With CG animated films becoming the highest grossing genre at the box office of 2005, its no wonder that many Hollywood studios are jumping on the bandwagon. This is no exception for a Thai animation studio called Kantana Animation which is coming out with Khan Kluay (ก้านกล้วย), the first CG animated feature film made in Thailand. The production team have been working for two years on this film with 2.5 million US dollars spent on the budget. Previously, the studio worked on the animation sequence in the zombie flick Sars Wars. The director is Kompin Kemgumnird who had two years of experience working with Walt Disney and Bluesky animation studios. He served as an animator before taking on this project as his directorial debut.
The synopsis is as followed according to a news article at Bangkokpost.com:
The story begins with the young Khan Kluay living with his mother and the herd in deep jungle during the Ayutthaya era. Naughty and enjoying his freedom, Khan Kluay is also curious about his missing father so one day he decides to leave his safe haven to search for him. This is when his journey begins.
The mission to find his father turns out to be a big adventure for the young elephant, one that will prepare him to follow in his father's footsteps and become a war elephant. Soon after leaving the herd he stumbles into a Burmese army camp, hoping to find his father.
At the camp, he first meets the young future King Naresuan, who later helps him escape. However, he is caught by Ayutthaya soldiers and trained for battle. In time he will become one of the greatest war elephants in the battlefield ever.
Khan Kluay became the war elephant of King Naresuan and was on the battlefield when the Great King was dueling with the Crown Prince of Burma. After winning the battle, King Naresuan named him Chao Phraya Prab Hongsa.
The movie shows the love and friendship between the elephants as well as the relationship between elephants and humans, something that has been a part of Thai society for hundreds of years.
This article also has detail description of each character and background info about the production.
At the official site, there is a trailer in flash. Also, there is a test animation reel with english dialogue at the Kantana company site. The film is still in post-production so what you see in these videos may not reflect how the animation will look in the finish product.
Khan Kluay is expected to be release theatrically sometime on March of 2006. This could be the beginning of a new era for Thailand's animated film industry.