Tonko House founders Robert Kondo and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi will direct the feature film and Fox will distribute. They founded Tonko House in 2014 after working as art directors at Pixar and on “Toy Story 3,” “Monsters University” and “Ratatouille.”
Screenwriter John Henry Hinkel, originally brought aboard by Tonko House, has joined the project as well. Kane Lee, an independent producer formerly of Jane Startz Productions and Blue Sky Studios, will produce.
Vanessa Morrison, president of Fox Animation, said, “We are thrilled to be in business with Tonko House and honored to help develop their groundbreaking short into a feature.”
The short film, which had no dialogue, was based on 8,000 digital paintings and centered on the friendship between the introverted Pig — who keeps his town safe from a cloud of pollution with his windmill dam — and the artistic Fox.
The Tonko House team developed a pitch deepening and expanding the characters and world of the short film. 20th Century Fox Animation executive Darlene Caamaño Loquet has shepherded and will continue to oversee for the studio.
The new film will have full dialogue and is intended to be made primarily in CG. Kondo and Tsutsumi are currently writing and illustrating a trilogy of “The Dam Keeper” graphic novels, the first of which will be released in 2017 by First Second Books, an imprint of Macmillan. The also are developing a 10-episode series for Hulu in Japan.