New York, NY – GKIDS has announced that From Up on Poppy Hill, The Rabbi’s Cat, and Zarafa have been nominated for the 2012 Annie Awards, with The Rabbi's Cat receving two nominations. The 40th Annual Annie Awards will take place on February 2, 2013 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, in Los Angeles, California. All three films are qualified for the upcoming 85th Academy Awards. Nominees for the Oscars are announced on January 10.
GKIDS Annie Award Nominees:
3D, Animation, Joann Sfar & Antoine Delesvaux, France, 2011, 89 minutes
Based on the best-selling graphic novel by Joann Sfar, The Rabbi’s Cat tells the story of a rabbi and his talking cat -- a sharp-tongued feline philosopher brimming with scathing humor and a less than pure love for the rabbi’s voluptuous teenage daughter. Algeria in the 1930s is an intersection of Jewish, Arab and French culture. A cat belonging to a widowed rabbi eats the family parrot and miraculously gains the ability to speak. Along with the power of speech comes unparalleled sardonic wit, and the cat -- and filmmaker Sfar -- spare no group or individual as they skewer faith, tradition and authority in a provocative exploration of (among other things) God, lust, death, phrenology, religious intolerance, interspecies love, and the search for truth. Rich with the colors, textures, and flavors of Mediterranean Africa, the film takes us on a cross continent adventure from the tiled terraces, fountains, quays and cafes of colonial Algiers to Maghrebi tent camps and dusty trading outposts, in search of a lost Ethiopian city. Joann Sfar is an award winning filmmaker (Gainsbourg) and one of France’s most celebrated comic artists.
Animation, Rémi Bezançon & Jean-Christophe Lie, France/Belgium, 2012, 78 minutes
The French box office breakout from animator Jean-Christophe Lie (Triplets of Belleville) and live action director Rémi Bezançon (A Happy Event) was inspired by the true historical account of a giraffe given as a gift to King Charles X of France by the Pasha of Egypt. Under a baobab tree, an old man tells the story of the everlasting friendship between Maki, a little boy aged 10 who has narrowly escaped slavery, and an orphaned baby giraffe named Zarafa. Hassan, Prince of the Desert, is instructed by the Pasha to deliver Zarafa to France. But Maki has made up his mind to do everything in his power to stop Hassan from fulfilling his mission and to bring the giraffe back to its native land -- even if it means risking his own life. During an epic journey that takes them from Sudan to Paris, passing on the way through Alexandria, Marseille and the snow-capped Alps, they have many adventures, crossing paths with the balloonist Malaterre, a pair of mystical twin cows called Mounh and Sounh (Moon and Sun), and falling into the hands of the fearsome pirate queen Bouboulina.
Animation, Goro Miyazaki, Japan, 2011, 91 min
From the legendary Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Ponyo, and The Secret World of Arrietty) comes From Up on Poppy Hill, the highly anticipated new feature from Goro Miyazaki and Hayao Miyazaki. Set in Yokohama in 1963, this lovingly hand-drawn film centers on Umi (voiced by Sarah Bolger) and Shun (voiced by Anton Yelchin) and the budding romance that develops as they join forces to save their high school’s ramshackle clubhouse from demolition. The story takes place in a Japan that is picking itself up from the devastation of World War II and preparing to host the 1964 Olympics -- and the mood is one of both optimism and conflict as the new generation struggles to embrace modernity and throw off the shackles of a troubled past. The top-grossing Japanese release of 2011 and winner of the Japan Academy Prize for Animation, From Up on Poppy Hill captures the innocence of new love as well as the beauty of Yokohama’s harbor and lush surroundings. With its rich color palette, stunning exteriors, sun-drenched gardens, bustling cityscapes and painterly detail, From Up on Poppy Hill provides a pure, sincere, and nuanced evocation of the past, and marks yet another creative triumph for Studio Ghibli. The film was directed by Goro Miyazaki from a screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki, with Hayao Miyazaki supervising the production, and is the first feature collaboration between father and son. English language voice cast includes Gillian Anderson, Sarah Bolger, Beau Bridges, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bruce Dern, Jeff Dunham, Isabelle Fuhrman, Christina Hendricks, Ron Howard, Chris Noth, Emily Osment, Aubrey Plaza, Charlie Saxton, Alex Wolff and Anton Yelchin.
The Rabbi’s Cat opens Friday December 7th in New York at the IFC Center, in advance of a national release in January. Tickets are available at www.gkids.tv/intheaters . Studio Ghibli’s From Up on Poppy Hill will be released March 15 and Zarafa is scheduled for June 7.