Stan Sakai’s much-admired comic book Usagi Yojimbo is being developed as a feature film. Upstart studio Lintika Films has been chosen to produce the project. They won the rights from Sakai based on this proof-of-concept short film called Usagi Yojimbo: The Last Request:
Lintika debuted the short last month at San Diego Comic-Con during the “30 Years of Usagi Yojimbo” panel. The director, Roel Robles, tells me that the short was made on a “super low” budget with the help of industry friends. “We are speaking with investors so hopefully it will get funded,” Robles tells Cartoon Brew. “I have something epic in mind. This short film was done on a shoestring budget so just imagine what we can do with an actual film budget. If we get the budget to make this film it will look 100x better.”
Robles is an industry veteran who worked as a concept artist on all of Robert Zemeckis’ motion capture films such as The Polar Express and Beowulf, as well as Episodes 1 and 2 of Star Wars. Lots of Lucasfilm alumni are listed in the credits including Robert Barnes, Euisung Lee, Fon Davis, Ray Gilberti, Lauren Vogt, and Todd Fellows, among others. “It’s been great to have so many friends from Star Wars come along with me on this journey and help out,” says Robles.
The immediate plan is to release the short on DVD with a finalized sound mix and extras. The proceeds will go directly to Sakai, whose wife has been battling a brain tumor. To stay tuned to the progress of the feature film or the upcoming short film release on DVD, “like” the Lintika Films Facebook page.