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Jaw-dropping animation and storytelling aren’t confined to the big studios, although it doesn’t hurt to have some veterans of the system on your team.
In just one minute and 50 seconds of stunning animation, you meet two captivating characters in the teaser for The Book of Mojo, a new animation project created by Alchemy Engine, a collective of ex-Pixar and Dreamworks animators, directors, and producers. The first is a 13-year-old witch named Creepy, a runaway who hopes magic is the path to reconnect with her estranged father. Her life collides with Mojo, a towering statue whose enchanted origins remain a mystery and a threat to both of them.
This unlikely duo is at the centerpiece of The Book of Mojo, which has origins as self-published comic. After animating a CG teaser, the creative team was inspired to turn The Book of Mojo into a full-fledged short as a proof of concept for a longer version.
“Many of [the comic’s] viewers were not only excited by the premise, but also by the story’s female lead, a strong young person of color,” writes creator and director Everett Downing on the project’s Indiegogo page. “As an African American father of two girls, imagery in the media is very important to me, and diversity is something I’m excited to address in a fun and entertaining way.”
To realize this vision, Alchemy Engine is turning to crowdfunding. The team is looking for $80,000 to fund the project, offering rewards like a digital download for $25 or a cameo in the final short for $5,000.
In addition to Downing, the team includes creators who’ve worked on such projects as Frozen, Big Hero 6, Toy Story 3, The Book of Life, Brave, Wall-E, Up, Ratatouille, and many others. Collectively they describe themselves as huge fans of “Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, Harry Potter and all things Joss Whedon.”
“Everyone here at Alchemy Engine was feeling restricted by the limitations of big studio productions,” said Downing in a press release. “We wanted an outlet to share our true voices and our untouched ideas.”
While the crew is currently far from their intended goal, they have until May 1 to make their animation dreams a reality.
Screengrab via Everett Downing/Vimeo
A former YouTube reporter for the Daily Dot, Rae Votta has more than a decade of experience in the digital and entertainment industries. Her work has appeared on AOL, Huffington Post, Out Magazine, Logo, VH1, Current TV, Billboard, and NYMag. She joined Netflix in 2016.