In Tonko House’s first short-form series written and directed by Erick Oh, we see how Pig remembers becoming the Dam Keeper. Seen through Pig’s youthful perspective, the visuals are abstract and surreal, but the source of his pain and his joy are clear.
Pig lives at the top of a hill in a town surrounded by a destructive, dark cloud. Before Pig’s father leaves to find a solution to the cloud, he builds Pig a small wooden dam to protect him and the town. The dam’s windmill keeps the cloud at bay, and Pig now has the responsibility to care for the dam. Young and alone, Pig finds love and family through his friendship with Fox, and continues to care for the townsfolk in a variety of ways. However, Pig struggles with the absence of his father, and his desire to search for his father competes with his need to keep the town safe.
Produced in both Berkeley and Tokyo by a variety of international and domestic artists, the series showcases Tonko House’s global community through a story featuring universal themes, such as family, grief, responsibility, and growing up. It debuted in 2017 at the Short Shorts Film Festival in Tokyo.
The series is made up of over 31,000 frames, all individually hand-drawn and painted. The production took 8 months, and was done by a team compiled of both new faces and Dam Keeper veterans. Musicians Zach Johnston and Matteo Roberts return to the world of the Dam Keeper to score the series. And none of this would have been possible without the guidance and executive production of Dice Tsutsumi, Robert Kondo, and Zen Miyake.
We are thrilled to share the making of the “Pig: The Dam Keeper Poems” through a series of videos seen here.