Madman Entertainment has announced that it will be the Australian and New Zealand distributor for MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER, the first feature from former Studio Ghibli filmmakers Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura. No local release date has been set yet, but it is scheduled for release in Japan in July 2017.
Based on the novel The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart, producer Nishimura and director Yonebayashi were also the filmmaking duo behind the 2015 Oscar®-nominated When Marnie Was There. Their new venture Studio Ponoc’s first feature follows Mary, a bored and lonely girl spending the summer with her great aunt. When she follows an odd cat into the nearby woods, she stumbles upon flowers imbued with a magical juice that transforms Mary’s humble little broomstick. Whisking her above the clouds, the broomstick takes her to a secret place where she finds Endor College – a school of magic!
Hiromasa Yonebayashi is a veteran of Studio Ghibli, having worked with the group since at least Princess Mononoke in 1997. As a key animator on Spirited Away, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea and the director of The Secret World of Arrietty, he is sure to bring his lively style to a whole new generation of kids.
They are joined on their new venture by a number of former Ghibli animators. Around 18 months ago, the filmmakers visited Shropshire in the UK to take in the pastoral world in which Mary Stewart wrote the original story.