In addition to distributing Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, New York based distributor of international youth-aimed cinema GKids has picked up the US and Canada rights to Mami Sunada's (Death of a Japanese Salesman) documentary about the revered anime studio, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness.
The deal was signed shortly before doc's screening at France's Annecy Animation Film Festival.
Variety says of the movie
Directed by Mami Sunada (“Death of a Japanese Salesman”), “Kingdom” offers a privileged and rare fly-on-the-wall record of the inner workings and dedication that has created a legendary animation studio which is not only enigmatic but successful, helping to develop a commercially viable and often artistically stunning alternative to Hollywood’s juggernaut animation fare.
Having already proved in “Salesman” her ability to develop a film of large public appeal out of a private event – the death of her father from cancer – Sunada was granted near unfettered access to the publicity shy studio and, crucially, to its lifeblood: Director Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” ”My Neighbor Totoro”) who has made most of its most-celebrated films;Toshiro Suzuki, and the more enigmatic but influential co-founder and “other director” at Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata (“My Neighbors The Yamadas”).
Sunada tracks the three men at an exciting and moving time fir Studio Ghibli as they rush to deliver Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises” and Takahata’s “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya,” while, last September, Miyazaki announced his retirenent, a decision creating a huge press reaction across the world.
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya agreement includes theatrical, non-theatrical, home video and television rights in North America. Ghibli’s Geoffrey Wexler will produce the English version with Frank Marshall of Kennedy/Marshall executive producing. This team handled the English versions of The Wind Rises and GKIDS' s first million-dollar grossing animated feature release, From Up on Poppy Hill.
Released in Japan in November, Kaguya is 78-year-old Takahata's first film since 1999's My Neighbors the Yamadas, eight years of effort and a budget of 5 billion yen were spent bringing it to the screen. The movie is a retelling of 10th century Japanese folktale Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) - the story of moon princess Kaguya-hime, discovered as a baby inside the stalk of a glowing bamboo plant. The story figured into many other anime, from Oh! Edo Rocket to to Leiji Matsumoto's Queen Millennia to Sailor Moon.