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GKIDS Licenses Ghibli's Earwig and the Witch Film

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Studio's 1st CG feature opens in theaters in N. America in early 2021

GKIDS announced on Tuesday that it has licensed Studio Ghibli and Goro Miyazaki's first CG feature Earwig and the Witch, an anime adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones' novel of the same name. The company will release the film in theaters in North America in early 2021.

The 82-minute feature will have its television premiere on the NHK General channel this winter. The Cannes Film Festival chose the film as part of its Official Selection this year.

Goro Miyazaki is directing the movie as the studio's first full 3D CG feature, and Hayao Miyazaki is credited for the movie's planning and development. Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki is producing. French distributor Wild Bunch International is serving as the film's international sales agent.

Goro Miyazaki, son of Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, commented that Japan has many adults but few children (due to declining birth rates and longer life expectancy), so it is tough to be a child today. He was pondering this when he first encountered the character Earwig. It was then that he realized that she would be ideal for these times, as he imagined how she would deal with troublesome adults. The director hopes "from the bottom of my heart that our cheeky, yet cute, Earwig will encourage children — and cheer adults up."

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 Internationa Emmy-winning Ronja the Robber's Daughter CG anime series at Polygon Pictures, with assistance by Studio Ghibli.

Hayao Miyazaki's first CG-animated work was 2018's Ghibli Museum short "Boro the Caterpillar." He is directing his own new feature film Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka (How Do You Live?) Suzuki reported in May that that the staff has completed 36 minutes of the movie so far, and is hoping to finish it in the next three years.

Source: Press release

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