Producer/distributor GKIDS has snagged the North American distribution rights for Okko’s Inn — the buzzed-about new feature from veteran Studio Ghibli animator Kitaro Kosaka. The movie follows a city girl who goes to live at an old inn in the countryside, and discovers she has the rare ability to see the playful ghosts that still reside there. Okko’s Inn premiered at the 2018 Annecy animation fest and screened at Animation Is Film in L.A. in October. GKIDS will release both the original Japanese version and a new English dub.
“From the moment we saw Okko’s Inn at Annecy, we knew this was a film we wanted to share with audiences nationwide,” said David Jesteadt, president of GKIDS. “Director Kitaro Kosaka has made a film of effortless warmth and generosity of spirit, and that feels more necessary than ever.”
The all-rights deal was negotiated by David Jesteadt of GKIDS and Haruko Watanabe of GAGA Corporation.
After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko goes to live in the countryside with her grandmother, who runs a traditional Japanese inn built on top of an ancient spring said to have healing waters. While she goes about her chores and prepares to become the inn’s next caretaker, Okko discovers there are spirits who live there that only she can see — not scary ones, but welcoming ghosts who keep her company, play games and help her navigate her new environment. The inn’s motto is that it welcomes all and will reject none, and this is soon put to the test as a string of new guests challenge Okko’s ability to be a gracious host. But ultimately Okko discovers that dedicating herself to others becomes the key to taking care of herself.
The latest feature from famed anime studio Madhouse and director Kitaro Kosaka, who was a key animator on numerous classic films at the venerable Studio Ghibli, seamlessly blends immersive, idyllic landscapes with the storybook charm of Okko’s beloved ghosts. Okko’s Inn delivers a rare ghost story that — despite several floating characters — is firmly grounded in the trials and joys of humanity.