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Studio Ponoc Short Film Anthology, ‘Modest Heroes,’ Headed to North America

GKIDS acquires North American rights to ‘Modest Heroes: Studio Ponoc Short Theatre, Volume 1’; theatrical release set for January 2019.

‘Invisible’ directed by Akihiko Yamashita.

NEW YORK -- GKIDS has acquired North American distribution rights for Studio Ponoc’s animated anthology Modest Heroes: Ponoc Short Films Theatre, Volume 1. This feature-length collection of short films is the latest project from Studio Ponoc, the new Japanese animation studio founded by two-time Academy Award-nominee Yoshiaki Nishimura (The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, When Marnie Was There). Modest Heroes is the studio’s follow up to last year’s critically-acclaimed animated feature Mary and The Witch’s Flower, also distributed by GKIDS.

GKIDS will release Modest Heroes theatrically in January 2019 (specific date TBD) in both subtitled and English versions, following its upcoming U.S. premiere at the Animation is Film festival in Los Angeles later this month.

There are three stories in the anthology: Kanini & Kanino, Life Ain’t Gonna Lose, and Invisible.

In Kanini & Kanino, directed by Academy Award-nominee Hiromasa Yonebayashi (When Marnie Was There, Mary and The Witch’s Flower), two crab brothers embark on a grand underwater adventure to find their father, after an accident carries him far downstream. Depicted as tiny beings in a large and merciless natural world, the brothers must evade a series of freshwater predators if they are ever to reunite with their family again.

‘Kanini & Kanino’ directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi.

In Life Ain’t Gonna Lose, acclaimed animator Yoshiyuki Momose (key animator on Isao Takahata’s films at Studio Ghibli, and animation director of the video game Ni No Kuni) makes his directorial debut with a very different kind of story. Eight-year-old Shun loves baseball and to run. Only eggs defeat him. With the love of his strong-willed mother (Maggie Q), Shun faces the challenge of an everyday life threatened by a deadly allergy.

Lastly, in Invisible (the directing debut of Akihiko Yamashita, a talented key animator on many of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki’s best-known films) a man wakes up one morning and goes through his day in a world where no one can see him. But just when he seems to have reached his limit, a momentous decision gives him the chance to reclaim his humanity.

Together, the stories explore ideas of heroism large and small, and the infinite potential of the short film format allows the directors and Studio Ponoc to experiment with breathtaking, action-packed visuals, concise human drama, and gorgeous fantasy worlds, in this unforgettable short film anthology that is further demonstration of the studio’s exciting future.

“Like everyone who fell in love with Mary and The Witch’s Flower, we couldn’t wait to see what Studio Ponoc would do next,” said GKIDS president David Jesteadt. “We are thrilled that they returned with not one but three new stories, and we are honored to continue our partnership with one of the most innovative and exciting animation studios working today.”

The all-rights deal for Modest Heroes was negotiated by David Jesteadt of GKIDS and Geoffrey Wexler of Studio Ponoc.

‘Life Ain’t Gonna Lose’ directed by Yoshiyuki Momose.

Source: GKIDS