nishimura yoshiaki

“The film is based on Mary Stewart’s novel ‘The Little Broomstick’.  We’re thinking that maybe the broomstick looks something like this…”

Former Studio Ghibli/Arrietty/Marnie Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi & Ghibli Producer Yoshiaki Nishimura have set up a new studio and made a new film “Mary And The Witch’s Flower” which was released in Japan this month and is set for release around the world later this year, check out the latest trailer below-


First Look: Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Yoshiaki Nishimura – producer of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and When Marnie Was There – founded Studio Ponoc on April 15, 2015 with several former Studio Ghibli animators. The name of the studio comes from the Croatian word for ‘midnight’, meant to signify “the beginning of a new day.”

Mary and the Witch’s Flower, the studio’s first feature film, is scheduled for a 2017 release. The film is based on The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart. Several former employees of Studio Ghibli have joined the studio to work on the film.


Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017) | Official Trailer (English trailer here)

This is the feature film debut of Studio Ponoc, which was founded in 2015 by ex-Studio Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura and is staffed by many former Ghibli employees. The film is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (When Marnie Was There, Arriety) and based on The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart. More info at ANN.

GKIDS Acquires ‘Mary and the Witch’s Flower’

Indie distributor GKIDS has acquired the North American distribution rights to Mary and the Witch’s Flower, the inaugural feature from Japan-based Studio Ponoc.

The film is directed by Academy Award-nominee Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There) and is produced by Studio Ponoc founder and two-time Academy Award-nominee Yoshiaki Nishimura (Studio Ghibli’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and When Marnie Was There).

GKIDS distributed Princess Kaguya and When Marnie Was There, both of which were nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower was written by Riko Sakaguchi, based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s book The Little Broomstick. It tells the story of a young girl named Mary, who discovers a flower that grants magical powers, but only for one night.

A winter release is planned. The deal was negotiated by Mike Runagall for Altitude Film Sales and Eric Beckman for GKIDS.

Source: Carolyn Giardina hollywoodreporter


Trailer: Arrietty & Marnie Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi Launches New Studio and New Feature Film: Mary And The Witch Flower (2017)

Studio Ponoc, the anime studio founded by former Studio Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura, announced its first feature length anime film Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Mary to Majo no Hana) on Thursday. The anime will debut in summer 2017. The film is based on Mary Stewart’s book The Little Broomstick.

Studio Ponoc posted both a Japanese and an English trailer. While the Japanese trailer reveals a summer 2017 debut, the English trailer just lists a 2017 debut.

Yonebayashi previously stated that he wanted his next film to be the “opposite” of When Marnie Was There.


New Witchy Film From “Studio Ghibli Veterans” Looks Just As Magical As Miyazaki-san’s. 🌸Mary and the Witch’s Flower🌸

Starved Studio Ghibli fans now have something new to look forward to.
At 14. December 2016, Ghibli veterans, under the auspices of Studio Ponoc, released a trailer for a fantastical, Ghibliesque movie called Mary and the Witch’s Flower, slated for Summer, 2017.
Based on Mary Stewart’s The Little Broomstick, in which a girl discovers a magical broomstick in the woods, Mary and the Witch’s Flower will have everything you’d expect from an OG Miyazaki film: a strong, girl protagonist, a black cat, rolling, green hills, magical drama and skyfights against flying, squirmy fish monsters.
“A fundamental part of the Ghibli story is that the heroines’ humanity, rather than any special powers, was always their greatest strength,” former Studio Ghibli producer and Studio Ponac founder Yoshiaki Nishimura told the Telegraph. “You may like it, you may dislike it, but a lot of Japanese animation has a kid solving a problem by getting inside a giant robot. The Ghibli philosophy was different, and I wanted it to be the Ponoc philosophy too.”

From the Telegraph’s interview:

Nishimura describes it as a film for children who are “moving into a 21st century that’s different from the one their parents imagined for them.” He goes on: “I think we all had a vision of what the world would be like, but it’s not the one we’re moving into. So what filmmakers should say at a time when people are losing hope – and what kind of film might help restore it in our children – are big themes for right now.”
Studio Ghibli announced they’d take a break in 2014. Not long after, Hayao Miyazaki claimed he’d go into retirement—a claim he’s gone back on several times. Most recently, in November, Miyazaki said he’s come out of retirement to help with Boro the Caterpiller, originally an animated short that Miyazaki is expanding into a feature-length film.

“Mary and the Witch’s Flower” looks promising and, if you’re a die-hard Ghibli fan, you’re bound to have some feels watching the trailer.


88th Academy Awards Nominees


  • Anomalisa – Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, and Rosa Tran
  • Boy & the World – Alê Abreu
  • Inside Out – Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie – Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
  • When Marnie Was There – Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

What Studio Ponoc’s debut could mean for Studio Ghibli’s uncertain future.

The last four years have been confusing times for Studio Ghibli fans and anime enthusiasts in general. First, in 2013, legendary director Hayao Miyazaki, who is also one of Ghibli’s co-founders, announced his retirement following the release of his film The Wind Rises. The studio still co-produced the computer-animated series Sanzoku no Musume the following year, but then a few months later another co-founder, Toshio Suzuki, declared the company would take a “brief pause” to restructure in the wake of Miyazaki’s departure — which, in turn, lead to speculation about the company’s future and whether they would ever produce animated feature films again.

In 2015, lead producer Yoshiaki Nishimura, along with several staff members, left Ghibli and founded Studio Ponoc. And now this year sees the release of their first movie, Mary and the Witch’s Flower. The animated feature is based on Mary Stewart’s novel “The Little Broomstick,” which tells the story of a young girl who, led by a black cat named Tib, finds a mysterious magic flower and a broomstick in the woods. The broomstick takes her to Endor College, where nothing is as it seems.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower was helmed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who previously directed Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There. He also wrote the screenplay with Riko Sakaguchi, who previously scripted Ghibli’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Nishimura is credited as producer, and other Ghibli collaborators such as music composer Takatsugu Muramatsu (When Marnie Was There) are also part of the team.

Meanwhile, both Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki have still been active in the past couple of years. Ghibli co-produced the 2016 Academy Award nominee The Red Turtle, and Miyazaki is working on a 12-minute short film called Boro the Caterpillar (his first approach to CG animation) and confirmation earlier this year that he is on the road back out of retirement working on a new feature length film with the studio. But the future of the animation house remains undefined, which makes the prospect of a Ghibli alumni-produced film even more promising.

When Miyazaki announced his retirement, both fans and the media took the news with some skepticism. It wasn’t the first time the filmmaker talked about calling it quits, and even he was aware of the frequency of the comment, to the point that he clarified that “this time, I mean it.” Although Miyazaki’s relationship with work is complex — his idea of retirement is to keep creating, only without the pressure of a deadline and to maybe, maybe have a free weekend every now and then — part of what granted more credit to his statement was Ghibli stopping production.

Even though Ghibli’s pause ultimately resulted in the departure of several staff members and the creation of Ponoc, this crossroad was a point that the company would inevitably reach with or without Miyazaki’s retirement. Unlike other animation houses, Ghibli usually retained a large portion of full-time staff, which translated to nearly considerable annual personnel expenses. While Ghibli is far from bankruptcy, part of its economic balance is intimately linked to the financial success of Miyazaki’s projects. Yonebayashi’s When Marnie Was There grossed just $34.1M, which is a very respectable box office revenue but doesn’t quite compare to the usual take for a Miyazaki film, which often topped $100M. Whether Miyazaki decided to retire early or later, the studio would eventually have to make important changes in the way it operates.

Moreover, the generational gap is closing in on the studio as well. Ghibli’s founders, including Miyazaki, Suzuki, and Isao Takahata, are well into their golden years (76, 68, and 81, respectively), and the company celebrated its 32nd anniversary last June. At Ponoc, Nishimura is only 39 and Yonebayashi is 44, and like Takahata and Miyazaki in Ghibli’s heyday, both have considerable experience in filmmaking (Yonebayashi also worked as an animator on Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and many others, while Nishimura produced Howl’s Moving Castle, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and When Marnie Was There).

But it’s not only their (relative) youth or their professional credentials that leads to think that Ponoc and this second-generation of Ghibli alumni might help carry on the animation house’s tradition. Mary and the Witch’s Flower also seems to share some of Miyazaki’s trademark themes and motifs, such as a young female leading character and humanity’s relationship with nature. Likewise, the company’s name is the Croatian word for ‘midnight’, which has been interpreted as “the beginning of a new day,” in similar fashion as Ghibli’s.

While it is still early to determine the full success of Mary and the Witch’s Flower and Studio Ponoc — the movie did open pretty well in Japan last month — there is reason to believe that they might be the new wind blowing life into Studio Ghibli’s legacy in the middle of an uncertain future.

Story by Karen Gomez filmschoolrejects

Goro Miyazaki Confirms Plans For New Studio Ghibli Feature Film

HERES THE NEWS THE ANIME WORLD HAS BEEN WAITING FOR… Goro Miyazaki and Ghibli Producer Yoshiaki Nishimura confirm that preparation has started for a new Studio Ghibli feature film.

Appearing at Studio Ghibli Expo in Japan Miyazaki and Nishimura both answered fan questions clearly indicating that they intend to make a new animated feature film for the studio. Miyazaki who has already started work said “perhaps i won’t be able to make it, but i am currently preparing for it.” 

When faced with the same question Princess Kaguya Producer Yoshiaki Nishimura was even more forthcoming -

Studio Ghibli who had been placed on undetermined hiatus due to financial instability have a history of announcing their forthcoming films on the same day each December.

Goro Miyazaki
who recently finished production on TV anime series Ronia the Robbers Daughter would be returning to make his third feature film for his father Hayao’s world famous animation studio. Goro’s previous film “From Up On Poppyhill” (a slice of teenage romance and nostalgia) was seen as a vast improvement on his Ghibli debut “Tales From Earthsea”, but what genre of film will he take on next? like every other Ghibli fan around the world i wait with bated breath :D


Director of ‘Arrietty’ and ‘Marnie’ Has Quit Studio Ghibli

Hiromasa Yonebayashi or “Maro” is the youngest director hired by Studio Ghibli; credited as an in between, clean-up and key animator for Princess Mononoke, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. With the company’s blessing and faith in his talent, Hiromasa was granted director role for 2010’s The Borrower Arrietty and 2014’s When Marnie Was There.

After 17 years working under Studio Ghibli, Hiromasa Yonebayashi decided to quit in order to pursue other projects.

Recently Yonebayashi attended an event of the Blu-ray/DVD release of Marnie and was asked about his upcoming work, he replied, “I’m no longer a Ghibli staffer. I left the company at the end of last year, and I don’t have an affiliation.”

Yonebayashi added that he discuss his plans with producer Yoshiaki Nishimura and has an idea to create an action-oriented or fantasy film in the near future.

Ghibli Casts Its 1st Film With 2 Female Leads & All-English Theme Song

16-year-old actress Sara Takatsuki (Black President, Otomen, GTO, Daily Lives of High School Boys, Haganai) and 21-year-old actress Kasumi Arimura (Amachan, Hagane no Onna, Clover, Judge) will star in Studio Ghibli’s next film, this summer’s anime adaptation of Joan G. Robinson’s English children’s novel classic When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie). Oricon describes the film as Ghibli’s first one with dual lead heroines, and it is also the first animated title and first Ghibli title for both actresses.

American musical artist Priscilla Ahn is contributing “Fine on the Outside,” a song she wrote when she was in high school, as the film’s theme song. It is Ghibli’s first theme song entirely in English. (Only Yesterday used a Japanese version of “The Rose,” while Whisper of the Heart used both the original English version of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and a Japanese translation.) The film is also Ghibli’s first anime feature after Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki retired.

Amazon posted a publisher’s description of the original novel:

Anna hasn’t a friend in the world - until she meets Marnie among the sand dunes. But Marnie isn’t all she seems…An atmospheric ghost story with truths to tell about friendship, families and loneliness. Anna lives with foster parents, a misfit with no friends, always on the outside of things. Then she is sent to Norfolk to stay with old Mr and Mrs Pegg, where she runs wild on the sand dunes and around the water. There is a house, the Marsh House, which she feels she recognises - and she soon meets a strange little girl called Marnie, who becomes Anna’s first ever friend. Then one day, Marnie vanishes. A new family, the Lindsays, move into the Marsh House. Having learnt so much from Marnie about friendship, Anna makes firm friends with the Lindsays - and learns some strange truths about Marnie, who was not all she seemed…

In his second film, director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (2010’s The Secret World of Arrietty) is shifting the setting from the novel’s Great Britain to a Japanese village on the shores of Hokkaido. Takatsuki will play the 12-year-old Anna (written in kanji characters), while Arimura will play Marnie, the mysterious golden-haired girl who appears before Anna one summer.

About 300 candidates auditioned for the roles of the heroines at the end of last year. The film will open in Japan on July 19. Disney happened to have just released Frozen, its first animated feature with dual lead heroines (one of which was named Anna). Marnie producer Yoshiaki Nishimura said there was a time in film history where “the flawless hero saves the woman,” followed by a time for films where “the woman supports the troubled hero.” Now, he said, 2014 is the time when “the man doesn’t have to save the woman.”
Producer Nishimura: Hayao Miyazaki Is Planning 3 More Ghibli Museum Shorts

“Studio Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura revealed in an interview with UK news website Den of Geek on Tuesday that Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki is planning three more shorts for the Ghibli Museum. However, he did not say whether or not Miyazaki will direct these shorts himself—Miyazaki is only credited with directing seven of the nine existing shorts.

Nishimura said that Miyazaki’s plan is to bring the total number of Ghibli Museum Shorts to 12 so they can be rotated once a month. He also mentioned that there are ‘talks’ to create television series or 15-30 second televisions commercials, 'but nothing is concrete.’

Miyazaki retired from directing feature films in 2013, but he later said that he will continue to make shorts for the Ghibli Museum. Miyazaki told The Hollywood Reporter in 2014, 'I do want to continue making short films such as the ones we show at the Ghibli Museum. I will continue making those. We will continue to make short films for the Ghibli Museum with a small staff of animators. But I think gradually it will quietly disappear in the future.’"

From left: Animated Feature Film nominees Roy Conli, “Big Hero 6”, Tomm Moore, “Song of the Sea”, Chris Williams, “Big Hero 6”, Yoshiaki Nishimura, “The Tale of Princess Kaguya”, Don Hall, “Big Hero 6”, Isao Takahata, “The Tale of Princess Kaguya”, Bonnie Arnold, “How to Train Your Dragon 2”, Anthony Stacchi, “The Boxtrolls”, Graham Annable, “The Boxtrolls” and Dean DeBlois, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” prior to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Oscar Week: Animated Features event on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
Ghibli Co-Founder Toshio Suzuki Retires as Producer

65-year-old producer Toshio Suzuki is voluntarily stepping down from his position at Studio Ghibli, although he will assume the new title of “general manager.” Yoshiaki Nishimura will instead be the studio’s producer for Ghibli’s films going forward. Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi is adapting Joan G. Robinson’s English children’s novel classic When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie) for release this summer.

But on Day 1 of the promo trip here in Tokyo, I was settling in at Studio Ghibli, getting ready for my first interview, when the Producer of the film, Yoshiaki Nishimura, came in and asked, “Are you ready to meet Miyazaki-san right now?”  And that was that!  Moments later, we were walking to Miyazaki-san’s office (a beautiful wooden house, on a quiet, completely unassuming street in a residential neighborhood).  Before I even had time to register what was happening, there was Miyazaki-san, standing in the doorway, inviting us in.  We shook hands, and I bowed as much as I could, and said the 3 phrases I memorized  in case I should ever meet him.  Then we sat down at his work table and talked so casually about a project he just finished for a Nutcracker exhibition, about the kids at the Nursery next door who come over and run around his office (He built a beautiful Nursery next door, for the Ghibli Staff members’ children), about the 200 year old tree outside.  I say we talked “casually”, but really I didn’t say too much.  There is just too much I would say, or too many dumb things I would ask.  I didn’t want to embarrass myself or bother him, hehe… so mostly I just listened and smiled and laughed.  I’ll never forget our meeting though, and the calmness I felt there.
- Priscilla Ahn