[Editor's note: Last year, I was excited to discover that there is a computer animation studio located in Louisiana. I wish them the best, so, of course, I was happy to learn that the studio received an Academy Award nomination earlier this week.]
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” Nominated for Best Animated Short in 2011 Oscars
Moonbot Studios’ first original animated short film moves ahead in race for Academy Award
SHREVEPORT, La.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Moonbot Studios announced today that its animated short film, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, is one of five animated short films that will be considered for outstanding film achievements of 2011 in the 84th Academy Awards®, which take place on February 26, 2012. The newly opened Moonbot Studios is based in Shreveport, Louisiana and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is the company’s first released animation project.
Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques, including miniatures, computer animation, and 2D animation, award-winning author and illustrator William Joyce and co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a hybrid style of animation that harkens back to silent films and MGM Technicolor musicals.
“’The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’ overwhelms me every time I watch it and it is exactly the kind of film I want to be a part of helping discover every year,” said Michael Rabehl, programming director of Cinequest. “It is a story that completely entertains and simultaneously focuses on the strength of its characters and story to reach our minds and our hearts. It’s an incredible visual journey that must be seen by everyone.”
“We made Morris Lessmore with passion, sweat and every nickel we could rub together,” said William Joyce, managing creative partner of Moonbot Studios. “To see it embraced by the Academy is the biggest smile imaginable.”
In tandem with the film, Moonbot Studios also created a best-selling, interactive “Morris Lessmore” iPad App available on iTunes for $4.99 in the App Store. Moonbot is also working on a hard copy book version of the story with Simon & Schuster that is due out in late 2012.
“‘Morris Lessmore’ has paved the way for a whole new class of storytelling,” said Brandon Oldenburg, co-founder of Moonbot Studios. “We envision a future where stories transcend boundaries between traditional film and written text to transform the art of storytelling into a seamless multimedia experience.”
Film Awards Won by “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” - To date, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” film has drummed up fans all over the world taking home the following awards:
Cinequest Film Fest: Best Animated Short
Cleveland International Film Festival: Best Animated Short Film Award
Florida Film Festival: Audience Award for Best Short Film
Nashville Film Festival: Special Jury Prize for Imaginative Storytelling
Seattle International Film Festival: Golden Space Needle Award Palm Springs International ShortFest: Audience Favorite Award
SIGGRAPH: Best in Show
Rhode Island International Film Fest: Grand Prize Winner
Burbank International Film Fest: Curator’s Choice Awards
Tacoma Film Festival: Best Animated Film
Austin Film Festival: Best Animated Short and Audience Award Winner
Chicago International Children’s Film Fest: 1st Adult Jury Prize and 2nd Children’s Jury Prize in the Animated Shorts category
Traverse City Film Fest: Best Short Film for Kids
What People Are Saying About “Morris Lessmore”
"It was a pleasure and an honor to have ‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,’ as part of the 2011 SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival. Chosen as Best-in-Show out of roughly 1,000 submissions, by the 2011 Computer Animation Festival Jury, ‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’ was a beautiful story, wrapped in an elegant package of visually stunning animation. " – Joshua Grow, Program Director, 2012 SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival
“We were delighted to present this moving, inventive film as part of the 2011 Chicago International Children's Film Festival. The artistry of its animation and its clever use of film references created a depth of setting and character, opening eyes to a love of literature for the Chicago children who became part of the wondrous journey of Mr. Morris Lessmore.” – Ann Vikstrom, Programming Director, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival
Academy Award Details
Forty-four films originally qualified in the animated short category and the winner of the top five will be announced live at The 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.
About Moonbot Studios
Founded in 2010, Moonbot Studios is an animation and storytelling company based in Shreveport, Louisiana. Moonbot Studios was co-founded by award-winning artists and filmmakers William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg and veteran film producer Lampton Enochs. Moonbot Studios’ philosophy is to develop our stories as books, interactive applications, games with a compelling emotional narrative and exciting visual aesthetics. For more information, visit www.moonbotstudios.com, interact with them on Twitter @moonbotstudios, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moonbotstudios or on their blog at moonbotstudios.blogspot.com/.