Award-winning Richmond movie ‘Crypto Zoo’ set to premiere in the city

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 4:25 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:49 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A huge achievement for one Richmond movie studio is coming to the Bryd Theater.

‘Crypto Zoo’ is an award-winning movie, completely animated in Richmond, that made its debut at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. There, the movie went on to win the ‘Next Innovator’s Award,’ and is one of the first American-independent studios to show a film in nearly 20 years.

“The film is a huge step forward in innovation,” said Jane Sambroski, animation director of Crypto Zoo. “We built this project from the ground up, we figured it out as we went, and we did it outside of the system.”

The movie is set in an alternative-world America, where a veterinarian has dedicated her life to protecting mythical beasts. It follows her struggle, along with those she meets on the way, as they balance protecting these creatures while fighting against forces gathering around them.

Most importantly, it’s an animation achievement. The project took nearly five years to complete and features a variety of different animation styles into one motion picture.

Inside look at Richmond studio that produced 'Crypto Zoo'
Inside look at Richmond studio that produced 'Crypto Zoo'(none)

“It’s this hybrid of traditional, hand-drawn, hand-painted and digital technology,” said Emily Wolver, a lead animator. “It creates these hybrid puppets that can be puppeted on the computer, but can be made out of physical elements like paper.”

While most animated movies are aimed at children, ‘Crypto Zoo’ is meant for a more mature audience. Many of the themes challenge not only the art style but the content inside.

‘Crypto Zoo’ will premiere at Byrd Theater in Richmond on Aug. 19 and Aug. 20. The movie starts at 7 p.m. and tickets can be bought HERE.

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