IFC Center to Run Complete Studio Ghibli Retrospective Beginning December 16th; Limited Theatrical Debuts Planned for 2012

     November 14, 2011


Earlier this year I was able to do a Hayao Miyazaki retrospective through Netflix DVD rentals, but his films lose their cinematic scope on the small screen.  Characters in My Neighbor Totoro (tied with Spirited Away as my favorite Miyazaki film), Castle in the Sky, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind soar through the air through massive landscapes and it would be wonderful to see these movies in theaters.  Thankfully, that opportunity will come to New York’s IFC Center beginning December 16th when Studio Ghibli and distributor GKIDS do a 15-film retrospective, which will include Miyazaki’s films.  The retrospective will run until January 12th, feature new 35mm prints, and will run both subtitled and English-dubbed versions.

But it gets even better.  GKIDS plans to bring the retrospective to Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Toronto, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and other major markets in early 2012.  Fingers crossed one of those markets is Atlanta.  And even if it isn’t, GKIDS is also planning limited releases of select Studio Ghibli titles, many of which have never been released theatrically in the US.  If these movies swing by your city, make sure you check them out.  Hit the jump for the full press release and list of movies playing in the retrospective.  Advance tickets can be purchased at gkids.com.

spirited-away-movie-poster-01Here’s the press release, which includes a list of movies playing in the retrospective and whether they’re subtitled and/or dubbed.


15 TITLES FROM 1984 TO 2008










New York, New York – November 14, 2011 – GKIDS, a distributor of award winning animation for both adults and family audiences, is bringing a complete retrospective of films from Japan’s renowned Studio Ghibli to the IFC Center in New York from Friday, December 16 to Thursday, January 12.  The run will include US premiere theatrical engagements for several titles.

All fifteen Studio Ghibli feature films produced between 1984 and 2008 will be presented, including Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award® winning Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Kiki’s Delivery Service.  Films will be shown in both the subtitled and English dubbed versions.  (See below for a complete list of titles.)

GKIDS recently entered into agreement with Studio Ghibli to handle North American theatrical distribution for their library of animated features.  As the first engagements announced under the agreement, New York Film Festival presented a 25 year anniversary screening of Castle in the Sky and 10 year anniversary screenings of Spirited Away.  LA County Museum of Art and Film Independent will be presenting these same anniversary titles in a special preview screening on November 26.

nausicaa-movie-poster-01Following the IFC Center engagement, the retrospective will tour to major US and Canadian markets, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Toronto, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and other cities, throughout the first half of 2012.  GKIDS is also planning limited releases of select Studio Ghibli titles, many of which have never been released theatrically in the US, beginning late 2012.

Eric Beckman, GKIDS president, said, “I am both excited and deeply honored to be working with Studio Ghibli to bring this amazing slate of films to theaters across North America. I am in continual awe of the brilliance of the animation, the depth and humanity of the storytelling, and of the filmmakers’ understanding that even the youngest audiences are capable of appreciating all the subtlety and nuance that cinema has to offer.  As Miyazaki has said ‘Children understand the complexity and uncertainty of things almost with their skin. They cannot be underestimated.’ ”

The Studio Ghibli agreement further solidifies GKIDS position as a home for award-winning animation.  GKIDS began as a spin-off of New York International Children’s Film Festival and found early success securing a Best Animated Feature Oscar® nomination for The Secret of Kells in 2010.  GKIDS has two films competing in the animated feature category for the upcoming Academy Awards®, European Film Award nominee A Cat in Paris, and Oscar®-winner Fernando Trueba’s Chico & Rita, also an EFA nominee. Chico & Rita is being released under GKIDS’ newly formed LumaFilms banner, due to the adult subject matter of the film.


Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by animation directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and is one of the most successful and well-respected animation studios in the world. Cultivating a creative force of talented directors, animators, and storytellers under the revered brilliance of Miyazaki and Takahata, Studio Ghibli’s films have been praised for their originality, dazzling animation, and epic storytelling.  The films have become a beloved part of Japanese popular culture, and have garnered worldwide acclaim from audiences and critics alike.  Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2002 and in 2005 Miyazaki was named one of “the most influential people” by TIME Magazine.


GKIDS is a distributor of award-winning animation for both adult and family audiences. Theatrical releases include Tomm Moore’s Oscar nominated The Secret of Kells, Michel Ocelot’s acclaimed Azur & Asmar, European Film Award Best Animated Feature winner Mia and the Migoo, Nina Paley’s multiple-award-winning Sita Sings the Blues, and Japan Academy Prize winner Summer Wars by Mamoru Hosoda. Upcoming GKIDS releases include 2011 Berlin official selection A Cat in Paris and Annecy winner Eleanor’s Secret.  GKIDS is also producer of New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival, North America’s largest festival of film for children and teens.  NYICFF is an Oscar®-qualifying event and jury members include Uma Thurman, Susan Sarandon, Gus van Sant, Matthew Modine, James Schamus, Michel Ocelot, and Christine Vachon.


Title Director (Producer) Versions Year RT
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Hayao Miyazaki              (Isao Takahata) Subtitled and dubbed (Uma Thurman, Shia LeBouf, Edward James Olmos,  Mark Hamill) 1984 116 min
Castle in the Sky Hayao Miyazaki             (Isao Takahata) Subtitled only 1986 126 min
My Neighbor Totoro Hayao Miyazaki               (Toru Hara) Subtitled and dubbed (Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Tim Daly, Frank Welker) 1988 86 min
Kiki’s Delivery Service Hayao Miyazaki           (Hayao Miyazaki) Subtitled and dubbed (Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Janeane Garofalo, Debbie Reynolds) 1989 102 min
Only Yesterday Isao Takahata          (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled only 1991 118 min
The Ocean Waves Tomomi Mochizuki     (Nozomu Takahashi) Subtitled only, digital only 1993 72 min
Porco Rosso Hayao Miyazaki             (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Brad Garrett, David Ogden Stiers) 1992 94 min
Pom Poko Isao Takahata             (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (J.K. Simmons, Brian Posehn, Tress MacNeille, John DiMaggio) 1994 119 min
Whisper of the Heart Yoshifumi Kondo       (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (Ashley Tisdale, Cary Elwes,  Harold Gould, Brittany Snow) 1995 111 min
Princess Mononoke Hayao Miyazaki         (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton, Jada Pinkett Smith, John DiMaggio) 1997 134 min
My Neighbors the Yamadas Isao Takahata            (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (James Belushi, Molly Shannon, Tress MacNeille) 1999 111 min
Spirited Away Hayao Miyazaki          (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Michael Chiklis, Susan Egan) 2001 125 min
The Cat Returns Hiroyuki Morita          (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Peter Boyle, Elliott Gould, Tim Curry, Andy Richter, Kristen Bell, Avril Lavigne) 2002 75 min
Howl’s Moving Castle Hayao Miyazaki          (Toshio Suzuki) Dubbed (Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Billy Crystal) 2004 119 min
Ponyo Hiroyuki Morita          (Toshio Suzuki) Dubbed (Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, Tina Fey) 2008 101 min
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  • aaronsullivan

    Would love to see Nausicaa and Totoro in 35mm. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Princess Mononoke, Sprited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo in theaters which amazes me. Never thought Miyazaki’s movies would get proper respect in the US. Thank you, John Lasseter.

    As a kid, I remember watching the butchered version of Nausicaa, named Warriors of the Wind, over and over after renting it and then taping it from the Disney Channel. Had a great dub actually, just the writing and editing really chopped out a big chunk of the heart. The new dub is excellent, thankfully. If I’m going to watch it on the big screen, I don’t want to be reading text, lol.

    Although it’s not my favorite, I’ve always wanted to watch Castle in the Sky (Laputa) in the theater because it was advertised in front of the theatrical release of Akira.

    Watching these with my kids has made me really enjoy Totoro and Ponyo the most over time. I think I even like Ponyo better.

  • Jonah

    Not a complete feature retrospectove. I’m not going to make a fuss about Tales From Earthsea, but why oh why is Grave of the Fireflies being snubbed?!

    Now that that’s out of the way: this is totally awesome. And I am so impressed that they are going to be offering a choice between subtitled and dubbed versions of almost all the films! And what an opportunity to see the rarely screened (in America) films of Ghibli not directed by Hayao Miyazaki! I am absolutely stoked. I’ve never seen Grave of the Fireflies, so I can’t help but be a little disappointed at the one major omission of the retrospective. But of course I am totally stoked about this. This lineup is just classic after classic. You can’t go wrong with any of these films. I’m fine that they’re not showing the dub for Castle in the Sky, as that’s the one Disney dub that fans dislike. Hayao Miyazaki is arguably the greatest animator who ever lived, and in my opinion the finest filmmaker living today. I want to see every program in this retrospective. Now, if they would show Ghibli shorts before each feature, I would be ecstatic…

    • Jason

      Miyazaki didn’t direct Grave Of The Fireflies.

      Not every Ghibli movie is a Miyazaki film.

  • Jon Turner

    “Castle in the Sky” is not the only dub that fans have hated; even “My Neighbor Totoro” has gotten scathing reviews.

    But as someone who really loves the LAPUTA dub and frankly, doesn’t think it deserves the backlash, I find it baffling they’re not screening it. GKids HAS screened the film in English before so why not now?

  • Jon Turner

    Personally, I am not fine with this decision. Yes, there ARE detractors of the LAPUTA dub, but it also has its share of fans who actually like the film in English and it’s not just me. Something is clearly not right here.

  • Jon Turner

    UPDATE: Here’s why they’re not showing LAPUTA’s dub at this screening: it’s because the elements in the 35mm print they showed VS the DVD mix differ, and so they’re trying to get the elements ready for a brand new print. IOW, it’s not because of how fans feel about the dub. GKids actually loves the dub and recognize it has its share of fans. The real reason is because they were not able to get a revised print of the dub ready in time for the NYC screenings. It has nothing to do with purist backlash.