GKids Films has announced today that it will release Studio Ghibli’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya in North America “later this year”. The film, first released theatrically in Japan in November 2013, was the first theatrical work by director Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, Little Norse Prince Valiant) since My Neighbors the Yamadas in 1999.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya adapts the 10th century Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. In the old story a childless couple discovers and adopts a tiny thumb-sized infant girl in a shoot of bamboo and strive to raise her as she morphs into a real baby, grows up at an astonishing rate and ultimately meets a magical destiny. Kenichi Konishi (Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, My Neighbors the Yamadas) contributed as animation director and character designer, while composer and frequent Ghibli collaborator Joe Hisaishi provided his first ever musical score for a film of Mr. Takahata’s.
Update, 1:27 PM: Cartoon Brew reports that The Tale of Princess Kaguya will be released “this fall” and submitted for Oscar consideration. Frank Marshall and Ghibli’s Geoffrey Wexler, who have previously collaborated on the English versions of From Up On Poppy Hill and Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, are tasked with the production of the English adaptation for this film.
UPDATE 2 March 13, 2014: The full press release from GKids is below:
GKIDS ACQUIRES NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS FOR STUDIO GHIBLI’S
THE TALE OF
THE PRINCESS KAGUYA
FIRST FEATURE IN 14 YEARS FROM LEGENDARY STUDIO GHIBLI
CO-FOUNDER AND GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES DIRECTOR, ISAO TAKAHATA
FILM TO RECEIVE FALL 2014 RELEASE AND AWARDS SUBMISSIONS
New York, NY – March 12, 2014 – GKIDS, a distributor of award-winning animation for both adult and family audiences, announced that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Studio Ghibli for the North American rights to the upcoming animated feature THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA. Directed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata, the film is slated for a late 2014 theatrical release and Awards submissions.
The deal was negotiated by Eric Beckman from GKIDS and Geoffrey Wexler from Studio Ghibli, with GKIDS taking all theatrical, non-theatrical, home video and television rights in North America.
Eight years in the making, the film is the untold story of The Princess Kaguya, the heroine of the ancient Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.
An English-language version is being produced by Studio Ghibli and Geoffrey Wexler, with Frank Marshall of Kennedy/Marshall Executive Producing. This is the same team that handled English versions for the two previous Studio Ghibli films, The Wind Rises and From Up on Poppy Hill.
GKIDS and Studio Ghibli partnered on the 2013 release of the animated feature From Up on Poppy Hill and GKIDS handles North American theatrical distribution for the Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world’s most coveted animation collections with titles including Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and others. GKIDS also handles theatrical distribution for Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies, widely considered a masterpiece.
Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo, a tiny girl grows into an exquisite young lady, raised by an old bamboo cutter and his wife. From the countryside to the grand capital city, even unseen she enthralls all who encounter her, including five noble suitors. Ultimately she must face her fate, punishment for her crime.
Based on the classic Japanese folktale, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA is the newest film from Studio Ghibli and the strikingly beautiful culmination of decades of contemplation by its director, Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata.
ABOUT STUDIO GHIBLI AND ISAO TAKAHATA
Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by animation directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and is one of the most successful and well-respected animation studios in the world. Cultivating a creative force of talented directors, animators, and storytellers under the revered brilliance of Miyazaki and Takahata, Studio Ghibli’s films have been praised for their originality, dazzling animation, and epic storytelling. The films have become a beloved part of Japanese popular culture, and have garnered worldwide acclaim from audiences and critics alike.
Born in 1935 in Mie Prefecture, Japan, Isao Takahata graduated from The University of Tokyo with a degree in French literature. In 1985 he co-founded Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki, where he has directed five animated feature films: Grave of the Fireflies (1988), named one of the greatest films of all time by film critic Roger Ebert, Only Yesterday (1991), Pom Poko (1994), My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999), andTHE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA, released November 2013 in Japan. He also directed the live action documentary The Story of Yanagawa Waterways (1987). Takahata served as producer for Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) and Castle in the Sky (1986). In 1998, Takahata received Japan’s Medal of Honor, The Purple Ribbon.
GKIDS is a distributor of award-winning filmed entertainment specializing in feature animation for both adult and family audiences. The company has scored four Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations – the most for an independent distributor – with The Secret of Kells in 2010, A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita in 2012, and Ernest & Celestine in 2014. Upcoming releases include Ignacio Ferreras’ Wrinkles, featuring Martin Sheen, Matthew Modine and George Coe and Ernest & Celestine, featuring Forrest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, and Jeffrey Wright. GKIDS also handles North American theatrical distribution for the Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world’s most coveted animation collections with titles Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and others. GKIDS is longtime producer of the New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival, an Oscar-qualifying event and North America’s largest festival of film for children and teens. NYICFF jury members include Uma Thurman, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Gus van Sant, Christine Vachon, Henry Selick and James Schamus. www.gkids.tv/films