The Dam Keeper

Tonko House’s debut film directed by Robert Kondo and
Dice Tsutsumi tells the story of Pig, an introverted youth
who lives in a windmill and keeps a dark fog from engulfing
his town. Although socially rejected by his peers, he is
befriended by the artistic Fox. The film received a 2015
Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short Film.

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The Dam Keeper trailer

Set in a desolate future, one small town’s survival is solely due to a large windmill dam that acts as a fan to keep out poisonous clouds. Despite bullying from classmates and an indifferent public, the dam’s operator, Pig, works tirelessly to keep the sails spinning in order to protect the town. When a new student, Fox, joins Pig’s class, everything begins to change.

A first-time collaboration between some of the most talented artists in animation, The Dam Keeper made its world premiere as an official selection at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated in 2014 for an Academy Award. A comprehensive list of festivals and awards can be found here.

Making of The Dam Keeper

Made up of over 8,000 paintings, The Dam Keeper blends traditional hand-drawn animation with lush brushstrokes to bring Kondo and Tsutsumi’s celebrated painting-style to life like never before. Actor Lars Mikkelsen of the Danish television show Forbrydelsen (The Killing) and BBC’s Sherlock narrates this timeless fable.

Tonko House’s full journey through creating The Dam Keeper is captured in a video documentary series, featuring the dedicated team of painters, musicians, animators, and crew. More making-of videos can be found in the series, including behind-the-scenes interviews and deleted clips.

“Making The Dam Keeper #05: The Life of a Shot”

The film felt as though some beautiful development artwork — those magical pieces you see in ‘art of’ books — had been given life and poetry and movement.

— Director Dean DeBlois, The New York Times