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Exclusive: I.G Brings Miss Hokusai to Annecy, Posts English-Subtitled Trailer

posted on 2015-04-28 15:00 EDT
Film selected for Annecy Int'l Animation Film Fest's feature film competition

Production I.G (A Letter to Momo, Giovanni's Island) announced on Wednesday that its Miss Hokusai film has been selected for the Official Feature Film Competition at the 39th Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The anime studio is also debuting an English-subtitled trailer, with new footage not seen in the earlier Japanese trailers. The new trailer features the ending theme song "Saihate ga Mitai" (I Want to See the Farthest Reaches or "¿Dónde quiere estar mi alma vajera?") by musician Ringo Shena.

Established in 1960, Annecy is the world's oldest and largest animation film festival. This year, it runs from June 15 to June 20 at the French community of the same name.

The film by Keiichi Hara (Summer Days with Coo, Colorful) adapts Hinako Sugiura's acclaimed historical manga Sarusuberi (literally: Crape Myrtle). Anne Watanabe stars in the role of O-Ei, daughter of acclaimed ukiyo-e painter Hokusai.

Production I.G describes the story of Miss Hokusai:

The time: 1814.

The place: Edo, now known as Tokyo. One of the highest populated cities in the world, teeming with peasants, samurai, townsmen, merchants, nobles, artists, courtesans, and perhaps even supernatural things.

A much accomplished artist and now in his mid-fifties, Tetsuzo can boast clients from all over Japan, and tirelessly works in the garbage-loaded chaos of his house-atelier. He spends his days creating astounding pieces of art, from a giant-size Dharma portrayed on a 180 square meter-wide sheet of paper, to a pair of sparrows painted on a tiny rice grain. Short-tempered, utterly sarcastic, fond of sweets but with no passion for sake or money, he would charge a fortune for any job he is not willing to undertake.

Third of Tetsuzo's four daughters, outspoken 23-year-old O-Ei has inherited her father's talent and stubbornness, and very often she would paint instead of him, though uncredited. “We're father and daughter; with two brushes and four chopsticks, we'll get by anywhere.”

Decades later, Europe was going to discover Tetsuzo's immense talent. He was to become best known by one of his many names: Katsushika Hokusai. He would mesmerize Degas and Monet, Debussy and Baudelaire.

However, very few today are even aware of the woman who assisted him all her life, and greatly contributed to his art while remaining uncredited.

This is the untold story of O-Ei, Master Hokusai's daughter: a lively portrayal of a free-spirited and outspoken woman overshadowed by her larger-than-life father, unfolding through the changing seasons.

Other cast members include: Yutaka Matsushige (live-action Kodoku no Gourmet television series, live-action Detective Conan movie), Gaku Hamada (live-action Space Brothers movie), Kengo Kora (The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, live-action Solanin movie), Jun Miho (live-action Dragon Zakura television series), Shion Shimizu (Ganbare! Lulu Lolo - Tiny Twin Bears), Michitaka Tsutsui (live-action Kiki's Delivery Service movie), Kumiko Asou (Colorful, live-action Casshern movie, live-action Space Brothers movie), and Danshun Tatekawa.

Sugiura made her manga debut in 1980 in the experimental magazine Garo, and made her mark with intricately researched historical stories about Japan's Edo period. Her unique storytelling won the Japan Cartoonists' Association Award in 1984 and the Bunshun Manga Award in 1988. She serialized Sarusuberi in Manga Sunday magazine (Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha, Ltd.) from 1983 to 1987. She passed away in 2005 at the age of 46.

Hara worked for years on the Crayon Shin-chan television anime series before garnering critical attention for such films as Crayon Shin-chan: Arashi o Yobu Appare! Sengoku Daikassen (Crayon Shin-chan; Brilliant! The Great Battle of the Warring States) and Summer Days with Coo. He earned the Jury's Special Distinction and the Audience Award for the bittersweet film Colorful at Annecy 2011. He has since made his first live-action film, a 2013 biography about the Japanese filmmaker Keisuke Kinoshita.

Miho Maruo (Colorful, The Dog of Flanders, Kodocha) wrote the screenplay of Miss Hokusai, and Yoshimi Itazu (The Wind Rises, Denno Coil, planned Yume-Miru Kikai film by the late Satoshi Kon) is serving as character designer and chief animator. Hiroshi Ohno (A Letter to Momo, Wolf Children) is handling the background art.

The film will open in Japan on May 9, and Production I.G is handling worldwide distribution and sales. Anime Limited will release the film in British cinemas in October-November before releasing it on Blu-ray Disc and DVD. EUROZOOM has licensed the film in France, and the company will screen it starting on September 2.

Images © 2014 Hinako Sugiura, MS HS/Sarusuberi Film Partners


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