Oscar-Nominated 'Dam Keeper' Directors Detail 'Moom' Short With Anime Studios
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Daisuke "Dice" Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo, directors of Oscar-nominated animated short "The Dam Keeper," are partnering with Japanese anime studios Craftar and Marza Animation Planet to produce a new animated short. Genki Kawamura and Yūki Mashiko's picture book Moom is inspiring the full-CG animated short of the same name.
Tsutsumi (Hayao Miyazaki's nephew-in-law) and Robert Kondo, both former Pixar art directors, are directing "Moom." Tomohiko Ishii (Eden of the East, 009 Re:Cyborg, The Sky Crawlers) is producing the short.
Tonko House, the studio that produced "The Dam Keeper," and Tsutsumi announced the new animated short at the CTN Animation Expo convention that was held in Burbank, California from November 18-20. Tsutsumi also confirmed at the event that it is planning a sequel graphic novel adaptation of "The Dam Keeper" for publication in the United States. Tsutsumi and Kondo are also planning the sequel story from the graphic novel adaptation to be used for a full-length version of the short. Related to that collaboration, the "Moom" animated short became a joint production between Japan and the United States.
The California Sunday Magazine reported in July that the Tonko House founders had "also been hired to adapt a popular Japanese children's book for film." Genki Kawamura announced last year that Moom would receive an anime adaptation this year. An anime adaptation of his other picture book, Fuusen Inu Tinny, debuted on NHK last year.
Because they admired the picture book, Tsutsumi and Kondo had been working on "Moom" for a year and a half before "The Dam Keeper" was nominated for an Oscar. Tsutsumi noted that the animation of the new short will be different from the hand-drawn style of "The Dam Keeper." Instead, the short will feature full-3D CG animation in line with the directors' previous work at Pixar.
Although Tsutsumi and Kondo are directing the new short, the studios Craftar and Marza Animation Planet are handling production with a Japanese staff. Craftar is a newly formed animation production studio within the advertising animation studio Steve N' Steven. Steve N' Steven is collaborating with CG animator Yūhei Sakuragi and Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki on an upcoming project. The studio also worked on the The Case of Hana & Alice film, which received an award nomination at this year's Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Marza Animation Planet has worked on anime including Captain Harlock and Konchū Monogatari Mitsubachi Hutch - Yūki no Melody.
Tsutsumi and Kondo plan to complete "Moom" by next year and screen it at short film festivals around the world.
Tsutsumi served as art director for Toy Story 3 and co-founded Tonko House with Kondo in 2014. The pair produced "The Dam Keeper" animated short as part of a co-op program in Pixar after finishing production on Monsters University. Japanese animation studio anima inc. (Cat Shit One) announced its partnership with Tonko House in April.
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