moonbot_witness moonbot_witness
Interactive

Moonbot Studios Takes On Bullies With Interactive Short Film, ‘I Am a Witness’

With its sweet but adventurous short film Taking Flight soaring into Oscar contention, the launch pad for Shreveport, Louisiana-based Moonbot Studios is heating up.

Its newest project is an interactive online film about bullying with alternative endings. Co-directed by Limbert Fabian (The Scarecrow, Silent) and Moonbot’s new creative director, Jake Wyatt (Necropolis), I Am a Witness also features music by DEVO mastermind Mark Mothersbaugh. It is a collaborative effort created in conjunction with Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the Ad Council, and Adobe, and is interactively viewable on desktop as well as Android and iOS mobile platforms.

Watch the trailer below or see the full version HERE:

I Am a Witness is actually two short films,” Moonbot Studios co-founder and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’s Oscar-winning co-director Brandon Oldenburg told Cartoon Brew. “One version is a good day, and one version is a bad day, for this kid named Jack who is bullied at school. So if you touch the screen, you basically change his day, and watch the good version play out. But if you don’t touch the screen, you see the bad version of his day play out.”

Character design for "I Am A Witness" by Jake Wyatt.
Character design for “I Am A Witness” by Jake Wyatt.

“We wanted to participate in the conversation about bullying, and offer a way to help,” added Fabian. “We had the challenge of creating an interactive film that was on the Internet but not through an app. The film’s only user-interface tool is an emoji that changes the hero’s path, which is available for download after the film, and ready to use in real-time for kids to call out cyber-bullying.”

Some crafty users have already found the interactive project’s emoticon, which was hidden in Apple’s new operating system, Oldenburg said. Moonbot is hoping even more find it, and use it, after watching I Am a Witness, whose art and style was created with accessibility and sensitivity in mind.

Color study for "I Am A Witness" by James Cassettari.
Color study for “I Am A Witness” by James Cassettari.

“We decided to animate this project in 2D at a low frame rate, to create a little design distance between our audience and our story,” said Jake Wyatt. “Bullying is a raw, emotional subject for a lot of people, so designing our characters out of broad, simple shapes, and then animating on fours gave us a lighter, cartoony buffer through which to engage a serious subject, to let us play to people’s emotions without stomping all over them.”

Concept artwork for "I Am A Witness" by Limbert Fabian.
Concept artwork for “I Am A Witness” by Limbert Fabian.

CREDITS
Ad Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Client: The Advertising Council
Creative Director: Will Elliott, Patrick Knowlton
Art Director: Hanna Wittmark
Copywriter: Kate Baynham
Sr. Designer: Angie Elko

Production and Interactive Company
Company Name: Moonbot Studios
Director: Limbert Fabian
Co-Director: Jake Wyatt
Editor: Calvin O’Neal Jr.
Lead Artist: Kenny Callicutt
Production Art: Renee Bates, James Cassettari
Animation Supervisor: Jake Wyatt
Animators: Renee Bates, Jason Behr, Beavan Blocker, Kenny Callicutt, James Cassettari, John Durbin,
Kendra Phillips, Andrew Stovesand, David Wilson
Animation Cleanup: J.D. Gardner, Justin Holt, Gordon Pinkerton, Kaleb Rice
Lead Developer: Heather Shrewsbury
Developer: John Cannon
UI Developer: LaShea Brittain
CG Supervisor: Megan Deane
Compositors: Megan Deane, J.D. Gardner, Justin Holt, Thomas J. Moore, Gordon Pinkerton, Kaleb
Rice, Russell Smith

Music
Company Name: Mutato Muzika
Composer: Mark Mothersbaugh
Arrangement: Raymond Plaza
Executive Producer: Natalie P. Montgomery

Sound Design
Company Name: Stimmung
Sound Designer: Gus Coven

Character design for "I Am A Witness" by Jake Wyatt.
Character design for “I Am A Witness” by Jake Wyatt.
  • I think this is an interesting idea to bring understanding how one person can feel if they are going through bullying like this. I am wondering if they will show bullying by use of cyberspace, not just offline activity (I do see cell phones used as weapons in the promo photo, and for one scene in the trailer).

    What I also hope is that in the midst of bullying, that there would be advice given in how to talk to someone about it. Encouragement and offering “Don’t listen to them” lines are still helpful, but understanding how to resolve the matter and lessening the bullying is ideal. Still, the tagline for this app/animation is a perfect message, one we should all follow. It does take action to let those who do bullying know that this is not tolerated.

    Moonbot has been creating amazing projects, and this one really looks intriguing, as their previous works.

  • mechasus

    Surely I must not be the only one thinking “Mike Wazowski” when looking at the green girl’s design.