Watch the Oscar Winning Animated Short Film THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE
Published: February 27, 2012 - 6:34pm
Just announced last night at the 84th Annual Academy Awards®, Moonbot Studios took home an Oscar in the animated short film category for the studio’s very first project, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg. “Morris Lessmore” was released in February 2011 in conjunction with the launch of the studio itself.
“The idea for the film was inspired by a dear friend and mentor, Bill Morris, a lover of books and a grand old gentleman of children's book publishing,” said William Joyce, co-founder of Moonbot Studios and co-director on the “Morris Lessmore” film. “I know Bill would be touched to see a film about his life’s passion honored by the Academy.”
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 filmed miniatures, stop motion, 2D, and 3D 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 and is the most cutting edge of today.
“We created our film and our studio at the same time,” said Brandon Oldenburg, co-founder of Moonbot Studios and co-director on the “Morris Lessmore” film. “The short is a sort of gumbo of everything we love about film and animation and so is our studio.”
The Moonbot team created thousands of hand-painted books and constructed a full city block of the New Orleans French Quarter in 1/12th scale. The entire production of the film spanned a year’s time. After the release of the short, Moonbot unveiled an interactive iPad App version of the story which has received worldwide praise as a ground breaking leap forward in storytelling on the iPad. The best-selling, interactive “Morris Lessmore” iPad App is available on iTunes for $4.99 in the App Store.
Much of what has allowed Moonbot to flourish creatively can be attributed to the company’s strong local roots, including support from the State of Louisiana and the City of Shreveport. The creators are closely associated with ArtSpace, Shreveport’s regional arts center, and the Robinson Film Center, a non-profit organization that hosts independent, international, and classic films and assists with film education. In keeping with the local theme, Joyce and Oldenburg were even outfitted for the Oscars in custom tuxedos created by Dickies, the clothing designer traditionally known for its “work wear” based in Oldenburg’s hometown of Fort Worth, Texas.
“We can’t emphasize enough how much the support of Louisiana Economic Development and the Shreveport community has helped to get Moonbot where it is in such a short time,” said Lampton Enochs, co-founder of Moonbot Studios and co-producer on the “Morris Lessmore” film. “With the support of State incentives and workforce training programs, we’ve been able to build a strong team of talented artists and storytellers and have far exceeded our expectations for what we could accomplish in our first months of business.”