When it came to creating the colorful, monster-filled world in Dash Shaw’s film “Cryptozoo,” animation director Jane Samborski said that she wanted all team members’ visions to be seen, allowing them to contribute to the film’s zany animation style and unique vision.
“We have a nimbleness because of the size of our team and because of the aesthetic we have chosen that allows us to be so experimental and to just make every single frame of the movie exciting for us,” Samborski said at the Variety Studio, presented by AT&T TV, at the Sundance Film Festival. “We had wonderful actors that when we needed additional material, we were able to go to them.”
Variety deputy editor Meredith Woerner spoke to the cast and creators of “Cryptozoo,” which included Samborski, Shaw and voice actors Lake Bell, Louisa Krause and Grace Zabriskie. The film follows three “cryptozookeepers” that attempt to capture a Baku, a dream-eating creature of legend, and get it to a sanctuary where people can observe it in peace. Variety’s Jessica Kiang described Shaw’s film as “a gorgeously psychedelic illustrated adventure.”
Shaw said his only goal was to use limited animation, a style that uses fewer drawings. The voice actors, on the other hand, walked into this project blind. When voicing the main character, Bell said she had no visual reference to the fantastical world that Shaw created.
“That actually felt exhilarating, and it purified the experience of just living in it in my head and using my mouth as the tool,” Bell said. “The voiceover experience is very freeing because you could be anything, and that freedom for an actor, I think, becomes quite unique.”