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Feature Film

Fox Animation and Tonko House Developing ‘The Dam Keeper’ Feature Film

The Dam Keeper universe keeps growing. Just ten days after announcing a short-form Dam Keeper series for Hulu Japan, Tonko House has announced a deal to develop a feature film with 20th Century Fox Animation.

Kondo and Tsutsumi will direct The Dam Keeper feature film, which is being produced by Kane Lee, an independent producer formerly of Jane Startz Productions and Blue Sky Studios. The project has been shepherded by Fox Animation exec Darlene Caamaño Loquet, who will continue to oversee for the studio. Screenwriter John Henry Hinkel, originally brought aboard by Tonko House to develop a feature-length pitch, will work on the project as well.

“We are thrilled to be in business with Tonko House and honored to help develop their groundbreaking short into a feature,” said Fox Animation president Vanessa Morrison.

Kondo and Tsutsumi left their art directing jobs at Pixar to create The Dam Keeper short, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2015. Their feature-length expansion will pick up the story several years after the events of the short.

Unlike the dialogue-less 2D short, which consisted of over 8,000 digital paintings, the feature will have full dialogue and will be produced “primarily in cg.” The image at the top of this post is from a cg animation test showing the new direction of the project.

“We are thrilled to return to making cg-animated feature films, having worked for over a decade at studios like Pixar and Blue Sky,” said Kondo and Tsutsumi. “We’re hungry to stand out in the crowded cg animation market and believe we can achieve something new. With Tonko House’s cultural roots being in Japan, it’s possible that we may be able to bridge both East and West to bring out the best of both animation traditions.”

In addition to the Hulu Japan series, Tonko House is working on a trilogy of Dam Keeper graphic novels, the first of which will be released in 2017 by First Second Books.

Below, watch a Cartoon Brew interview with Kondo and Tsutsumi about the making of the original Dam Keeper short film:

  • Elsi Pote

    Good for Tonko despite the lousy job FOX does at movie distribution and marketing.

    But the Simpsons said it right: “Fox buys anything ” , and they have had true diamonds they threw to the waste basket without even noticing.

  • Inkan1969

    Could someone clear this up for me, is the fox male or female?

    • Bill E. Miller

      Fox is male.

      • Inkan1969

        Thanks. I had thought Fox was female all this time.

    • anna

      they go in the same bathroom…? did you watch the short?

      • Inkan1969

        There was no one else in that bathroom. So I assumed Fox brought Pig in that room to talk privately.

  • Bob

    I hope FOX lets dice and Robert keep some little shred of creative control… if it doesn’t get shelved.