Cinedigm Teams With GKIDS for New Animation Label

HAND-DRAWN: "From Up on Poppy Hill"

GKIDS is putting up for consideration "From Up on Poppy Hill" from Studio Ghibli (the Japanese studio behind "Spirited Away" and "Ponyo"), which is set in Yokohama in 1963 and focuses on a high school couple's love.

UPDATED: "From Up on Poppy Hill" is the first of seven titles from around the world that will be distributed in ancillary markets by Cinedigm, with GKIDS retaining theatrical rights.

Cinedigm and animation distributor GKIDS have partnered to launch a new animation label, with GKIDS continuing to do its own theatrical releases while Cinedigm handles the DVD, Blu-Ray and video-on-demand distribution.

The first film is From Up on Poppy Hill, which is still in domestic U.S. release.  Cinedigm will release the title Sept. 3 in home video and on VOD, , says Cinedigm;s chief marketing officer Jill Newhouse Calcaterra,

The agreement covers 11 titles in all. 

Most of the other new films that Cinedigm will handle in ancillary markets have not yet gotten a U.S. theatrical release: Jean-François Laguionie’s The Painting, Ignacio Ferreras’ Wrinkles, Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie’s Zarafa, and Jung Henin and Laurent Boileau's animated documentary Approved for Adoption.

Cinedigm will also distribute Hiroyuki Okiura’s A Letter to Momo, which saw a limited release in 2012, and Antoine Delesvaux and Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat, which had a New York–Los Angeles theatrical release in December 2012.

Cinedigm already coordinates home distribution for three Oscar-nominated animated movies released by GKIDS -- The Secret of Kells, Chico & Rita and A Cat in Paris -- as well as Michel Ocelot’s Tales of the Night.

“There’s an explosion of world-class animation coming from all corners of the globe, and these films cross borders seamlessly,” says Cinedigm chairman and CEO Chris McGurk. “GKIDS has an incredible sense for what works and how to introduce these films to welcoming audiences.”

“We are looking forward to teaming up with Cinedigm to build the U.S. market for international animation,” says GKIDS president Eric Beckman.