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When Marnie Was There, The Boy and The Beast Nominated for Annie Awards

posted on by Karen Ressler
Hiromasa Yonebayashi earns nominations as writer and director

The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, announced the nominees for its 43rd annual Annie Awards on Tuesday. Studio Ghibli's When Marnie Was There and Mamoru Hosoda's The Boy and The Beast received nominations in a new category: Best Animated Feature-Independent.

ASIFA-Hollywood added the category in order to "recognize not only features in wide release, but also the independent animators, international studios, anime and special productions that might not otherwise get the attention they deserve." The other nominees include Filme de Papel's Boy and the World and Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet.

In addition When Marnie Was There's Hiromasa Yonebayashi was nominated for Outstanding Achievement awards in the writer and director categories.

Studio Ghibli and Isao Takahata's The Tale of Princess Kaguya and Masaaki Yuasa and Eunyoung Choi's Adventure Time episode were nominated for last year's awards but did not win.

The Annie Awards recognize outstanding achievement in animation. The awards ceremony will be held on February 6, 2016.

GKIDS, the North American distributor for Studio Ghibli's When Marnie Was There, describes the film's story:

Sent from her foster home in the city one summer to a sleepy town by the sea in Hokkaido, Anna dreams her days away among the marshes. She believes she's outside the invisible magic circle to which most people belong – and shuts herself off from everyone around her, wearing her “ordinary face.” Anna never expected to meet a friend like Marnie, who does not judge Anna for being just what she is. But no sooner has Anna learned the loveliness of friendship than she begins to wonder about her newfound friend...

When Marnie Was There adapts Joan G. Robinson's classic English children's novel of the same name. In his second film, director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (2010's The Secret World of Arrietty) has shifted the setting from the novel's Great Britain to a Japanese village on the shores of Hokkaido. Yonebayashi wrote the screenplay with Keiko Niwa (The Secret World of Arrietty) and Masashi Ando (A Letter to Momo, Spirited Away and Paprika). Ando also handled the character designs and animation direction. Takatsugu Muramatsu composed the film's soundtrack.

The film premiered in Japan in July 2014, and it then premiered in North America at The New York International Children's Film Festival (NYICFF) in February. The film shipped on home video in North America on October 6. The film won the Children's Jury Prize in the Animated Feature Film category of the Chicago International Children's Film Festival. The Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) also nominated the film for the Best Animated Feature Film category, though the award went to Keiichi Hara's Miss Hokusai.

The story of The Boy and The Beast is set in the human realm (Tokyo's Shibuya ward) and the bakemono realm ("Jūtengai"). In these two worlds that must not intersect, there lives a lonely boy and a lonely bakemono. One day, the boy gets lost in the bakemono world, becomes the disciple of the bakemono Kumatetsu, and is renamed Kyūta.

The film debuted at #1 in the Japanese box-office on July 11 and earned 667,035,100 yen (about US$5.4 million) in its first two days. It eventually surpassed the total box office earnings of Hosoda's previous film, Wolf Children.

Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children) created and scripted the movie. The film is Hosoda's first film since 2012, when his relatively new animation movie company Studio Chizu released Wolf Children as its first project. Masakatsu Takagi (Wolf Children) is scoring the soundtrack.

Funimation licensed the American rights to the film, and plans to release the film nationwide in early 2016. Theatrical screenings have also been set for France, and the major French movie studio Gaumont will handle international sales outside Asia. Funimation is working with Gaumont International to release the film. The Fantasic Film Festival in Austin hosted the U.S. premiere.

Both When Marnie Was There and The Boy and The Beast and have been submitted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

[Via Animation Scoop]

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