Ghibli to distribute foreign titles

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TOKYO -- Famed around the world for its animated film, Japan's Studio Ghibli is branching out into distributing a range of foreign titles in the territory.

The producer behind such classics as "Spirited Away" and "Princess Mononoke" -- both directed by Hayao Miyazaki -- has distributed two imported films in the past, but wants to give Japanese moviegoers even wider access to animated cinema.

"Both previous films proved very successful and it is clear that the approach worked and people want to see different stories and different styles," said Mikiko Takeda of Studio Ghibli's international division. "We believe we are the only ones who can introduce these movies to an audience."

The previous titles were "Kirikou and the Sorcerer," by Michel Ocelot, and Paul Grimault's "Le Roi et L'Oiseau."

The new project is being undertaken by the Ghibli Museum and will see the films screened at the Cinema Angelika in Tokyo's Shibuya district, Takeda said.

"To only have stills from these movies on display at the museum would not work as animation needs to be seen in that form for it to work," Takeda said. "We intend to screen films at specific times of the year: in the spring, summer and winter vacation seasons, so that as many children can see them as possible."

The first film, Alexander Petrov's "My Love," will be shown in March under the title "The Awakening of Spring."

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