Shinkai Makoto's animated film nominated for Berlin festival top awards

Japanese director Shinkai Makoto's animated film "Suzume" has been nominated for the top awards at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Shinkai's animation is among the nominees for the Golden and Silver Bear awards at the 73rd Berlinale, which were announced on Monday.

It tells a story of a high school girl who went through a devastating earthquake as a child overcoming challenges while traveling across Japan. The aim of her journey is to close the "doors" that can cause disasters.

Suzume is the first Japanese animated film to be shortlisted for the awards since 2002, when Miyazaki Hayao's "Spirited Away" won the Golden Bear.

Shinkai says the film is based on a catastrophic event that struck Japan 12 years ago.

He says the nomination gives him a chance to figure out firsthand how his work will be perceived and interpreted by overseas audiences.

The festival opens on February 16 and runs through February 26.