Tribeca Film Festival: Namoo is a Beautiful Look at Life

Namoo is a heartwarming and, at some points, heartbreaking look at life from birth to death. Erick Oh manages to capture the process of growing up and accumulating baggage and memories over the years in this beautiful animation short.

Namoo, which translates to “tree” in Korean, is hand-drawn and follows the life of one man. The tree starts as a simple round ball, and as the child comes into focus, the leaves are items that amass over time. Pacifiers and pencils gather and grow to add books and art. The tree grows just as the boy does to a man.

It showcases his love for art and, eventually, his love for another person. Life can be cruel sometimes and leaves us broken on the inside. The thing that stands out the most in Namoo is the divergence of the man’s course before he became broken. The pain in his life leads him to a career that made him unhappy and weighed down his life. It isn’t until he is bond by the bandages of his poor health that he realizes that he doesn’t want to die unhappy and regretting life. He begins to paint again, and his tree solidifies and carries him into the abyss of space.

I chatted with the creator Erick Oh and the Head of Content for Baobab Studios Kane Lee about the project.

 How long did it take to animate Namoo?

Erick Oh – “The whole production took about a year and a half.  I think we spent about 9~10 months to paint, design, and fully animate the entire piece.”

Do you feel like the man left Earth with regrets?

Erick Oh – “I personally don’t think so. Even the feeling of regret or sadness is part of the entire experience of life, which is filled with joy and sadness.  At the end of the day, when you are closing the last chapter of your life, you’ll have to embrace all and that’s probably when you’ll know that you are ok. But I’m still opening everything up to the audience.  So I hope everyone finds their own version of and ending at the end.”

Are there a lot of projects that came out of 2020 while people were at home? 

Kane Lee – ‘The unpredictable events and tragic mood of the pandemic ended up motivating our entire Baobab team to pour even more passion and heart into the one sure thing we needed to do to get by: create art and tell stories.  So Namoo is one of the three animated productions we’ve completed working remotely from home during the pandemic, and we tremendously expanded our slate of narrative animated projects across streaming/TV, books, games, VR, and, of course, cinema.”

Namoo makes audiences stop to reflect on their lives and take a look at the things, feelings, and memories that accumulate during that time. Especially after a year like 2020, many people have taken a step back to gather their thoughts and feelings about their lives. People decide not to return to their jobs or move out of high-priced areas to work from home in a place that makes them happy.

The past year has given us a new perspective on life and Namoo captures a look at life and hopes it doesn’t get away from you before it is too late.



Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.


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