Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi, the creative minds behind the Oscar-nominated short ‘The Dam Keeper’, have returned to the animation scene with their new short film, ‘Moom’. The pair have now unveiled the trailer for their latest project to coincide with it beginning its journey into the festival circuit.
The 13-minute CG-animated short tells the story of a memory, personified as a cute big-eared creature, that helps release other memories from their objects. ‘Moom’ is an adaptation of the popular Japanese children’s book by film producer Genki Kawamura, who is serving as producer on the project along with Tomohiko Ishii.
Kondo and Tsutsumi previously worked at Pixar and Blue Sky on hit features such as ‘Monsters University’ while also creating animated shorts. After receiving an Academy Award nomination for their short film, ‘The Dam Keeper’, the duo left Pixar in 2014 to form their own studio, Tonko House, in Berkeley, CA.
‘Moom’ has a different visual style to the digitally painted 2D-animated ‘The Dam Keeper’, being produced in CG, but retains the underlying heart and gentle tone of the studio’s first film.
“We are still bringing the lighting and design sensibilities that are in our studio’s DNA. The difference being, we are applying it to 3D, the medium we felt most comfortable with from our careers at Pixar and Blue Sky,” Kondo told Variety. “Of course, translating our painted sensibilities and working with a new, talented group of artists in Japan challenged our preconception of what we knew about making CG animated films.”
It is obvious that the duo is not only proud of their work on the short, but keen to help aspiring artists develop their own projects, as they have been releasing a making-of video series on Youtube that documents the development and production of the film. Three episodes have been released to date:
The pair are also reportedly developing a full-length animated feature as well as a graphic novel series based on based on The Dam Keeper, with the first book coming out next year via MacMillan/First Second Books. “We have been blessed with a great team including passionate producers and a talented young writer set to complete the development phase this spring of the screenplay, visual development, and CG animation tests to expand the universe,” Tsutsumi said.
Keen to express their passion for the arts in as many forms as possible,Tonko House is also prepping for an exhibition at the G8 Gallery in Tokyo’s Ginza district. To be held in May, the exhibit will include a sneak peek into Tonko House’s future projects, including new stories in development for an original series and VR, as well as a look into the making of ‘The Dam Keeper’ and ‘Moom’.
Kondo will be attending the San Francisco International Film Festival this Sunday, April 24 to speak about ‘Moom’ and other projects Tonko House is developing.