In a timely Academy Awards push, Shreveport, Louisiana-based Moonbot Studios announced today a new five-minute short, Taking Flight, directed by studio co-founder Brandon Oldenburg. The studio released this trailer for the film:
Moonbot is no stranger to the Oscars, having won a Best Animated Short award for directors William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg’s 2011 adventure, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which was inspired by publisher William Morris. Taking Flight, premiering September 18-24 at West Los Angeles’ Laemmle Royal Theater, with additional screenings to follow, is a similarly whimsical fictional tribute, this time to the life and legacy of Radio Flyer wagon inventor, Antonio Pasin.
“Taking Flight is a great addition to our body of work at Moonbot, because we have been able to once again combine many animation techniques,” Trish Farnsworth-Smith, who executive produced the short with Joyce, told Cartoon Brew. “Taking Flight relies on both 3D and 2D animation, and we looked to classic animation styles to drive the imaginative moments of the film. Our artists and animators spent time studying the work animation greats like Chuck Jones to develop beautiful and expressive sequences that take place in the imagination of our main characters.”
Like Morris Lessmore, Taking Flight is a fantastic journey through time and trial that unveils the universal magic beneath the everyday life that most of us take for granted. That triumph of the power of imagination is a significant recurring theme of Moonbot’s output — which could come in handy during Oscar season, because it also happens to be a historically recurring theme of the films honored by the Academy Awards.
“As a parent I struggle constantly with balancing what the modern world says I need to do with my children versus my inclination to let them play and discover the world,” Oldenburg told Cartoon Brew.
“At Moonbot, imagination fuels everything we do,” he added. “Imagination is a place. We have all been there at some point in our childhood. That’s how we find stories that resonate with everyone, from young kids to grandparents. For me, Taking Flight speaks to our need to embrace simple moments where play collides with imagination. The two should be inseparable. Maybe it’s childlike to say, but I do believe the world would be a better place if we took more time to play with our kids.”