Gkids/Cinedigm Launch New Animation Label

Indie animation distributor Gkids has launched a new multi-platform animation label with Cinedigm. Gkids will continue to handle theatrical distribution and Cinedigm will take on ancillary under the Gkids brand.

From Up on Poppy Hill is the first of seven new Gkidstitles included under the pact, which brings critically acclaimed feature animation to North American audiences.  The agreement builds upon the existing partnership between Gkids and Cinedigm, which currently handles home entertainment on Gkids’ three Oscar-nominated films, The Secret of Kells, Chico & Rita, and A Cat in Paris, as well as Michel Ocelot’s Tales of the Night, for a total of 11 titles now included within the new label.

“There’s an explosion of world-class animation coming from all corners of the globe and these films cross borders seamlessly. Gkids has an incredible sense for what works and how to introduce these films to welcoming audiences,” said Chris McGurk, chairman/CEO of Cinedigm. “We are excited to extend our already successful relationship with Eric, Dave, and the team and bring their content to an even broader audience.”

“We are looking forward to teaming up with Cinedigm to build the US market for international animation,” added Gkidspresident, Eric Beckman. “As anyone who has discovered the films of Studio Ghibli will attest, some of the most exciting animated filmmaking is taking place outside the US.  We are thrilled to be able to share these wonderful movies with a growing American audience for animation in all its forms.”

From Up on Poppy Hill will be released to DVD/Blu-ray and cable VOD on Sept. 3, following the current theatrical release by Gkids.  The film was written and supervised by legendary studio founder and Academy Award-winner Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) and directed by his son Goro Miyazaki.

The stunning, hand-drawn From Up On Poppy Hill is set in Yokohama in 1963, as Japan is picking itself up from the devastation of World War II and preparing to host the Olympics. Against this backdrop of hope and change, a friendship begins to blossom between high school students Umi and Shun — but a buried secret from their past emerges to cast a shadow on the future and pull them apart. Multiple Academy Award winner Gary Rydstrom directed the English language version with voice cast including Gillian Anderson, Sarah Bolger, Beau Bridges, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Fuhrman, Christina Hendricks, Ron Howard, Chris Noth, Emily Osment, Aubrey Plaza, Charlie Saxton, Alex Wolff, and Anton Yelchin.  Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy exec produced.

The Blu-ray and DVD release of From Up On Poppy Hill contains more than three hours of bonus materials and includes: original Japanese language and English language versions with subtitles and dubtitles; feature-length storyboards; celebrity cast recording featurette with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews; an interview with Goro Miyazaki; original Japanese trailer and TV spots; the music video for the theme song by Aoi Teshima; and a featurette about Yokohama, exploring the history of the sea-side setting where the film takes place.  Bonuses exclusive to the Blu-ray edition include a staff speech and press conference by Hayao Miyazaki days after the Fukushima earthquake; and a 20-page booklet containing the original project proposal by Hayao Miyazaki and a letter from Goro Miyazaki.

Other new titles included in the Gkids/Cinedigm agreement are Jean Francoise Laguionie’s The Painting; Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat; A Letter To Momo from Japan’s Production I.G; Ignacio Ferrera’s award-winning graphic novel adaptation, Wrinkles; the break-out French hit Zarafa; and the animated documentary Approved For Adoption based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Jung Henin.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Blu-ray, Home Entertainment, Movies, Oscar, Tech, Trailers

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