Oscar-Nominated Short 'The Dam Keeper' Being Made Into Feature
Every year at the Academy Awards, there are always a number of delightful surprises in the Shorts sections – between both animation and live-action. While I do love Patrick Osborne's Feast, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short, the other four nominees are just as worthy. One of those other nominees is a short called The Dam Keeper, made by two former Pixar employees (Robert Kondo & Daisuke Tsutsumi) who started their own studio called Tonko House. While their animated short didn't win, it is still worth watching, and the good news is that the characters have been given a chance to continue beyond the short. Tonko has licensed rights to make two graphic novels at First Second, and expand the story into a feature.
There aren't many details available about the feature version, with Variety only saying that the "filmmakers have also announced plans" for a feature version. The first of the graphic novels will be out in 2016, with a story that picks up where the Oscar-nominated short leaves off. The Dam Keeper tells the story of a young pig tasked with the job of maintaining the dam in his small town, and the meeting of a new classmate who changes everything. EW explains the story continues "with friends Pig and Fox on the cusp of adulthood as the dark cloud that the dam holds back recedes for the first time. They go out into the world in search of answers about the fog, and the fate of Pig's parents." Below you can see some concept art for the new story:
For those interested, The Dam Keeper is available to watch online via iTunes right here. It runs 18 minutes in total. You can also see the trailer for the short above. For more info and to support the filmmakers, visit their official website at thedamkeeper.com. We'll be keeping an eye on this project as it develops into a feature, and will also be watching out for more animation work from Tonko House. Stay tuned for updates.