Featuring the Vocal Talents of Whoopi Goldberg, the Original Short Film Uses Unreal Engine and Techniques Developed Thanks in Part to an Epic MegaGrant
Award-winning animation studio E.D. Films today announces its next project, Three Trees, a short film built and directed in real time, entirely within Unreal Engine. Utilizing the aesthetics of a children’s book and starring the vocal talents of EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg, the short will officially debut at the Palm Springs International ShortFest on June 24, where it will compete for Oscar eligibility.
Written by Emmy-nominated television and film director M.R. Horhager and illustrated by veteran art director Aaron Hong, Three Trees is the story of three friends who each happen to be a distinct species of tree. As they grow and change over the course of a full year, each of the trees experiences the new seasons in their own unique way, which initially sets them apart. With the help of their friends, the trio come to embrace the differences that make them who they are.
To deliver their message of acceptance, Horhager and Hong envisioned a short film with a children’s book-like aesthetic, featuring a forest filled with trees of multiple colors and geometric shapes. But to bring it to life as an animated short, they wanted to utilize filmmaking techniques that have traditionally been the province of live-action projects, including elements like final framing and cinematography. To have that freedom to experiment, the duo needed to be able to explore a complete digital environment from any angle, in real time. That meant using a game engine, which led the duo to E.D. Films, experts in adapting distinct animation properties and one of the first animation studios in the world to have received an Epic MegaGrant.