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PR: GKIDS in Deal for “Grave of the Fireflies,” Screening in Ghibli Retrospective; 25th Anniversary Release Planned for 2013






New York, New York – November 20, 2012 – GKIDS, a distributor of award-winning animation for both adults and family audiences, announced that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Japan’s Toho Co. Ltd. for North American theatrical rights to the 1988 feature GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES. Written and directed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata, the film is considered a masterpiece and a landmark in animation. Told in flashback, it is an emotionally powerful film about the devastation of Japan during the final months of World War II as seen through the eyes of two children.

Film critic Roger Ebert said, “Grave of the Fireflies is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation. It belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made.” The film is on Ebert’s Great Movies List, along with two other Studio Ghibli titles, My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. Film review site Rotten Tomatoes rates GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES 96% and calls the film “one of Studio Ghibli’s most profoundly beautiful, haunting works.”

Despite its subject matter, GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES was originally released in Japan as a double feature with Studio Ghibli’s more child-friendly My Neighbor Totoro. GKIDS is planning a 25th anniversary release for the film in 2013 and will also include the film in their Studio Ghibli Retrospective, which is currently touring throughout North America.

GKIDS head, Eric Beckman said, “This deal finally reunites a great Isao Takahata masterwork with the rest of the Studio Ghibli films. It is a profoundly moving film and an essential part of the Ghibli legacy.”

The deal for GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES follows on the September 2011 pact between GKIDS and Studio Ghibli for North American theatrical rights to 13 Studio Ghibli titles, including Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award® winning Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in The Sky, and Princess Mononoke. That deal has since been extended to include Howl’s Moving Castle.

In August 2012 GKIDS announced an agreement to release Studio Ghibli’s newest film, From Up on Poppy Hill, including theatrical, non-theatrical, home video and television rights. The film will be released on March 15, 2013, following a qualifying run this year for the upcoming Best Animated Feature Oscar® and the Annie Awards. From Up on Poppy Hill was directed by Goro Miyazaki from a screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki and was the top-grossing Japanese film of 2011.

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. Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature of 2002 and in 2005 Miyazaki was named one of “the most influential people” by TIME Magazine.

GKIDS is a distributor of award-winning filmed entertainment specializing in animation for both adult and family audiences. Upcoming releases include From Up on Poppy Hill, The Painting, The Rabbi’s Cat, and Zarafa, all of which are competing for the upcoming Best Animated Feature Oscar®. The company has scored three Best Animated Feature Oscar® nominations in the past three years, with The Secret of Kells in 2010 and both A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita in 2012 – marking the first time an independent distributor has had two simultaneous nominations in the category. GKIDS also handles North American theatrical distribution for Oscar® winner Hayao Miyazaki’s famed 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 International Children’s Film Festival, an Oscar®-qualifying event and North America’s largest festival of film for children and teens.

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