Studio Ponoc, the hand-drawn animation specialty outlet led by former Studio Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura, will team with the International Olympic Committee to create an animated short to be released ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games.
News of this international collaboration has been timed to mark the opening day of the Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival, which has made Japan its guest country this year and which will host Ponoc chief Nishimura on its feature film jury.
“From the moment we learned about Studio Ponoc, we were intrigued to work with its creative talent to see how they would reinterpret the Olympic values from a distinct aesthetic and narrative perspective, showcasing the finest hand-drawn and hand-painted animation,” said Francis Gabet, Director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, in a press statement.
“With a focus on universal topics relevant to humanity, this film will contribute not only to the excitement in the build-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 but also will inspire future generations.”
Nishimura, who produced Isao Takahata’s “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” and Hiromasa Yonebayashi “When Marnie Was There” for Studio Ghibli before launching Ponoc in 2015, added: “Animation is a magical visual storytelling medium that communicates across cultures. We are delighted to take on the challenge, together with the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, of creating a beautiful hand-drawn animated film that will speak to the world, in particular children, encouraging all to embrace life with a peaceful and tolerant spirit in their hearts, regardless of the challenges they may face.”
Beyond his jury duties, Nishimura will also present “Modest Heroes,” a collection of three Ponoc produced shorts that will make its French premiere at the Annecy Animation Festival. The shorts include new work from acclaimed animators Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiyuki Momose, and Akihiko Yamashita – all former Ghibli animators now calling Studio Ponoc home.