Review Fix chats with filmmaker Keika Lee, who discusses the inspiration and creative process behind her new film, “Odd Dog.”
About Keika Lee:
Director Keika Lee is also the writer and producer of Odd Dog. Growing up, she dreamed of being an animator; creating stories and characters to share with children who also dream of being filmmakers. Lee believes and hopes that Odd Dog, which is a delightful 5-minute short about her son and their cat, will charm fans all over the world. Keika has always had a special place in her heart for animation.
Review Fix: Why is the topic of this film important today?
Keika Lee: One of the topics of this film is about acceptance for who you are and that you are not alone. I think everyone has gone through this feeling at some point in their lives no matter who you are.
Review Fix: What inspired this film?
Lee: My son and our cat were the inspiration behind this film. Ever since my son was born, he and our cat have been inseparable! They are the best of friends to this day. I also wanted to make a film about a character who was considered “odd” by society who finds a friend who accepts him for who he is. This was a personal take on the film as I grew up not having any friends in school until much later in life as I was considered an “oddball”. I wanted to send a message to the “oddballs” out there that there is a person and place for everyone.
Review Fix: How difficult was this film to put together?
Lee: This is a funny question because filmmaking is a difficult process overall. Haha! If you were to ask what was the most difficult part of the whole process, I would have to say keeping everyone in constant communication and keeping the film looking consistent. The team members were all working remotely and I had the responsibility to keep the look of the film at it’s best quality. It was also the most fun for me to keep in touch with all the crew members and see their daily work as it progressed from sketches to the final animation.
Review Fix: Tell me about the cast.
Lee: I was fortunate to have a remarkable crew of extremely talented artists. My Editor Joi-Noelle Worley dealt with the shots in the animatic, temporary sound effects and final cut of the film, my one and only Story Artist Steph Dere who took my script to screen with boards, my Concepts Artists Nichole Wong Forti and Karolyn Moses helped in creating Key Art of the relationship between the Cat and the Boy, the Character Designers (Genevieve Tsai, Miles Dulay and Prem Sai GS) developed the look of the Cat and the Boy, the Animators (Eileen Bray, Chris Lam, Mai Shirai, Katherine Waddell, Jason Wong) were the artists who drew the performances of the characters, the Clean-up Animators (Eileen Bray, Ryan Geery, David Johnson, Mai Shirai, Katherine Waddell) went in and cleaned up the linework of the rough animations, my Background Artist Ania Przybylko drew all the backgrounds throughout the film, we had one digital painter Patricia DaSilva who colored the finale, the Composer Jennifer Kes Remington created the music to establish the mood and feel of the film and the Sound Designer Kristian Hayden made sure the music and sound effects matched the performance of the film. Everyone played an important role in the production of “Odd Dog” and none of this could have happened without any one of them.
Review Fix: How have the audiences been reacting to Odd Dog?
Lee: The feedback has been very positive! Many children especially have been enjoying and loving the film. It won the Children’s Choice Award at the Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival earlier this year which I’m very proud of. I love attending screenings and listening to the audience laugh and sigh at the right moments. It makes my heart sing everytime.
Review Fix: What films have inspired it the most?
Lee: There aren’t any specific films that inspired the film per say but my style of animation is heavily inspired by classic Disney feature animation and Japanese anime.
Review Fix: Odd Dog was scheduled to screen at Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival but due to the recent situation with the Coronavirus, it was cancelled. What are your thoughts on this?
Lee: I am happy that they are prioritizing people’s health and safety first as film festivals can be rescheduled.
Review Fix: What have you learned about yourself through this entire process?
Lee: I never knew I could do more than produce like write a script or direct a film. I spent my career after college working in production and becoming a producer but not really in the creative process of making a film. I didn’t think I had it in me. Now that I have done it, I feel more confident in any future projects.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Lee: I’m hoping “Odd Dog” becomes a series for a network (crossing fingers!) and in the meantime, I am working on an exciting new short animated film called “Oren’s Way” about a princess who tries to save her kingdom from eternal sadness when she finds the true meaning of happiness. I can’t wait to share it with the world!
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Lee: Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me, Review Fix! I hope everyone out there who watches “Odd Dog” enjoys it as much as my crew and I enjoyed making it. And I also hope everyone out there stays safe and healthy during this difficult time and keeps on smiling!