PHOTOS: GKIDS aims to return as an Oscar contender
Last Oscar season, upstart New York film distributor GKIDS surprised many in the animation world by collecting two of the five nominations in the animated feature category — for the foreign-produced movies "Chico & Rita" (Spain) and "A Cat in Paris" (France). It was an impressive showing for a tiny, young company going up against such industry giants as Disney and DreamWorks Animation.
This year GKIDS qualified four upcoming movies in the Oscar race with a one-week theatrical run in Burbank in November — and will attempt, again, to win over the academy's animation branch with 2-D style, foreign-made films that feel far from Hollywood studio fare.
"It's excruciatingly difficult to make these movies," said GKIDS President Eric Beckman. "But it's a particularly rich crop for independent animation this year." Here's an overview of their releases:
Full story: GKIDS' winning pitch as the go-to market for foreign animated films | Awards: 2013 | WATCH: Directors on the future of animations
'From Up On Poppy Hill'
This Japanese drama comes with a lofty animation pedigree — "Spirited Away" and "Howl's Moving Castle" director Hayao Miyazaki wrote the script, from a manga of the same name, for his son, Goro, to direct. It became the highest-grossing Japanese film of 2011. "From Up On Poppy Hill" takes place in the months leading up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, as a group of Yokohama teenagers try to protect their school clubhouse from demolition. "This has all the lush, beautiful animated scenery, boats and water that you'd expect from [Miyazaki's] Studio Ghibli," Beckman said. U.S. release date: March 15.