Shreveport’s Moonbot Studios won a coveted Academy Award tonight in Hollywood for its first animated release, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.”
The studio was represented at the Oscar awards broadcast by Shreveport artist William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, his co-founder of Moonbot Studios.
The 14-minute long “Morris Lessmore” already winner of more than a dozen awards, follows Mr. Morris Lessmore as he attempts to pick up the pieces after a devastating storm in New Orleans. With the help of books, Lessmore finds light in his life.
Joyce said inspiration for the film came from a combination of his late mentor William Morris, who worked as a publisher for HarperCollins, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Shortly after the hurricane, Joyce and several photographers teamed up to feature an exhibit at artspace that would showcase photographs of storm evacuees at different shelters, including the Municipal Auditorium.
“They had the most blank, dead faces,” he said. “They had lost everything, and they didn’t know where they were going to end up living or what was next for them, but as they began to tell their stories, their faces began to brighten up.”
In addition to the short film, Moonbot Studios has developed an interactive “Morris Lessmore” application for the Apple iPad. They have also released “Numberlys,” another interactive storybook application for the Apple iPad and iPhone. A short film based on “Numberlys” is currently in the works.
The studio is home to some 32 employees, also known as moonbots. An award-winning author and illustrator, Joyce has worked with major animation studios including Disney, and is currently co-directing DreamWorks’ animated feature based on his book series “The Guardians of Childhood.” Oldenburg is a co-founding member of Reel FX Creative Studios and has also worked with Troublemaker Studios, Pixar and Disney.