GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, announced today it has acquired all North American distribution rights for Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda‘s highly anticipated new animated feature, BELLE, from Japan’s Studio Chizu. The film is an original story written and helmed by the celebrated director whose previous films include Mirai, The Boy and the Beast, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and others. Hosoda is joined by long time producing partner and Studio Chizu co-founder Yuichiro Saito, as producer on the title.
GKIDS handled North American distribution for Mirai, the previous film from Mamoru Hosoda and Studio Chizu, which debuted at Director’s Fortnight in Cannes in 2018, before going on to receive career-first Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Hosoda.
GKIDS will release BELLE theatrically in both its original Japanese language and a new English dubbed version this winter, and will qualify the film for 2021 awards consideration. BELLE is scheduled to be released in theaters in Japan beginning July 16.
On BELLE, the Japanese creative team worked in collaboration with a roster of international talents. Character designer Jin Kim, the artist behind several iconic Disney features including Moana, Tangled, and Frozen, designed the titular Belle. Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar®-nominated Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart (Wolfwalkers, Song of the Sea, The Secret of Kells) also join the team, contributing artwork for the various virtual fantasy worlds within the film. Hosoda continues his film collaborations with architects, and is joined by up-and-coming British architect and designer Eric Wong, who designed the virtual world of “U.” Rounding out the team, composer Ludvig Forssell, best known for his collaborations with video game auteur Hideo Kojima (Death Stranding, Metal Gear Solid V), joined the score team for the film.
The all-rights North American distribution deal was negotiated by Eric Beckman of GKIDS and Carole Baraton of Charades, on behalf of Studio Chizu.
“I’ve been in love with Mamoru Hosoda since Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars and every film since. Hosoda is a master at exploring humans’ relationship with technology in a changing world,” said Eric Beckman, CEO and Founder of GKIDS. “Belle expands on the threads and themes of his previous works in an epic tour-de-force that is visually stunning, emotionally stirring, and deeply profound. We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Mamoru Hosoda and Studio Chizu, and look forward to sharing what will surely be their most popular success to date.”
From the celebrated Oscar®-nominated director Mamoru Hosoda and Studio Chizu, creator of Mirai, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, and more, comes a fantastical, yet beautiful and contemporary thematic story of one girl’s growth in the age of social media.
Suzu is a 17-year-old high school student living in a rural village with her father. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. One day, she enters “U,” a virtual world of 5 billion members on the Internet. There, she is not Suzu anymore but Belle, a world-famous singer. She soon meets with a mysterious creature. Together, they embark on a journey of adventures, challenges and love, in their quest to become who they truly are.
GKIDS is the producer and distributor of award-winning feature animation for both adult and family audiences. Since 2010, the company has scored an astounding 12 Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations with The Secret of Kells in 2010, A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita in 2012, Ernest & Celestine in 2014, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea in 2015, Boy and the World and When Marnie Was There in 2016, My Life as a Zucchini in 2017, The Breadwinner in 2018, Mirai in 2019, and Wolfwalkers in 2021. GKIDS also handles North American distribution for the famed Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world’s most coveted animation collections with titles Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and others; as well as the critically acclaimed television series, Neon Genesis Evangelion. GKIDS also hosts ANIMATION IS FILM, an annual LA-based film festival which embraces the highest aspirations of animation as a cinematic art form, and is a vocal advocate for filmmakers who push the boundaries of the medium to its fullest range of artistic expressions. www.gkids.com