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Mary and The Witch's Flower's Studio Ponoc Works on New Feature Film

posted on by Egan Loo
Studio enters pre-production on film that is not Mary and The Witch's Flower sequel

Studio Ponoc founder and producer Yoshiaki Nishimura confirmed at the Animation Is Film Festival in Hollywood on Saturday that his studio has entered pre-production on a new feature film. Nishimura spoke at a Q&A session after the English-dubbed world premiere of Ponoc's short anthology film Modest Heroes: Ponoc Short Films Theatre, Volume 1 (pictured at right).

When asked about the possibilities of a sequel to Ponoc and director Hiromasa Yonebayashi's 2017 anime film Mary and The Witch's Flower, Nishimura noted that the titular flower is one that blooms once every seven years, and half-jokingly said it might be that long before the studio makes a sequel.

In response to a question on whether Nishimura considers Studio Ponoc the "next Studio Ghibli" or its own entity, Nishimura acknowledged that there is talk of Ponoc as a "post-Miyazaki" studio. However, he added that he personally feels that this is like saying "post-da Vinci" or "post-Michelangelo."

Nishimura explained that he thinks it is useless to aim at becoming the next Ghibli, and that his studio is not mindful of being the next Ghibli. Instead, he said the studio creators are mindful of themselves and what they learned from Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki. Notably, Nishimura stated Miyazaki taught them that if one sincerely creates a work for children, the adults will also love it.

Nishimura reaffirmed that the initial plan for the first Modest Heroes: Ponoc Short Films Theatre anthology was four shorts, instead of the finalized three. Nishimura explained at the Japanese premiere in August that there was a plan for the late Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata to direct a short.

Modest Heroes: Ponoc Short Films Theatre, Volume 1 opened in theaters in Japan on August 24, and GKIDS plans to release the film theatrically with both English subtitles and an English dub in January 2019.

Mary and The Witch's Flower opened in Japan in July 2017, and GKIDS and Fathom Events opened the anime in U.S. theaters on January 18. GKIDS later released the film on home video in North America on May 1. The film's English dub version is streaming on Netflix in the United States.

Source: Modest Heroes: Ponoc Short Films Theatre, Volume 1's Animation Is Film Festival screening

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