GKIDS has acquired distribution rights for Miss Hokusai — the latest animated feature from Japanese studio Production I.G, which has delivered Ghost in the Shell and A Letter to Momo, among other acclaimed titles. GKIDS is planning an October 14 opening in New York and Los Angeles followed by a territory-wide roll-out.
Directed by Keiichi Hara (Colorful, Summer Days with Coo), the film has received accolades including an Annecy Jury Prize, jury and audience awards at Fantasia Film Festival, and Best Animated Feature at Sitges and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
Adapted from Hinako Sugiura’s manga Sarusuberi by Miho Maruo (both of whome are women), Miss Hokusai is the untold story of O-Ei, the daughter and artistic collaborator of Katsushika Hokusai — considered by many to be Japan’s greatest artist, and the creator of the Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji woodblock print series. Set in Edo-period Japan, the film follows O-Ei’s coming of age as a young woman as she struggles with her identity as an artist, her emerging sexuality, and the search for the sublime through art.
As all of Edo flocks to see the work of the famous painter Hokusai, his daughter O-Ei toils diligently inside his studio, unknown to the public. Her masterful portraits, dragons and erotic sketches – sold under the name of her father – are coveted by upper crust Lords and journeyman print makers alike. In public, O-Ei knows and respects “her place,” but at home in the studio, she’s as brash and uninhibited as her father, smoking a pipe while sketching erotic drawings that would make contemporary Japanese ladies blush. But despite her talent and fiercely independent spirit, O-Ei struggles under the domineering influence of her father and is ridiculed for lacking the life experience that she is attempting to portray in her art. Miss Hokusai‘s lively Edo (present day Tokyo) is filled with yokai spirits, dragons, and conniving tradesmen, while O-Ei’s relationships with her famously impetuous father and blind younger sister provide a powerful emotional underpinning to this rollicking and sumptuously-animated feminist coming-of-age tale.