App developer gets Oscar nomination for film that doubles as iPad app

Jan 25, 2012
Entertainment

The nominations for the 84th Academy Awards are upon us, and there’s one unexpected nominee among the usual list of Hollywood studios, crew and actors – an iPad developer. That developer is Moonbot, as TechCrunch reports, the maker of an iPad app called The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. The app is a […]

The nominations for the 84th Academy Awards are upon us, and there’s one unexpected nominee among the usual list of Hollywood studios, crew and actors – an iPad developer.

That developer is Moonbot, as TechCrunch reports, the maker of an iPad app called The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. The app is a combination children’s book, short film and iPad app, similar to what other developers have created by making e-book apps for Apple’s devices. In fact, The Fantastic Flying Books was originally conceived as a children’s book itself, but that’s not what earned it an Oscar nod.

Moonbot co-founder William Joyce is a children’s book author, and so when he originally came up with the concept for The Fantastic Flying Books, he planned to make it a children’s book. Not long after, he formed Moonbot with Brandon Oldenburg in 2009, and the pair decided to turn the idea into a short film. It’s that film that earned the developer its Oscar nomination, and combining the film and the storybook with the interactive capabilities of the iPad resulted in Moonbot’s app.

Joyce has credits as a writer on a number of big-name animated films, including Pixar movies A Bug’s Life and Toy Story. He told TechCrunch that working on the three Fantastic Flying Books projects simultaneously was part of what made Moonbot viable, and since it released its first app, it has also dropped another interactive children’s book in the iTunes App Store since then, called Numberlys.

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As TechCrunch reports, Moonbot’s next project is a puppet show, which speaks to the company’s tendency to make all kinds of things beyond just books, films and apps. With two apps down, though, it seems Moonbot is establishing a pretty decent niche of interactive storybook experiences that mix media into something new. The iPad and other tablets make that kind of storytelling experience possible in ways that couldn’t have necessarily happened before they existed, thanks to the creativity of developers like Moonbot.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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