Film Synopsis

The Dam Keeper, an original animated short film by feature animation artists Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi, tells the tale of a young pig encumbered with an important job, and the meeting of a new classmate who changes everything. A first-time collaboration between some of the most talented artists in animation, The Dam Keeper made its world premiere as an official selection at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival and is slated to make it's US premiere at The New York International Children's Film Festival this spring.

Set in a desolate future, one small town's survival is solely due to a large windmill dam that acts as a fan to keep out poisonous clouds. Despite bullying from classmates and an indifferent public, the dam's operator, Pig, works tirelessly to keep the sails spinning in order to protect the town. When a new student, Fox, joins Pig's class, everything begins to change.

Made up of over 8,000 paintings, The Dam Keeper blends traditional hand-drawn animation with lush brushstrokes to bring Kondo and Tsutsumi's celebrated painting-style to life like never before. The Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen of television's Forbrydelsen (The Killing), and BBC's Sherlock, narrates this timeless fable. Directors Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi are known for their art direction on such beloved films as Ice Age, Ratatouille, Monsters University and Toy Story 3.

Total running time: 18 minutes

Directors Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi sought out a talented team of artists and animation film makers for this first of its kind collaboration.

Robert Kondo (Director)
Robert Kondo lends his unique design sensibilities and passion for storytelling to The Dam Keeper. Originally from Southern California, Robert graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and has worked at Oblique Strategies and Angel Studios. Robert's film credits include Sets Art Director for Ratatouille, Toy Story 3, and most recently Monsters University.

Daisuke 'Dice' Tsutsumi (Director)
Daisuke 'Dice' Tsutsumi, originally from Japan, is a celebrated illustrator, painter and philanthropist. Dice's paintings have exhibited around the world, and in 2009, his first children's book 'I Can Hear' was published in Japan. A graduate from The School of Visual Arts in New York, Dice has worked as a visual development/color key artist at Blue Sky Studios on Ice Age, Robots and Horton Hears a Who! His credits at Pixar Animation include Lighting Art Director for Toy Story 3 and Monsters University. Dice is passionate about charity work and spearheaded both The Totoro Forest Project and Sketchtravel.

Zach Johnston and Matteo Roberts (Composers)
First time collaborators Matteo Roberts and Zach Johnston provide the moving original score for The Dam Keeper. Both are members of the popular indie-folk band Phox, who recently performed at the 2013 iTunes festival in London. They live together in a big yellow house in Wisconsin.

Erick Oh (Supervising Animator)
Erick Oh, supervising animator of The Dam Keeper, is a Korean animation artist based in California. His work has been featured or nominated at The Student Academy Awards, The Annecy Animation Festival, Hiroshima Animation Festival, Zagreb Animation Festival, SIGGRAPH, Anima Mundi, Ars Electronica, LACMA Director's Night, and numerous other film festivals. Erick received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Seoul National University and his Masters of Fine Arts from UCLA's film school. Erick currently works at Pixar Animation Studios as an animator.

Bradley Furnish (Editor)
Bradley Furnish is an editor working at Pixar Animation Studios. There he contributes to animated features and shorts, most recently Toy Story 3 and Brave. In addition to his work at the studio, Bradley has a hand in many short form productions ranging from documentary, to independent animation, music videos and PSAs. He is particularly honored to be part of the creative teams for Pixar's It Gets Better PSA, the short film Cologne and now The Dam Keeper. Bradley graduated from Louisiana State University's Graphic Design program.

Duncan Ramsay (Producer)
Duncan Ramsay, Producer of The Dam Keeper, was thrilled to partner with directors Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi and Producer Megan Bartel to orchestrate such an ambitious project. Originally from Colorado, Duncan graduated from Colorado State University and previously worked for Walt Disney World Entertainment before joining Pixar Animation Studios in 2008, where he currently works in Production.

Megan Bartel (Producer)
Megan Bartel, Producer of The Dam Keeper, met Dice Tsutsumi and Duncan Ramsay while organizing Dice's Japan tsunami relief fundraiser 'Artists Help Japan'. Inspired by the passion and talent of Dice, Robert and Duncan, Megan joined The Dam Keeper crew in early 2013. Megan graduated from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and later moved from Minnesota to California to pursue a career in film. She currently works as a department manager at Pixar Animation Studios.

Festivals ›


NYICFF 2014 Audience Award (ages 8-14)

Cleveland Int'l Film Festival 2014 Honorable Mention - Best Animated Short Film Award

TIFF Kids Film Festival 2014 Young People's Jury Award Age 9-13, Best Animated Short TIFF Kids Adult Jury Award, Honourable Mention

Int'l Trickfilm Festival of Stuttgart Special Mention in Tricks for Kids Category

San Francisco Int'l Film Festival 2014 Jury Award for Golden Gate Family Film

Curtas Vila do Conde Int'l Film Festival Official Jury as winner of the HONOURABLE MENTION AWARD

Kinder Film Fest KYOTO Grand Prix

ANIMA MUNDI 2014 Best Short for Children by the S. Paulo Audience Jury

Portland Film Festival Best of Fest Best Animation

Long Beach Indie Film Festival Best Animated Short Film

San Diego Film Festival Best Animated Film Award

12th Biennial of Animation Bratislava Jury's Special Mention Award

Sapporo Int'l Film Festival Sapporo City Peace award Best Children's Short

Woodstock Film Festival Honorable Mention

Spark Animation Film Festival Grand Jury Award

Chicago International Children's Film Festival Youth Jury 1st Prize - Animated Short Film Children's Jury 2nd Prize - Animated Short Film

Foyle Film Festival Best Short Animation

Academy Award Nominee Best Animated Short

Annie Award Nominee Best Animated Short Subject

Awards ›

Festival List

Feb 6 - 16
Berlin, Germany
Mar 3 - 30
New York City, NY, USA
Audience Award (ages 8-14)
Mar 19 - 20
Cleveland Intl.
film festival
Cleveland, OH, USA
Honorable Mention - Best Animated Short Film Award
Mar 28 - Apr 6
Film Festival
Atlanta, GA, USA
Mar 31 - Apr 6
Yale, New Haven, CT, USA
Apr 3 - 19
Minneapolis & St. Paul , MN, USA
Apr 8 - 21
Toronto, ON, Canada
Young People's Jury Award Age 9-13, Best Animated Short TIFF Kids Adult Jury Award, Honourable Mention
Apr 11 - 17
Athens Intl.
Film + Video Festival
Athens, OH, USA
Apr 17 - 22
Intl. Trickfilm
Festival of Animated Film
Stuttgart, Germany
Special Mention in Tricks for Kids Category
Apr 22 - 27
USA Film Festival
Dallas, TX, USA
Apr 24 - May 8
San Francisco Intl.
Film Festival
San Francisco, CA, USA
Jury Award for Golden Gate Family Film
May 9 - 25
Boston Intl.
Children's Film Festival
Boston, MA, USA
May 27 - 29
NY Shorts Fest
New York City, NY, USA
May 31 - Jun 10
Short Shorts
Film Festival
Tokyo & Yokohama, Japan
Jun 1 - 7
The Moscow Intl.
Film Festival for Children and Adolescents
Moscow, Russia
Jun 6 - 8
Philadelphia Intl.
Children's Film Festival
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Jun 9 - 14
Annecy Intl.
Animation Film Festival
Annecy, France
Jun 10 - 14
Film Festival
Bethleham, PA, USA
Jun 14 - 16
Toronto Animation Arts
Festival International
Toronto, ON, Canada
Jun 17 - 23
Palm Springs Intl.
Film Festival & ShortFest
Palm Springs, CA, USA
Jun 18 - 29
Edinburgh Intl.
Film Festival
Edinburgh, Scotland
Jun 25 - 30
Film Festival
Nantucket, MA, USA
Jul 5 - 13
Curtas Vila Do Conde
Intl. Film Festival
Vila do Conde, Portugal
Official Jury as winner of the HONOURABLE MENTION AWARD
Jul 17 - 27
Film Festival
Giffoni Valle Piana, Italy
Jul 22 - 27
Seoul Intl.
Cartoon & Animation Festival
Seoul, South Korea
Jul 23 - 27
Costa Rica Intl.
Film Festival
Montezuma, Costa Rica
Jul 25 - Aug 03
Guanajuato Intl.
Film Festival
Guanajuato, Mexico
Jul 25 - Aug 03
Kinder Film Fest Kyoto
Kyoto, Japan
Grand Prix
Jul 25 - Aug 10
Anima Mundi 2014
Rio de Janeiro & São Paulo, Brazil
Best Short for Children by the S. Paulo Audience Jury
Aug 5 - 10
Rhode Island Intl.
Film Festival
Newport, RI, USA
Aug 12 - 14
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Aug 26 - Sep 1
Film Festival
Portland, OR, USA
Best of Fest Best Animation
Aug 27 - 31
Long Beach Indie
Film Festival
Long Beach, CA, USA
Best Animated Short Film
Aug 30 - Sep 1
Bumbershoot 1Reel
Film Festival
Seattle, WA, USA
Sep 2 - 7
Marthas Vineyard Intl.
Film Festival
Cape Cod, MA, USA
Sep 12 - 28
Film Festival for Children and Youth
Copenhagen, Denmark
Sep 16 - 21
Short & Animation Festival
Bristol, UK
Sep 19 - 21
Big Eddy
Film Festival
Narrowsburg, NY, USA
Sep 20 - 27
Message to Man
Film Festival
St. Petersburg, Russia
Sep 24 - 28
San Diego
Film Festival
San Diego, CA, USA
Best Animated Film Award
Sep 25 - Oct 9
Film Festival
Milwaukee, WI, USA
Oct 4
Ashiya Tearful
Film Festival
Oct 4
Film Festival
Oct 5
Film Festival
Nantucket, MA, USA
Oct 6 - 10
Film Festival
Bratislava, Slovakia
Jury's Special Mention Award
Oct 8 - 9
BFI London
Film Festival
London, UK
Oct 8 - 13
Sapporo Intl. Short
Film Festival
Sapporo, Japan
Sapporo City Peace Award Best Children's Short
Oct 9
Film Festival
Copenhagen, Denmark
Oct 9 - 16
Film Festival
Tacoma, WA, USA
Oct 15 - 19
Film Festival
Woodstock, NY, USA
Honorable Mention
Oct 16 - 25
Film Festival
Indianapolis, IN, USA
Oct 18
Miami Intl. Children's
Film Festival
Miami, FL, USA
Oct 22 - 26
Spark Animated
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Grand Jury Award
Oct 23 - 30
Film Festival
Austin, TX, USA
Oct 24 - Nov 2
Chicago Intl. Children's
Film Festival
Chicago, IL, USA
Youth Jury 1st Prize - Animated Short Film Children's Jury 2nd Prize - Animated Short Film
Oct 25 - Nov 9
Film Festival
Oct 28 - Nov 2
Intl. Animation Day
Oct 30 - Nov 2
Film Festival
South Korea
Nov 6
No Time Left
Short Film Competition
Paris, France
Nov 9 - 16
Kuki 7th Intl. Short
Film Festival
Berlin, Germany
Nov 13 - 23
23rd Annual Whitaker (SLIFF)
Film Festival
St. Louis, MO, USA