The Japanese animation studio Production I.G. has launched a project on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter for a 10-minute short film titled Kick-Heart. Directed and written by Masaaki Yuasa (Mind Game, Kaiba, Kemonozume, The Tatami Galaxy), the short and its Kickstarter initiative are intended as an “experiment” to pioneer a new way of supporting “artistically driven films” at a time when “…its been very difficult for the next generation of innovators to create more artistically driven projects– mainly because of the economic situation in Japan.”
Along with an assortment of sample artwork, the Kick-Heart kickstarter website offers the following description for the short:
Kick-Heart is a love story between Romeo, a successful pro-wrestler, and Juliet, a nun who lives a secret double-life as a female pro-wrestler. Romeo’s secret is that he enjoys taking a beating in the ring, while Juliet feels invigorated when facing her opponents as a wrestler. When the two meet in the ring, the fireworks fly. Their story is set in the colorful backdrop of the professional wrestling world. Will Juliet reveal her true identity to the one she loves? Will Romeo be able to share his secret to the world?
The project website also lists the following credits for the short:
Director, Animator: Masaaki Yuasa
Project Consultant: Mamoru Oshii
Character Designer, Animator: Michio Mihara
Color Coordinator, Animator: Eunyoung Choi
Background Artist : Kevin Aymeric
At present, pre-production and layout for the film has been completed. Production I.G. is looking to raise $150,000, which it intends to use to improve the animation, offset production costs, fund film festival submissions and provide backers with their rewards. At the time of this writing the kickstarter has reached over 50% of its goal, with over 1,000 backers supporting the project. Available pledges range from $5 to $10,000; from $15 and up backers are guaranteed at least a digital copy of the film and also the film on Blu-Ray along with many extra rewards at higher levels if the project is successfully funded.
Production I.G. recently announced two “stretch goals” : a second 10-minute “companion Kick-Heart short film” at $400,000 and converting the project to a full-length feature film at the ambitious goal of $1,000,000.
The below videos have also been released to explain and promote the studio’s initiative.