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Oscar Winning Moonbot Short Fueled by Ringling Graduates

Ringling College of Art and Design is pleased to announce that a short film created by Moonbot Studios, an animation and storytelling studio cofounded by a Ringling College graduate and Trustee, won an Oscar at the 84th Academy Awards.

Press Release from Ringling College of Art and Design 

Sarasota, FL - Ringling College of Art and Design is pleased to announce that a short film created by Moonbot Studios, an animation and storytelling studio cofounded by a Ringling College graduate and Trustee, won an Oscar at the 84th Academy Awards®.  Nineteen Ringling College Graduates, including Moonbot cofounder Brandon Oldenburg and one Ringling College intern, worked on the film with Moonbot staff. The film, ‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’ was Moonbot’s very first project and was released in conjunction with the launch of the company in February 2011 in Shreveport, Louisiana. 

The Ringling College of Art and Design graduates who worked on the Oscar-winning film include Moonbot co-founder and ‘Morris Lessmore’ co-Director Brandon Oldenburg; Senior Animator Jamil Lahham; Animators Beavan Blocker, Mike Klim, Stanley Moore, Dominic Pallotta, Mikey Sauls, Josh Burton, Sean McLaughlin and Keith Osborn; Art Department Lead Adam Volker; Lead Digital Background Painter Christina Ellis; Digital Background Painter Kaitlyn Landry; Lead Technical Director Bohdan Sayre; CG Generalist Jason Heaton; Lighters / Compositors Shane Cauchi, Megan Deane, Shant Ergenian and Yezi Xue. Ringling Animation Intern Gordon Pinkerton also worked on the film.

"We created our film and our studio at the same time," said Brandon Oldenburg, co-founder of Moonbot Studios, co-director on the "Morris Lessmore" film and Ringling College graduate. "The short is a sort of gumbo of everything we love about film and animation and so is our studio. Ninety percent of our staff comes from Ringling. I’d like to look into getting the other 10 percent honorary degrees. Ring­ling students are the best from around the globe.”

“I had Brandon in my junior and senior illustration classes and he was a super talented and self-motivated artist,” said Regan Dunnick, senior illustration faculty member at Ringling College. “He is extremely creative and knowing Brandon, I'm sure this will be just one of the many awards he will amass in his career.”

Ringling College President Dr. Larry Thompson was ecstatic when reacting to the Oscar win, commenting “We are absolutely thrilled for Brandon, and all of the Ringling College alumni at Moonbot who helped bring this fantastic story to life. Their success is emblematic of what we mean when we say that Ringling College is ‘shattering the myth of the starving artist.’ Brandon exemplifies the meaning of ‘ARTrepreneur’ – blending incredible creative talent with tremendous business sense.”    

Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, "Morris Lessmore" is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques, including filmed miniatures, stop motion, 2D, and 3D animation, award-winning author and illustrator William Joyce and co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a hybrid style of animation that harkens back to silent films and MGM Technicolor musicals and is the most cutting edge of today.

The Moonbot team created thousands of hand-painted books and constructed a full city block of the New Orleans French Quarter in 1/12th scale. The entire production of the film spanned a year's time. After the release of the short, Moonbot unveiled an interactive iPad App version of the story which has received worldwide praise as a ground breaking leap forward in storytelling on the iPad. The best-selling, interactive "Morris Lessmore" iPad App is available on iTunes for $4.99 in the App Store. Watch the film at

About Moonbot Studios

Founded in 2010, Moonbot Studios is an animation and storytelling company based in Shreveport, Louisiana. In less than a year, Moonbot has produced an Oscar nominated short film, two best-selling iPad Apps, "The Numberlys" and "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," and two hard copy Simon & Schuster books, "Man in the Moon" and "The Guardians of Childhood." Moonbot Studios was co-founded, by award-winning artists and filmmakers, William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg and veteran film producer Lampton Enochs. Moonbot Studios' philosophy is to develop our stories as books, interactive applications, games with a compelling emotional narrative and exciting visual aesthetics. For more information, visit,, and interact with the Bots on Twitter @moonbotstudios, on Facebook at or on their blog at

About Ringling College of Art and Design

Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering the Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 13 disciplines: Advertising Design, Computer Animation, Digital Film-making, Fine Arts, Game Art & Design, Graphic & Interactive Communication, Illustration, Interior Design, Motion Design, Painting, Photography & Digital Imaging, Printmaking and Sculpture, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Business of Art & Design. Located in Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the picturesque 48-acre campus now includes more than 100 buildings, and enrolls 1,368 students from 42 states and 53 countries. It is recognized as being among the best and most innovative visual arts colleges in the United States as well as a leader in the use of technology in the arts.