Category Archives: Film Premieres

BELLE – Exclusive Special Release Interview with Kylie McNeil

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This week saw the release of the much anticipated BELLE, Mamoru Hosoda’s 7th feature film. The film instantly made headlines at Cannes with a 14-minute standing ovation. The film later made headlines among anime fans during its theatrical release back in January of this year. Both the original Japanese and the newly dubbed English version were shown in theaters nation-wide. In the film’s U.S. opening weekend it made $1.6 million from 1,326 theaters, and a total of $1.8 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Day holiday frame.

The film received five Annie Award nominations making it the most nominations for a Japanese anime film ever at the show, even surpassing previous films Spirited Away, Millennium Actress, and the more recent, Weathering with You. Most notable, the film’s cast, both in English and Japanese, were both praise for their vocal performance. This is both Kaho Nakamura and Kylie McNeil’s first anime, voice over performance.

Kylie McNeil, already an upcoming actor and singer in the theater scene in New York, had zero film credits, aside from an off-Broadway show “Runaways“, BELLE is Kylie’s very first film credit.

After its theatrical run, fans anticipated its home video release, which finally happened on May 17th. Coinciding with the Blu-ray and the Target exclusive: Steelbook release, Milan Records opened preorders for the vinyl copy of BELLE’s soundtrack, and is currently available to pre-order on Amazon.

Join us in celebration of Mamoru Hosoda’s BELLE release with this special interview with the voice of Suzu / BELLE, Kylie McNeil! Back for a more in-depth and formal interview, Kylie walks through her experiences working behind the mic, voicing Suzu / BELLE.

Watch our interview above and learn how you could win our exclusive BELLE Bundle, which includes:

The BELLE movie (Steelbook ed.), A copy of the BELLE soundtrack (from Japan) & an autograph print from Paul Castro Jr. (the voice of BEAST)

all this and more in our exclusive interview! Don’t forget to subscribe for more anime and voice actor content or subscribe to our site:

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Takayuki Hirao’s POMPO THE CINEPHILE Coming to Theaters Soon!

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GKIDS and Fathom Events continue their partnership into 2022 with the release of Pompo The Cinephile feature film on April 27 and 28. POMPO THE CINEPHILE will play in select cinemas nationwide on Wednesday, April 27th (Japanese ver) and Thursday, April 28th (English dubbed).

In addition to the full feature, audiences will view a special introduction from director Takayuki Hirao, exclusive to the Fathom Events screenings. Fan preview events will be followed by a limited theatrical release in select markets nationwide by GKIDS starting April 29th.

Known for God Eater (Anime seires) & The Garden of Sinners, Takayuki Hirao returns to the director’s chair with production from the all-new studio CLAP. POMPO THE CINEPHILE was domestically released on June 4, 2021, and swiftly became an indie hit.

The film is an adaptation of Shogo Sugitani’s manga of the same name. The series was published on pixiv Comic website and later, collected in six tankōbon volumes. In July 2018, Sugitani release a spin off titled Fran: The Cinéphile (映画大好きフランちゃん, Eiga Daisuki Fran-chan.

SYNOPSIS

Pompo is a talented and gutsy producer in “Nyallywood,” the movie-making capital of the world. Although she’s known for B-movies, one day Pompo tells her movie-loving but apprehensive assistant Gene that he will direct her next script: a delicate drama about an aging and tormented creative genius, starring the legendary and Brando-esque actor Martin Braddock, and a young actress seeking her first break. But when the production heads towards chaos, can Gene rise to Pompo’s challenge, and succeed as a first-time director?

Pompo the Cinephile is a rollicking, exuberant ode to the power of the movies, and the joys and heartbreak of the creative process, as a new director and his team devote their lives to the pursuit of a “masterpiece.”

Tickets are currently on sale at FathomEvents.com, PompoMovie.com and participating theater box offices. English cast is as follows:

We have an upcoming interview with director Takayuki Hirao soon, stay tuned!

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Anime Expo Announced the First ever ‘AX Cinema Nights’ with the screening of ‘RYOMA! THE PRINCE OF TENNIS’

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Anime Expo & Iconic events have partnered up to bring anime fans the first ever AX cinema Nights featuring a new full-length anime film adventure, RYOMA! THE PRINCE OF TENNIS!

What is AX Cinema Nights?

AX Anime Expo Cinema Nights is an in-person movie event series celebrating the best new and classic anime films by bringing them to theaters across North America. Leveraging the brand power of Anime Expo, the largest Japanese culture event in North America, AX Cinema Nights will bring passionate fans together for immersive and unforgettable community experiences. Beginning with the newest addition to The Prince of Tennis franchise.

“Over the course of Anime Expo’s 31-year history, one of the greatest lessons we’ve learned is that anime has an incredible gift for bringing people together. [. . .] That’s why we’re so thrilled to team up with Iconic Events and Eleven Arts to kick off AX Anime Expo Cinema Nights with Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis and create even more opportunities for anime fans nationwide to grow their communities and share their love of the artform with friends both new and old.”

– Ray Chiang, CEO of Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA).

RYOMA! THE PRINCE OF TENNIS is a new feature film about tennis prodigy Ryoma Echizen and is based on the acclaimed manga series, The Prince of Tennis, and its sequel, The New Prince of Tennis, written and illustrated by renowned manga author, Takeshi Konomi.  This will be the franchise’s first ever CG film and features an all-new story that takes place between the original manga series’ timeline and its sequel. Creator Takeshi Konomi personally supervised the film’s production and wrote the music and lyrics for all the featured songs.

Eleven Arts is very excited to be a part of this partnership with Iconic Events Releasing and Anime Expo’s AX Cinema Nights to bring forth a new theatrical experience for anime fans to enjoy [. .. ] We are honored to kickstart this experience with Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis , a title from such an iconic franchise.

-Ko Mori, CEO and President of Eleven Arts

Inspired by his tennis champion father, Ryoma is determined to take his game to the next level and train in the US. But in the middle of an intense tennis battle to save his classmate Sakuno from dangerous villains, they somehow find themselves transported to the past, just as Ryoma’s father is about to face his final championship match at the US Open – when he was mysteriously forced to retire. The innovative 3D digital animation brings the magnificent and colorful world of The Prince of Tennis to life on the big screen in this captivating film.

Cover of Prince of Tennis manga Volume 1 as released by Shueisha on January 7, 2000 in Japan. Cover by Takeshi Konomi

Over 60 million copies of The Prince of Tennis manga have been sold since the series debuted in 1999 in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine. The sequel rekindled the series in 2009 in Shueisha’s Jump Square magazine. Over the past 20+ years, the blockbuster franchise has spawned a hit anime series, animated feature films, live action films, stage plays, radio shows, music collaborations, and video games.

Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis is a quintessential and beloved property among anime and manga fans. We are excited to join with Anime Expo and Eleven Arts to present this exciting film to American audiences as part of AX Cinema Nights, and to expand our anime theatrical programming and continue the collaboration with Anime Expo.

-steve Bunnell, CEO of Iconic Events Releasing.

Screenings will take place beginning May 12 at theaters nationwide. On-sale dates and theaters will be announced shortly.

Don’t miss the announcement! Subscribe to our website below!

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Patrick Imbert’s ‘The Summit of The Gods’ premieres at Animation is Film Festival 2021

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The newest adaptation of Jiro Taniguchi’s manga, The summit of Gods had a special screening at the Animation is Film Festival 2021 in Hollywood on October 22nd. initially announced in 2015, the film went through different creative hands before it made its way to award-winning, French animator, Patrick Imbert in 2020.

The Summit of the Gods revolves around two hikers, Makoto Fukamachi, a young Japanese reporter, and a mysterious mountain climber named Habu Joji. Fukamachi believes, Habu is in possession of George Mallory’s camera.

George Mallory is a mountain climber who, along with Andrew Irvine, attempted to climb Mount Everest in 1924 and were never seen again. The camera might reveal if Mallory and his companion really were the first to climb Everest. 27 years later, Fukamachi and Habu find themselves, cooperating to climb to the peak of Mount Everest.

Imbert is known for his work in Ernest et Célestine, April and the Extraordinary World, and his award-winning film, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales.

Patrick Imbert at Animation is Film Festival 2021

Using 2D animation and produced by Folivari and Mélusine Productions, Patrick Imbert’s The Summit of The Gods has been praised for his realistic animation of the iconic Mount Everest.

The film is based on the manga of the same, written and illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi, itself is an adaptation of Baku Yumemakura’s 1998 novel of the same name. Yumemakura’s work has had various adaptations, including a live-action version, starring Junichi Okada, which was released on March 12, 2016. The live-action version was directed by Hideyuki Hirayama (known for, School Ghost Stories).

During the Animation is Film Festival 2021, we had the opportunity to speak with film director Patrick Imbert:

Netflix will air the film in theaters in the United States starting on November 24, 2021, and will start streaming the film on November 30, 2021.

Mamoru Hosoda’s BELLE At Animation Is Film Fest 2021

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For the first time, outside Japan, Mamoru Hosoda’s newest film BELLE had a chance to capture western audiences’ hearts during the Animation is Film Festival 2021 in Hollywood!

In 1999, Mamoru Hosoda began his journey with Dejimon Adobenchā (Digimon Adventure) as his first anime directorial debut; since then, Hosoda has developed this craft and quickly became one of Japan’s most predominant figures in Japanese animation. In 2011, Hosoda founded his own animation studio, Studio Chizu.

Photo by AIF | John Salangsang

Hosoda developed his own unique and highly influential animation style, which can be seen and felt throughout his work. His works are heartfelt, beautifully animated films and convey a sympathetic aesthetic element, often relatable. In 2019, his adventure fantasy comedy film, MIRAI, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. His most recent film, BELLE, premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, receiving a 14-minute standing ovation.

Mamoru Hosoda at Animation is Film Festival 2021 in Hollywood, CA

In BELLE, Hosoda visually transforms the internet, as the popular virtual world known as ‘U’. In a plot where characters face personal turmoil, isolation, a sense of belongingness, and the need to pretend to be someone else, Hosoda effectively exploits the ability to remain anonymous online and how anonymity can have its benefits and disadvantages on its users.

We had the opportunity to briefly speak with Hosoda during the Animation is Film Festival 2021 regarding his newest work and his thoughts on MIRAI’s Oscar nomination:

*The video below may contain SPOILERS* After the screening, Hosoda addressed the audience members and answered fan questions:

The film pays homage to Beauty and The Beast (specifically Disney’s version) and is composed of tantalizing visual animation with extraordinary, captivating music tracks. In addition, Hosoda mentioned working with veteran Disney animator Jin Kim as Belle’s lead character designer earlier this year. (Below are some of Kim’s BELLE concept Sketches).

One of many scenes in which the ‘ Beauty and The Beast‘ elements can be seen
Jin Kim (김상진)

Kim has worked for Disney since 1995 and is credited in over 30 Disney titles including, Zootpia, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and his most recent work Raya and the Last Dragon. Adding to Kim’s involvement, Studio Chizu also teamed up with Irish animation studio Cartoon Salon to produce the background art for the popular virtual world, ‘U’.

Get ready to dive into the beautiful world of U and watch BELLE this spring! Gkids is set to release BELLE in theaters on January 14th, 2022. For more information, visit GKids.com.

MIRACULOUS LADYBUG HOUR LONG TV SPEICAL! – United Heroez

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Zag Animation recently announced a 52 minute Miraculous Ladybug special, which is set to release this Friday!

Zag Animation studio CEO, Jeremy Zag hinted the project back in 2016, stating a possible cross-over between Ladybug and two other Zag Animation properties, Pixie Girl and Ghostforce, two series that have yet to see the light of day. Will these characters be introduced in this special? highly unlikely, but the special will feature a group of super-powered individuals, never before seen.

Friends or Foes?

The special will also feature the series’ protagonists, Marinette Cheng & Adrien Agreste flying to the United States (hence the title, United Heroez) for the first time. Although this special is nearly an hour long, it is not to be confused with the Ladybug & Cat Noir Awakening movie, slated to be released in 2021.

Watch the trailer below:

Want more Ladybug? check out these awesome interviews we’ve done over the course of Miraculous Ladybug episodes:

Interview with the voice of Marinette Cheng, Cristina Vee

Interview with Ezra Weisz, Miraculous Ladybug Voice Director

Interview with Kagami Tsurugi, Faye Mata

Interview with the voice of Zag Animation Studio producer, Jared Wolfenson

Sonic The Hedgehog the Movie first audience screening – Ben Schwartz “it was so special.”

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Sonic The Hedgehog the movie has been an extremely anticipated film. Since 2013, rights to the film were acquired by Sony Pictures before declaring it a turnaround and selling the rights to Paramount Pictures in 2017.

Since then, its been a crazy, wild ride, beginning with Sonic’s initial design. The first trailer was released on April 30th, 2019, which experienced extreme, negative feedback.

Many fans went online, critiquing the character’s resemblance to its video game counterpart. In a surprising turn of events film director, Jeff Folwer and Paramount pictures decided to delay the film to redesign sonic. The film was originally set for a late 2019 release but was delayed to February 14th, 2020.

The film was redeemed, in November 2019 when a second trailer showcasing a newly designed Sonic was released drawing positive attention from fans and media.

With all this being said, its been a long journey for the Sonic Movie, for not only its cast and crew but also for its production team. Unfortunately, no amount of positive feedback could save visual effects and production company, Moving Picture Company Vancouver from shutting down its doors at the end of 2019. The company was responsible for Sonic’s current redesign. Their last projects were Cats and Sonic The Hedgehog.

On Saturday, January 25th, Sonic The Hedgehog had its blue carpet, world premiere at the  Paramount Theatre in Hollywood. For the very first time, the film was screened for an audience.

Ben Schwartz, the voice of Sonic The Hedgehog, went to Twitter to express his experience having watched the film among fans.

The film has yet to face the world’s audience and critique, after all, the redesign fixed the visual aspect of the film, now it’s up to the plot. But it seems Paramount pictures and Ben Schwartz are quite confident the film will surpass fan expectations.

Watch Sonic The Hedgehog in theaters February 14th, 2020

Find tickets here

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Sources: NintendoEnthusiast, Twitter.

Photos Source: Rachel Luna/Getty Images North America


Sonic X Complete Series Blu-ray

Seis Manos NOW on Netflix | ‘The Citizen Kane of Mexican Anime’ – Jorge R.Gutierrez

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Seies Manos premiered at the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles on September 26th. The event was developed by VIZ Media and LatinX in Animation and moderated by Executive Producer, Rob Pereyda. In attendance were the cast members of the series including, Angélica Vale, Jonny Cruz & Vic Chao.

Among those that attended the premiere were the series’ Co-Executive Producer, Daniel Dominguez; Music Producer, Carl Thiel; CEO of Powerhouse Animation, Brad Graeber; Executive Producer at VIZ Media, Rob Pereyda and special surprise guest & film director, Jorge R.Gutierrez.

During its premiere, only the first two episodes were screened, however, that was enough for film director, Jorge R.Gutierrez to state the following to the series producers,

“So this now The Citizen Kane of Mexican anime, I love it, I think its incredible, I think what you guys did is so great and funny and diverse and its just packed with heart. That was the thing that I was- usually don’t get in Kung fu movies, but this had a lot of heart and it was just beautiful, so I guess my question to you guys is, how did this happen? [. . .]”

Brad Graeber – Executive Producer & CEO of Powerhouse Animation:

” That’s a great question! So Powerhouse as a studio, we love doing fight choreography, I’m a martial arts enthusiast and student and like, I’ve always wanted to do something legit kung fu [. . .] there was not anything specific but I was like, you know, when you think about the old kung fu TV shows with David Carradine in it, there was also a mass migration of Chinese immigrants in mexico too and so it really came from that. [. . .] ” Brad replied.

” [. . .] So I got on the phone with Álvaro [Rodríguez] and uh, I sounded like a crazy person, ‘so its the 70’s and its’s kung fu, but you know, there’s monsters…’ and then Álvaro goes, he goes ‘MEXICAN ANIME!‘ [. . .] “

Thus, Seis Manos was born!

Seis Manos or its literal English translation Six Hands, is set in Mexico in the 1970s, centering on three orphaned martial arts students Jesus, Isabella, and Silencio, who join forces with a DEA agent, Brister and a Mexican Federale, Garcia to battle for justice after their beloved mentor, Master Chiu is murdered in their tiny border town. The story captives the viewer with the number of intriguing twists and turns, such as zombies, monsters, mysterious characters, magic…and the Mexican cartel?

Seis Manos features a notable voice cast highlighted by Aislinn Derbez (La Casa de las Flores) as Isabela, Mike Colter (Luke Cage) as Brister, Jonny Cruz (Overwatch) as Jesus, Angelica Vale (Jane The Virgin) as Garcia, Vic Chao (Mortal Kombat X) as Chiu, and Danny Trejo (Machete) as El Balde. All eight episodes will have English and Spanish audio and multiple subtitled language options. Most of the Spanish track is dubbed over by the same English cast members.

“SEIS MANOS offers the very best in storytelling and action, with an incredible voice cast and a unique Latin American story line rarely seen in animation,” says Brad Woods, Chief Marketing Officer, VIZ Media. “We’re thrilled to partner with Netflix and Powerhouse to share this incredible new series with fans.”

Watch the trailer

Watch Seis Manos, now available on Netflix

Seis Manos Premiere Gallery