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IOC commissions Studio Ponoc, founded by ex-Ghibli staff, to produce anime short for Tokyo Olympics

Kyodo

An animation studio formed by former members of Studio Ghibli said Monday it has been commissioned by the International Olympic Committee to produce the world’s first Olympic-inspired animated short.

Studio Ponoc, started in 2015 and located in Musashino in western Tokyo, will produce the short, which is slated to premiere at the 2020 Tokyo Games before being screened at future Olympic host cities and other locations, it said at an animated film festival in eastern France.

The animated film will center around the Olympic spirit of “excellence, respect and friendship,” the studio said, and it is scheduled to be completed by next spring. The finished product will belong to the IOC and become part of the collection at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“I want to make a film that will get kids excited about the Olympics,” Studio Ponoc founder, CEO and producer Yoshiaki Nishimura said at a news conference. “The type of world we want to see at the end of all this competition, even beyond the Olympics, will be a major theme.”

Francis Gabet, director of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, said the strong association people have between Japan and animation gave the IOC the idea for the project.

The IOC commissioned Studio Ponoc with high expectations that the studio will produce a film that will communicate Olympic values to children around the world.

Three of the studio’s animated shorts released last year — “Kanini & Kanino,” “Life Ain’t Gonna Lose” and “Invisible” — were screened Monday at this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival in an anthology feature called “Modest Heroes.”

Nishimura and other studio staff members attended the event.