||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (December 2015)|
|Headquarters||New York City, United States|
GKIDS (Guerrilla Kids International Distribution Syndicate) is an American film distributor based in New York with a focus on "sophisticated, indie" animation. GKIDS uses a "bespoke" distribution method to release critically acclaimed, hand-drawn, international films—such as the works of renowned Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki—to North American audiences.
The company has gained prominence since 2010 by garnering a series of Academy Award nominations for little-known, "underdog" films, beating out big-budget American films such as The Lego Movie and The Peanuts Movie.
GKIDS was founded in 2008 by Eric Beckman, who previously founded and ran the New York International Children's Film Festival since 1997. Their first general release was Azur & Asmar, a French film dubbed in English for British and Irish audiences.
The company attained national recognition with the 2010 release of The Secret of Kells, the debut film by Irish animator Tomm Moore, which received a nomination for Best Animated Feature at the 82nd Academy Awards. This surprise nomination was followed by two more Best Animated Feature nominations at the 84th Academy Awards, Spanish-language Chico and Rita and French-language A Cat in Paris. Both nominations were considered highly surprising by film insiders, beating out such notables as The Adventures of Tintin and Cars 2—the first eligible Pixar film not to be nominated since the category's founding. This marked the first time that an independent distributor had two films in the Best Animated Feature category in the same year, a decision which Puss in Boots director Chris Miller said indicated the Academy's "respect for diversity."
In September 2011, GKIDS announced the acquisition of the North American theatrical rights (previously held by Disney) to the widely acclaimed Studio Ghibli collection, including such titles as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and My Neighbor Totoro. GKIDS has since also managed the North American distribution of two new Studio Ghibli films, From Up on Poppy Hill in 2013 and The Tale of Princess Kaguya in 2014.
GKIDS received three more Oscar nominations in 2014 and 2015 with Ernest & Celestine, Song of the Sea, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. These latter two films beat out The Lego Movie, widely considered to be the frontrunner for the award. GKIDS has since released four new films in 2015, of which When Marnie Was There, Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet and Boy & the World are in the running for Best Animated Feature at the 88th Academy Awards.
Style and reception
While films distributed by GKIDS span a wide range of nationalities, languages, and animation styles, the distributor focuses almost exclusively on "handmade, mostly auteur-driven animated movies" created by individual animators working with small teams. Founder Eric Beckman has described their films as counter-programming to the predominance of "expensive-to-produce, expensive-to-distribute" animated films, primarily made using CGI, embodied by Kung Fu Panda 2 or Puss in Boots. To this end, the company relies heavily on critical reception and accolades to attract audiences, rather than big-budget marketing campaigns. Beckman has said of the Academy Awards, "The Oscars are the great equalizer. You don't have to spend millions to reach millions, you look to a smaller group of people who know and like film [...] But you've got to start with something super."
As a result of this focus on artful, stylistically distinct animation, GKIDS has been widely hailed by critics and animation insiders as a welcome complement to the standard Hollywood fare. Various sources have referred to GKIDS as "the saints of independent animation," "one of the most notable independent distribution companies in the US," and "the country's best distributor [for] traditional hand-drawn animation." Industry magazine Film Journal International said of the company's track record, "The reason GKIDS films keep getting nominated despite the company's low (relative to Disney, DreamWorks, et. al.) profile is that, simply put, their films tend to be really good."
Two films in GKIDS's collection have a perfect 100% fresh rating on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, The Tale of Princess Kaguya with 80 positive reviews and Sita Sings the Blues with 32 positive reviews. This latter film, combining stylistic elements of Rajput painting, shadow puppets, vector graphic animation, and Squigglevision, was selected by Chicago Sun-Times reviewer Roger Ebert for his annual Ebertfest, calling it "one of the year's best films":
I was enchanted. I was swept away. I was smiling from one end of the film to the other. It is astonishingly original. It brings together four entirely separate elements and combines them into a great whimsical chord. [...] To get any film made is a miracle. To conceive of a film like this is a greater miracle.— Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert's Journal
Films distributed by GKIDS
|US title||Original title||US release||Rotten Tomatoes score|
|Tahaan||Tahaan||September 5, 2008||No reviews|
|Azur & Asmar||Azur et Asmar||October 17, 2008 (New York)
November 27, 2008
|Sita Sings the Blues||Sita Sings the Blues||December 25, 2009 (New York)||100%|
|Secret of Kells, TheThe Secret of Kells||Secret of Kells, TheThe Secret of Kells||March 5, 2010 (New York)
March 19, 2010
|West of Pluto||À l'ouest de Pluton||March 26, 2010||No reviews|
|Summer Wars||Samā Wōzu||December 3, 2010||76%|
|Eleanor's Secret||Kérity : La Maison des contes||January 21, 2011||No reviews|
|Mia and the Migoo||Mia et le Migou||March 25, 2011 (New York)
April 22, 2011
|Studio Ghibli Collection, TheThe Studio Ghibli Collection||Studio Ghibli Collection, TheThe Studio Ghibli Collection
||December 16, 2011|
|Chico & Rita||Chico & Rita||February 10, 2012 (New York)
February 17, 2012
|Cat in Paris, AA Cat in Paris||Une vie de chat||June 1, 2012||82%|
|Tales of the Night||Contes de la nuit, LesLes Contes de la nuit||September 26, 2012||78%|
|The Rabbi's Cat||Le Chat du rabbin||December 7, 2012 (New York)
January 4, 2013
|Approved for Adoption||Couleur de peau: miel||February 8, 2013 (New York)||No reviews|
|Wrinkles||Arrugas||February 8, 2013||96%|
|Letter to Momo, AA Letter to Momo||Momo e no Tegami||February 10, 2013||79%|
|Ernest & Celestine||Ernest et Célestine||February 27, 2013||97%|
|From Up on Poppy Hill||Kokuriko-zaka kara||March 15, 2013||83%|
|Painting, TheThe Painting||Tableau, LeLe Tableau||May 10, 2013||82%|
|Grave of the Fireflies||Hotaru no Haka||November 9, 2013||97%|
|Patema Inverted||Sakasama no Patema||August 29, 2014||79%|
|Nocturna||Nocturna, la nuit magique||September 4, 2014||No reviews|
|Welcome to the Space Show||Uchū Show e Yōkoso||October 14, 2014||No reviews|
|The Tale of the Princess Kaguya||Kaguya-hime no Monogatari||October 17, 2014||100%|
|Song of the Sea||Song of the Sea||December 19, 2014||99%|
|When Marnie Was There||Omoide no Marnie||May 22, 2015||90%|
|Zarafa||Zarafa||July 3, 2015||76%|
|Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet||Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet||August 7, 2015||70%|
|The Boy and the World||O Menino e o Mundo||December 11, 2015||94%|
The company also tours selections of short and feature films screened at NYICFF across the country. In mid-2009 the live-action features Tahaan and West of Pluto (À l'ouest de Pluton) were licensed for potential general releases but plans for both were dropped by late 2011 in favour of a focus on animation.
- "About us". GKIDS.tv. GKIDS. February 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
GKIDS is the producer of the fabulous New York International Children's Film Festival (NYICFF), […] Since its inception in 1997, […] This year's festival runs from February 29 to March 16 in multiple theaters around New York City.
- Kilday, Gregg. "Independent Distributor GKIDS Makes Its Mark With Two Oscar Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
- Marechal, AJ (September 7, 2011). "GKids to release Miyazaki toons in U.S.". Variety. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
- "Tour". Retrieved February 10, 2012.
- No general release but made available for individual bookings.
- Animated Features 5
- Shinnick, Kevin G. (February 13, 2010). "The Secret of Kells". Animated Discussions Forum. Yuku. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
The Secret of Kells […] will open theatrically at New York’s IFC Center on March 5, […] followed by a previously-announced opening in Boston on March 19 […]
- "Summer Wars in Tempe, Minneapolis, Portland, Greensboro (updated) – News". Anime News Network. Anime News Network. December 2, 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
- Hey everyone! We... | Facebook
- "Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata & the Masters of Studio Ghibli". IFC Center. AMC Networks. 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
Friday, December 16 – Thursday, January 12, 2012 […] Don’t miss your chance to see some of the greatest films of all time on new 35mm prints, including such favorites as My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, and Spirited Away, as well as rare films like Only Yesterday and Ocean Waves. Most films will be presented in both subtitled and English dubbed versions.
- "Buy tickets!". Chico & Rita – Official USA. Facebook. 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
- "About". A Cat in Paris. Facebook. 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
- "Find a theater". Tales of the Night. Facebook. 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
- "The Rabbi's Cat". IFC Center. AMC Networks. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
Friday, December 7 – Thursday, December 13, 2012
- "Theaters & Openings". The Rabbi's Cat. Facebook. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
Opens January 4th 2013
- "Has there been a US…". Wrinkles the film (official US page). Facebook. August 15, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
- "GKIDS Films". Twitter. November 12, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
It will be released properly in summer 2013
- GKIDS to distribute Ernest & Celestine | Cartoon Brew
- "GKIDS Films". Twitter. November 18, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
[…] it will open again 3/15 in NY/LA, expand to more cities right after.
- "Cover photos". GKIDS. Facebook. May 3, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
In select theaters May 10
- Savage, Sophia (November 20, 2012). "GKIDS to release Studio Ghibli's Takahata masterpiece Grave of the Fireflies". Thompson on Hollywood. SnagFilms. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
GKIDS plans to release the film in 2013 to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
- Beck, Jerry (August 25, 2014). "GKIDS sets Dec. 19th for "Song Of The Sea" Engagements in New York and Toronto". Animation Scoop. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Keslassy, Elsa (June 3, 2012). "GKIDS plays with Gallic toons". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- Beck, Jerry. "GKIDS Acquires North American Rights For Brazil's "Boy and His World"". Animation Scoop. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- "GKIDS Films". GKIDS. Archived from the original on October 11, 2009.