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.
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