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Miss Hokusai Wins Best Animated Film Award at Sitges

posted on by Karen Ressler
Film premiered in Japan in May

The 48th annual Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival in Spain announced on Saturday that Keiichi Hara's Miss Hokusai (Sarusuberi ~Miss HOKUSAI~) film won the festival's Best Animated Feature Film award.

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.

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.

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.

Miss Hokusai made its North American premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, which ran from July 14-August 5. The film received the Sequences Award for best Asian feature film, the Satoshi Kon Award for best animated feature film, and the Gold Audience Award for best animated feature film. The film also won the Jury Award in the Official Feature Film Competition at the 39th Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June. Additionally, the film was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Film award in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA). Hara won the Asiagraph 2015 Tsumugi Prize for the film

Miss Hokusai opened 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 began screening the film on September 2.


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