John Cho Boards Oscar Nominee Erick Oh’s Animated Short ‘Namoo’ As Executive Producer

John Cho
Courtesy of Benjo Arwas

EXCLUSIVE: Award-winning actor John Cho (Searching, Star Trek) has signed on to Erick Oh’s animated short, Namoo, as an executive producer.

Pic is Oh’s follow-up to Opera, which landed him an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short Film earlier this year.

Namoo­—which translates in Korean to “tree”—is a hand-painted narrative poem inspired by the passing of Oh’s grandfather. The short follows the beautiful and heartbreaking moments of a man’s life, from beginning to end, and is billed as the writer-director’s most personal work to date. It’s being produced by nine-time Emmy winner Baobab Studios.

“Though Erick’s film is based on his grandfather, it resonated for me in a very personal way. A valentine as well as a testament to the artistic process, this film is a little miracle in that it was animated during the pandemic by artists across the world, working together virtually,” said Cho. “I was moved by its human message, improbably illustrated through an entirely hand-crafted, digital process.”

“It’s been an absolute honor to have John’s support behind this film,” said Oh. “His presence has been so inspirational, and I am genuinely excited to present and share something very meaningful together with John. I hope our collaboration on NAMOO, a poetic story about life, brings a positive message to everyone.”

“John has been such an amazing part of our team,” added producer and Baobab Studios CEO Maureen Fan. “We’re so honored to have his talent and support behind this deeply personal story about an artist struggling to find purpose amidst the joy and tragedy of life, and all the choices he made in between.”

Namoo is currently playing the festival circuit, and will screen on Friday at the Hollyshorts Film Festival in Los Angeles. It joins a slate of acclaimed works at Baobab that includes Invasion!, Asteroids!, Jack, Crow: The LegendBonfire and Baba Yaga.

The independent interactive animation studio, founded in 2015 by Fan, Eric Darnell and Larry Cutler, is known for working across the mediums of traditional animation, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Other notable artists the company has collaborated with include John Legend, Oprah, Constance Wu, Diego Luna, Liza Koshy, Tye Sheridan, Elizabeth Banks, Ethan Hawke, Lupita Nyong’o, Ali Wong, Kate Winslet, Glenn Close, Jennifer Hudson, Daisy Ridley and Edward Norton. It was named Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company back in 2018.

Cho previously exec produced Alan Yang’s Netflix pic, Tigertail. He’ll next appear on screen in Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop, Hannah Marks’ Don’t Make Me Go and an Untitled Star Trek Sequel.

The actor is repped by UTA, B&C Content, and Morris Yorn Barnes.

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