furry tour-bus in the shape of a cat.”

Gertie the Dinosaur will be released exactly a year from today, at a cinema near you. The BFI’s Studio Ghibli season starts this week.

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