Thai animation is back in the news after a hiatus of a few years, making history this week with Echo Planet (เอคโค่ จิ๋วก้องโลก, Echo Jew Kong Loke), the first Thai animated feature to be released in stereoscopic 3D.
It's the latest effort by Kompin Kemkumnird, who made his debut as a director with 2006's Khan Kluay. Thailand's first computer-animated feature, it's the tale of a little tusker who would become the brave war elephant of King Naresuan the Great. Despite its very nationalistic historical storyline, Khan Kluay attracted overseas buyers and made a name for Kantana Animation.
It also spawned a sequel, Khan Kluay II, that was released in 2009, but Kompin wasn't really involved with it. A veteran of animated features at Disney and Blue Sky Studios, Kompin was busy researching his next project, Echo Planet.
It aims for even broader international appeal with an environmentally themed story about a gifted Karen boy who can talk to animals and his tough older sister who wears the traditional Karen neck-stretching rings. They rescue a foreigner boy scout who is the son of the president of Capital State. The three of then set off on an adventure in which they have to stop a project that will cause environmental havoc.
Echo Planet appears to be another landmark for the Thai animation industry, which has moved in fits and starts over the course of decades. The first Thai animated feature was 1979's The Adventure of Sudsakorn by Payut Ngaokrachang. Animation is labor-intensive, and penny-pinching Thai studios figured they could make live-action movies cheaper. So altough there are many Thai animated shorts and TV shows, there wasn't another animated feature until 2006's Khan Kluay. That was quickly followed by the ghost tale Nak and Buddha, Khan Kluay II. Also due out this year is the fantasy Yak, a project from Workpoint Entertainment.
Read more about Echo Planet in a Nation article today.
There's a few different trailers and music videos to promote the film, and the "action version" is embedded below.