The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced a collaboration with Studio Ponoc to create an animated short film to be released next year in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The project aims to share Olympic messages of hope and peace with a broad international audience, particularly young people, and to forge a powerful artistic legacy for animation fans across the globe.
The work commissioned by the IOC to Studio Ponoc falls within the scope of the international arts and culture programmes, led by the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH), to engage artists to reinterpret the links between sport and culture that are fundamental to the Olympic Movement, and to help foster a fresh and dynamic dialogue with society around the Olympic values.
The arts and culture programmes were set up within the framework of Olympic Agenda 2020.
Recommendation 26 of the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement aims to further strengthen the blending of sport and culture at the Olympic Games and in-between.
"The core values of Olympism are powerful and ever more relevant in today’s world," OFCH director Francis Gabet said.
"As the Tokyo 2020 Games approach, we wanted to explore animation as a creative vehicle to express the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect from a different aesthetic and narrative perspective.
"With a focus on universal topics relevant to humanity, this hand-drawn film will not only contribute to the excitement in the build up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, but also inspire future generations."
Following his production of the Academy Award-nominated animated feature films The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and When Marnie Was There, Yoshiaki Nishimura founded Tokyo-based Studio Ponoc in 2015.
"Animation is a magical visual storytelling medium that communicates across cultures," the former Studio Ghibli producer said.
"We are delighted to take on the challenge, together with the OFCH, of creating a beautiful hand-drawn animated film that will speak to the world, in particular children, encouraging all to embrace life with a peaceful and tolerant spirit in their hearts, regardless of the challenges they may face."
Speaking at a press conference, Nishimura was reported as saying by Japanese agency Kyodo News: "I want to make a film that will get kids excited about the Olympics.
"The type of world we want to see at the end of all this competition, even beyond the Olympics, will be a major theme."
The short film, scheduled for completion in spring 2020, will belong to the IOC and become part of the collection at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne in Switzerland.
Studio Ponoc specialises in beautiful hand-drawn and hand-painted animated films to be enjoyed by children and parents together, and general audiences around the world.
"Ponoc" comes from the Croatian word ponoć meaning "midnight" or the beginning of a new day.