The Mooncake Festival gets a modern, 2-D animated twist and we’re loving it.
The Mid-Autumn festival in the Chinese Lunar calendar has a storied past — immortals who live in the moon, a people’s uprising, and then there’s the tradition of family reunions and lit lanterns.
Then there’s this reimagined version by the filmmaker Liu Chang, a story about a lonely young boy whose fantasies about mooncakes and mythical bunnies came true.
It sucked not having friends at school. He daydreamed a lot. About mooncakes.
One day, the universe responded.
Unbeknownst to him, there’s a mooncake-making operation run by many furry bunnies who live on the moon. Kinda like the elves in the North Pole without Santa.
There’s so much yummy goodness in this short film: hand-drawn animation, the childlike innocence, too many floppy-eared bunnies, catapults, and a frantic mooncake-production scene with cancan music to it.
Liu’s team is based out of Beijing and Chicago. It took them 4.5 years to complete this. Almost everything you see is painstakingly hand-drawn animation, later processed and colourised using computer software.
Making this film was cathartic for him: he persisted in his career and beliefs as 2D animation lost its popularity in the industry. Over the four years, the film became a metaphor for his passion, and reinforced his will to “give dreams a chance”.
“Much like the paper airplane in my story, all creations are fragile. They take time, effort, and energy to materialise, but it only takes less than a second for them to cease to exist. However, to witness a dream come true is worth everything.”
‘Moon Cakes’ was released yesterday. His production website is inaccessible possibly from a surge of traffic, but his 36MB press kit says that they produced 94 backgrounds, over three thousand animated drawings, and over 13 thousand animation frames.
Epic, sweet stuff.
There are similar harvest festivals celebrated in this part of the world: today (or tonight) is also the Onam, a Malayali Harvest Festival. Here’s more on the history of mooncakes.