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It’s Official: Glen Keane Joins Motorola to Direct Interactive Hand-Drawn Short Film

We first announced last week that Glen Keane may be working on a project for Google-owned Motorola. Well, they officially announced today that the 59-year-old former Disney animator and director will be making an interactive hand-drawn short for Motorola’s Spotlight Stories initiative, developed by their Advanced Technologies and Project group.

If you’ve seen Jan Pinkava’s CG short for Motorola, Windy Day (more on that soon, I promise), you can understand why this is such a bold and surprising move for Keane. Unlike 3-D, this technology actually allows for a different kind of narrative experience. Combined with new technologies like Google Glass, the pioneering work being done right now by Pinkava, Keane, and others could have a disruptive impact on entertainment over the next couple decades.

Here’s the official announcement:

To animate means to bring to life.

Glen Keane’s work seems larger than life. As the creator and animator of beloved Disney characters such as Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and Tarzan, Glen has drawn more than figures on a screen. He has made the stories and characters of our childhoods. He gave us imaginary friends, admired heroines, misfits in search of understanding, and at least a Halloween costume or two.

At Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, we believe in the power of storytelling, so we’re building new stories made specifically for mobile. Not stories made for the big screen but shown on a small one. Not flat content. We’re building interactive, immersive stories made for your smartphone.

So we’re excited to announce that Glen—the artist behind so many classics—is working with us to push the future of animation with an original Spotlight Story.

Expected to release the middle of 2014, in this third Motorola Spotlight Story, Glen is going back to the drawing board. Literally. Together with the engineers who unlocked the graphics technology that made our first Spotlight Story, Windy Day, possible on the Moto X, we’re pushing new edges. The raw emotion of the hand-drawn line brought to life in our technological world. And yours.

What will happen when a master animator of the big screen jumps to an innovative, mobile canvas? We’re excited to see.

  • kdoggy

    I’m keane to see what they do with this

  • Between this and The Bear and the Hare it seems there is a new trend that is about to emerge with 2d animated commercials. Very excited.

  • M.R. Horhager

    oooh… in the announcement above it mentions Glen Keane is working on the 3rd spotlight story. What’s the 2nd? Could this be where John Kahrs moved to? Just thinking out loud…

  • Taco

    I wonder it it’ll be anything like Peter “PiePants” Lowey’s recent projects, seen here…
    Seems like everyone’s getting into the interactive Animated apps game. As far as Jan Pinkava’s CG short the Windy Day, it was nice but nothing earth-shaking about it. You can sort of move around the digital environment or Stage in an augmented reality kinda way with your swanky new Digital Mobile Device, which is cool & all, but it didn’t really add anything to the film. I guess it’s more of a Tech-Demo for Google & their Phones though, isn’t it? Kinda reminded me of what another “Pixar Flunky” Ash Brannon did with his 2007 movie: Surfs Up, where the whole thing “animation & environment” was re-shot with a CGI-Steady-Cam by a real live-action-camera-man, to get that interactive “documentary” feel. Whatever sells more soon to be obsolete Phones, Tablets & 99-Cent apps, eh?

  • Tres Swygert

    I’m really looking forward to this! I hope this opens more doors for Glen and other hand drawn animators to bring hand drawn to the forefront. Whatever means necessary!

  • Oh yeah I guess it might not be a commercial but a spotlight story.

  • George Comerci

    Lucky Motorola!

  • Matt Jones

    Apparently this project is the THIRD in a series of Motorola interactive shorts, with the second yet to be released. Mr Keane spoke recently at Pixar and mentioned the challenge of animating at the requisite 60 frames per second- mind boggling potential.

  • Ahmad

    Brilliant. Glen Keane is a master of hand drawn animation and I’m glad to see this collaboration with Google/Motorola happening. Long live hand drawn animation.