Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal congratulated Shreveport-based animation studio Moonbot Studios on Sunday night for winning an Oscar at the 84th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood.
Moonbot reached the apex of the entertainment industry by winning the Oscar for Best Achievement in Animated Short Film for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
Author-illustrator William Joyce and co-director Brandon Oldenburg accepted the Oscar for the acclaimed 14-minute film. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore features the protagonist surviving a storm and landing in a world where books come alive as characters with curative powers as they impart healing through discovery. Joyce, Oldenburg, managing partner Lampton Enochs and the Moonbot staff employed a variety of techniques in a hybrid animation style inspired by The Wizard of Oz, Buster Keaton and the Hurricane Katrina experience.
“Tonight, Louisiana celebrates this Oscar win with the exceptionally talented and creative staff of Moonbot Studios in Shreveport,” Jindal said. “We’re proud that Louisiana residents and a Louisiana-based company created this groundbreaking work that pays homage to a love of books and perseverance through a love of learning.
“Moonbot is an exceptional example of the quality work being produced throughout Louisiana, every day, in the digital and film industries we’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Their success continues to expand opportunities for our sons and daughters, who can look forward to creative and successful careers across our state.”
Morris Lessmore spawned a celebrated iTunes app that became a best-seller and broke new ground in the creative use of digital, animation and illustration media. In calling the work one of the Top 10 apps of 2011 and his favorite work of fiction in a book app last year, Bob Tedeschi of the New York Times wrote: “Morris Lessmore is a graphically stunning narrative that’s part picture book, part movie… in which the pictures animate at your touch.”
The Oscar-winning film Morris Lessmore is the first world-class animated production to be made entirely in Louisiana. Shreveport-based Twin Engine Labs partnered with Moonbot to produce the iTunes app, which features an interactive game on every page. Louisiana’s film production and digital media tax credits and the state’s LED FastStart workforce solutions program supported the companies on the projects.
“Moonbot Studios is a great example of the digital entertainment and software development jobs that we want to create more of in Louisiana,” said Louisiana Secretary of Economic Development Stephen Moret. “We want to continue to grow our homegrown talent to further build this industry and attract additional business investment and creative, knowledge-based jobs for our state.”
Joyce, a Shreveport native, is one of the founding partners of Moonbot and, among other ventures, worked for Disney/Pixar in developing characters for such animated classics as Toy Story and A Bug’s Life. Oldenburg is a co-founder of Reel FX Creative Studios, where he specialized in design and special effects for film and TV. Lampton Enochs, who co-founded Louisiana Production Consultants in Shreveport, joined Joyce and Oldenburg in opening Moonbot Studios in the fall of 2010.
Moonbot Studios recently released another creative title. Numberlys, an animated storybook app with nods to King Kong, Flash Gordon, Metropolis and the Marx Brothers, presents a fanciful depiction of the origins of the alphabet in an experience that’s equal parts adventure, mystery, game and story.