This week, we’re heading back to the world of The Dam Keeper. I wrote about the short film (which was nominated for an Academy Award) a couple years ago and talked to the directors–Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi–then. And I’m thrilled to welcome them to the show this week to talk about the film, the upcoming graphic novels from First Second Books, and a host of other topics.
Kondo and Tsutsumi began their animation careers at Pixar, where they worked on films such as Ratatouille, Toy Story 3, and Monsters University. Their ambitions eventually led them to start their own studio, Tonko House, where they could tell their own stories in their own way. The Dam Keeper was the first result. And seriously, if you haven’t yet watched it, take 15 minutes and do that now. I’ll wait.
They’re currently in the process of expanding and exploring that world through a trilogy of graphic novels, a theatrical feature, and a series for Hulu Japan. But they’re also telling other stories. Last year saw the release of their second short, Moom, which is based on a series of Japanese children’s books. And if this trailer doesn’t melt your heart, you’re made of stone:
On this episode, we talk about all things The Dam Keeper and Moom, the importance of music in Tonko House’s storytelling, The Dam Keeper Educational Project, and the Totoro Forest Project. We also dive deep into the themes and symbolism of The Dam Keeper, which–even though it’s only 15 minutes–is positively rich with messages.
- Dice Tsutsumi and Tonko House are on Twitter here.
- Robert Kondo is on Instagram here.
- The show is on Twitter here and Facebook here.
- Jamie is on Twitter and Instagram as @theroarbots.
- Justin is on Twitter and Instagram as @140JustinC.
- Samantha Fisher is on Twitter as @SamanthaAFisher.