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David Heller
David Heller
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Siggraph 2011: Best in Show Winner!

August 13th, 2011 by David Heller

August 11 2011 … Siggraph 2011 – Vancouver, B.C., Canada:

Brandon Oldenber – Managing Partner, Moonbot Studios

I had the opportunity to interview Brandon Oldenburg, co-director with William Joyce, of Siggraph’s 2011’s Best in Show award for ‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.’ The room full of reporters suddenly went silent, all leaning closer to grab a scoop as I poked the mic in Brandon’s face and spoke in a hushed voice. (Listen to the audio Interview.)

This young prodigy began his career as a co-founder of Reel FX Creative Studios in 1995 where he applied his talent and energy to design and special effects for film and TV productions. At FX his clients included Pixar, Troublemaker Studios, Pixar Disney, and Blue Sky Studios. In 1998 Brandon began working with famed author and illustrator, William Joyce in what evolved into a joint creative venture as co-founders of Moonbot Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana; turning the town into the burgeoning new Mecca for all things animated. Brandon and William’s short film ‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’ gained critical acclaim and recognition in March of this year after winning first prize for Best Animated Short at San Jose, California’s 21st Annual Cinequest Film Festival.

Not long after the film’s debut the creative team at Moonbot Studios produced an interactive bedtime story book version of this award winner that’s available now as an iPad app. I installed the app on my new iPad 2, and thoroughly enjoyed this humorous and poignant tale about the curative powers of story. I immersed myself into Morris’ artful world while making books fly, playing the piano, and changing an ominous dark sky to clear bright blue. This app is for all ages, and not only entertained and engaged me, but I couldn’t pry my iPad from my 5 year old granddaughter’s hands. I had to wait till she fell asleep and then snuck out like a thief in the night. — Guess what she’s going to get for her birthday 🙂

As I wrapped up the interview Brandon handed me his iPad to experience Moonbot’s latest iPad app creation, Bullseye.   Bullseye is a collaboration with the musical group Polyphonic Spree that brings their haunting song to interactive life as it lets you explore a day in the life of a stylized pollywog looking for acceptance in a harsh and frantic world. Wow! I had to download this app too, and I’m afraid that if my granddaughter gets her hands on this I’ll never get my iPad back!

Brandon kept Moonbot Studios’ future releases under wraps, but I’m sure the work, whether it’s in the form of an animation, an iPad app, both or something entirely new is going to blow your socks off. Stay tuned for more creative surprises from Brandon and his team that are sure to be coming your way for many years to come.

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