GKIDS has become a regular on the Oscar scene despite its indie status with four Best Animated Feature nominations since 2010 — most recently backing this year’s nom Ernest & Celestine and notching two noms in the category in 2012 with A Cat In Paris and Chico & Rita. So today’s deal in which it has acquired North American rights to Studio Ghibli‘s The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya is legit news, especially when GKIDS says it will release the pic this year and make an awards push. The animated movie from Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata is his first in 14 years. It was released in November in Japan and was a hit, telling the story of the heroine at the center of an ancient Japanese folk story, the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. The plot: 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 however she must face her secret fate.
An English-language version is being produced by Studio Ghibli and Geoffrey Wexler, with Frank Marshall of Kennedy/Marshall executive producing — they are the same team to do English-language versions of last year’s Wind Rises and From Up On Poppy Hill, another GKIDS-Ghibli tie-up in their partnership that includes Ghibli titles Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke.
Takahata co-founded the famed Studio Ghibli Japanese animation house with Hayao Miyazaki, whose final film The Wind Rises was also up for the Animated Feature Oscar this year via distributor Disney.