GKIDS Picks Up North American Rights to Feminist Animated Film ‘Miss Hokusai’

Distributor plans Oscar-qualifying run and subsequent expansion for Japanese-made coming-of-age period drama

Miss Hokusai

New York-based animation company GKIDS has acquired North American rights to the Japanese animated film “Miss Hokusai,” an adult-oriented and strongly feminist coming-of-age story based on the manga “Sarusuberi” by Hinako Sugiura.

GKIDS plans to release the film on Oct. 14 in New York and Los Angeles for an Oscar-qualifying run, with a later expansion throughout North America.

The company, which specializes in distributing select international animated films, has been extremely successful at landing Oscar nominations in the Best Animated Feature category. GKIDS films have captured eight nominations in the last seven years, including three years in which it had two of the category’s five nominations: “A Cat in Paris” and “Chico & Rita” in 2012, “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” and “Song of the Sea” in 2015, and “Boy and the World” and “When Marnie Was There” earlier this year.

“Miss Hokusai,” adapted by Miho Maruo and directed by Keiichi Hara, tells the story of O-Ei, the daughter of famed artist Katsushika Hokusai, as she comes of age in the Edo period in Japan, creating portraits and erotic sketches of her own that were sold under her father’s name. It was produced by Production I.G., a Japanese animation company whose other films include “Ghost in the Shell” and “A Letter to Momo,” the latter of which was also distributed by GKIDS in North America.

“Miss Hokusai” recently won the Jury Prize at the Annecy Film Festival, and has also won top awards at the Fantasia Film Festival, the Sitges Film Festival and the Asia Pacifica Screen Awards.

The film’s North American distribution was announced at last weekend’s Anime Expo 2016, but GKIDS opted not to reveal its participation until Thursday.

GKIDS will also have the upcoming July release “Phantom Boy” in this year’s Oscar race, which promises to be one of the most competitive years ever in the animated-feature category.