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Ghibli's Earwig and the Witch Film Reveals Int'l Seller, Runtime via Cannes Selection

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Goro Miyazaki's CG movie of Howl's Moving Castle author's novel premieres on TV this winter

The Festival de Cannes announced its Official Selection of films on Wednesday, and the list includes Studio Ghibli and Goro Miyazaki's newly announced Earwig and the Witch (Āya to Majo) anime movie. The announcement reveals the movie's 82-minute runtime and its international sales agent, French distributor Wild Bunch International. The movie joins the French festival's "4 Animated Films" section with Jonas Poher Rasmussen's Danish film Flee, Aurel's French film Josep, and Pete Docter and Pixar's American film Soul.

A movie's international sales agent handles licensing offers from distribution companies in various regions. Wild Bunch has been a partner of Ghibli for over two decades on such films as My Neighbor Totoro, The Secret World of Arrietty, and The Red Turtle. Wild Bunch handled Netflix's deal to stream Ghibli's previous works outside the United States, Canada, and Japan.

Earwig and the Witch adapts Diana Wynne Jones' novel of the same name. The film will have its television premiere on the NHK General channel this winter. Hayao Miyazaki's son Goro Miyazaki is directing the movie as the studio's first full 3D CG feature, and the elder Miyazaki is credited for the movie's planning and development. Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki is producing.

Jones published the novel in 2011, and publisher HarperCollins describes the story:

Not every orphan would love living at St. Morwald's Home for Children, but Earwig does. She gets whatever she wants, whenever she wants it, and it's been that way since she was dropped on the orphanage doorstep as a baby. But all that changes the day Bella Yaga and the Mandrake come to St. Morwald's, disguised as foster parents. Earwig is whisked off to their mysterious house full of invisible rooms, potions, and spell books, with magic around every corner. Most children would run in terror from a house like that . . . but not Earwig. Using her own cleverness—with a lot of help from a talking cat—she decides to show the witch who's boss.

Jones' Howl's Moving Castle also inspired a 2004 anime film by Hayao Miyazaki, and the film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature.

Goro Miyazaki directed the Tales from Earthsea and From Up On Poppy Hill anime films at Studio Ghibli, and also directed the Ronja the Robber's Daughter CG anime series at Polygon Pictures, with assistance by Studio Ghibli.

While the physical event of this year's Cannes is canceled, the festival will collaborate with a number of other festivals in Toronto, Deauville, Angoulême, San Sebastian, New York, Busan, Lyon, and other cities to screen its Official Selection films at later dates, and it will also have its Marché du Film online screening event on June 22-26. Films previously scheduled for summer 2020 to spring 2021 are eligible for its Official Selection (though some films have chosen instead to await selection for Cannes 2021).

Sources: Studio Ghibli, Cannes Film Festival

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