Moonbot Studios to stay in Shreveport - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports


Moonbot Studios to stay in Shreveport

Moonbot studios is hosting their summer storytime and activity event at Artspace in downtown Shreveport. (Source: KSLA News 12) Moonbot studios is hosting their summer storytime and activity event at Artspace in downtown Shreveport. (Source: KSLA News 12)

The founder of the award-winning Moonbot Studios has announced that the company will be staying and re-establishing itself in Shreveport.

After months of speculation, the announcement was made by William Joyce in a press release on Thursday.

Joyce founded Moonbot studios in 2012, a move he admits seemed at odds with Hollywood norms. In the release, Joyce explained "John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios) had told me many times ' Bill, you get a great deal of your strength and inspiration from Shreveport ' and Chris Wedge said to me that the future of animation is in being smaller. When you get advice from Mt. Rushmore you'd be a dope not to listen."

The local community embraced the company and its employees and soon dubbed them The Moonbots. When the “little-studio-that-could” proved its mettle by winning the best animated short film Oscar for its maiden effort "The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr Morris Lessmore," the mayor proclaimed a city holiday and a ticker tape parade ensued, the first such celebration in downtown Shreveport since the end of World War Two. "It was like something out of a Frank Capra movie," remembers Joyce. ”Real life very seldom gives you moments like that."                  

Soon Moonbot Studios earned international acclaim for its work.

The Morris Lessmore book became a #1 New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 35 languages. The studio’s follow-up short film "The Numberlys" was short-listed for the Academy Award and its book and app versions won numerous awards. The Numberlys was followed by the Cannes Lion and CLIO winning work for Chipotle's “Scarecrow” and a lengthy list of critically successful projects.

"I don't think there's been a creative company this small that has achieved so much in so many venues in such a short period of time" said Christina Steinberg, former Dreamworks producer producer of Sony’s upcoming animated Spider-Man feature. Joyce added, "Our young crew were like creative samurai. They never flinched. They never faltered. If I asked the impossible they stayed chill and fearless and did what had to be done. Directing them has been the highlight of my career."

But the company reportedly hit trying times when Joyce's teenage daughter and then his wife were each confronted with terminal illnesses. With Bill’s time divided the company turned more to work for hire commercials and gaming initiatives.

The ambitions to generate sustaining revenue were not realized, and the company says it eventually dissolved after exploring some alternatives that would have moved the company away from Shreveport. Joyce was able to retain all his intellectual properties and after a year of recovering from his family's tragic losses he was ready to rebuild. 

“I intend to bring Moonbot back to its original purpose,” Joyce said, "Original books, feature animation and television that can delight a worldwide audience. Shreveport is my hometown. The idea of home and family is a part of all my work. So keeping Moonbot here makes every kind of sense “  

Moonbot says it will continue its highly successful publishing imprint with Simon and Schuster and is exploring collaborations with television and feature companies that will be formalized soon. Moonbot’s first animated feature will be announced in early summer, with Joyce directing. “I’ve been fortunate to have been mentored by directors like Lasseter, Wedge, Francis Ford Coppola, and Guillermo del Toro,” Joyce said. He will be teaming with del Toro on an upcoming project.

Joyce indicated he will also be exploring more investment opportunities for local investors within the coming months.  

“I have learned a lot about what helps create a winning company. This community has always been so supportive of Moonbot and me, we want very much to bring jobs and be nurtured by this wonderful community as we imagine and create original entertainment in the years ahead.”  

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