“Set in 1911, The Ningyo follows a professor who specializes in “cryptozoology,” the search for mythological creatures. The title stems from a Japanese myth about a fish-like creature known as the ningyo that can curse a person with immortality. When a map leading to one is discovered, it sets off a globe-spanning hunt that takes our protagonist from his university office to a secret cryptozoo and the bottom of the sea.
The 27-minute film may take audiences on an incredible voyage, but behind-the-scenes the production was surprisingly humble. Where practical photography was possible, they used it. Everything else was created in 3D using industry-standard software like Maya, Nuke and V-Ray.
The Ningyo began in 2013 as a Kickstarter campaign seeking $50,000, and thanks to the donations of 1,025 contributors, the project went on to far surpass its goal and receive over $80,000. One of the largest contributors was Chaos Group, which supported the project as part of its “Partners in Art” program, an initiative designed to help independent filmmakers by providing financial backing, software licenses and custom tools.”