One of the most visually interesting features to pop up in the 2017 Animation Is Film festival was MFKZ, a completely original and absolutely insane feature from writer/co-director Guillaume “Run” Renard and co-director Shoujirou Nishimi. This darkly humored genre mash-up with grindhouse aesthetics follows a peculiar tenant in an LA-like dystopian city who discovers he possesses incredible powers and a damning legacy. It looks absolutely bonkers, as you can see for yourself in a new trailer.
Previously released under the name Mutafukaz, GKIDS will now release the film in North American territories as MFKZ, having acquired domestic distribution rights from France’s Ankama and Japan’s Studio 4°C. The deal for the film was negotiated by Eric Beckman of GKIDS and Hengameh Panahi of Celluloid Dreams. Co-directed by Renard and Shoujirou Nishimi, GKIDS will release the film theatrically on October 11, 2018 including a new English-language version.
Check out the new trailer for the GKIDS’ North American release of MFKZ:
Here’s the official synopsis for MFKZ:
Genre-mashup MFKZ is the love-child of French comic artist Guillaume “Run” Renard and ultra-hip Japanese animation house Studio 4°C, creators of Tekkonkinkreet, Genius Party and Mind Game. The Tekkonkinkreet dream team of Shoujirou Nishimi and art director Shinji Kimura reunite to bring to life a dark but stunningly animated sci-fi vision that mixes anime, film noir, Lucha Libre, and gang culture in an orgy of first-person shooter mayhem.
The film centers on young Angelino and his skull-and-flame pal Vinny, who live in a seedy tenement in an LA-inspired dystopian metropolis – a burnt-out, gang and cockroach-ridden neo-urban hell that makes Blade Runner’s LA seem like The Brady Bunch. Following a scooter accident Angelino starts experiencing migraines and strange hallucinations, as well as fits of rage-inspired superpowers, as he slowly awakens to the truth of his origins: he is half human and half Macho, a supernatural alien race that is bent on taking over the planet.
“We have known the team at GKIDS for some time, and we are thrilled that MFKZ marks our first partnership. We look forward to supporting the team in bringing the film to North American audiences,” said Frederic Puech, MFKZ Associate Producer at Ankama.
The work of Guillaume Renard, aka Run, falls within a modern approach blending stylized drawings, pulp references and strong urban culture. His first animated short Operation Blackhead (selected at Sundance, 2003) was a precursor to the MFKZ universe. In 2006, Ankama Editions published the first volume of MFKZ and in 2008 Run created Label 619, a literary collection of comics and artbooks with urban-inspired designs and vintage pop culture references.
Shoujiro Nishimi is a director of animated films known for his realistic productions and spectacular action scenes. His use of original characters with distinctive proportions immediately attracts his viewers’ attention, and his unique, delicate universe is the culmination of his artistic brilliance. He worked as director of animation on Tekkonkinkreet, which was awarded Best Animated Film at the Japanese Academy.
As for GKIDS, they also handle North American distribution for the famed Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world’s most coveted animation collections with titles Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and others. GKIDS recently launched ANIMATION IS FILM, an annual LA-based film festival. ANIMATION IS FILM embraces the highest aspirations of animation as a cinematic art form and is a vocal advocate for filmmakers who push the boundaries of their work to the fullest range of expression that the medium is capable of.