The film is directed by his son, Goro Miyazaki (From Up on Poppy Hill, Tales From Earthsea) and produced by the acclaimed studio’s co-founder Toshio Suzuki. Hayao Miyazaki, who won a competitive Oscar for 2001’s Spirited Away and an honorary award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 2014 Governors Awards, was involved in the movie’s planning.
Based on the children’s novel Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle), the story follows Earwig, who grew up in an orphanage with no idea that her mother had magical powers. Her life takes a new turn when a strange family takes her in and she is forced to live with a selfish witch.
The film marks Studio Ghibli’s first entirely 3D computer-animated feature. An official selection for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, Earwig and the Witch will be released theatrically in North America in early 2021.
In Tuesday’s announcement, GKIDS quoted Goro Miyazaki as having said, “Nowadays, in our country, there are many adults and few children. It must be tough for these children, so few of them having to deal with so many adults. … I sincerely hope that our adorable Earwig will encourage children and cheer up adults.”
“A new Studio Ghibli film is always a cause for celebration for fans around the world,” GKIDS president David Jesteadt said in a released statement. “We are excited to see Goro Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli working in a new animation style, and look forward to sharing the film with audiences early next year.”
Since 2009, GKIDS releases have scored 11 best animated feature Oscar nominations for titles including Studio Ghibli’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and When Marnie Was There. GKIDS also handles North American distribution for the Studio Ghibli library of films.
The Academy plans to pay tribute to Hayao Miyazaki’s artwork with a special exhibit next year when its museum in Los Angeles opens.