Discover how Pixar has remained committed to producing animated shorts for the past 34 years
“THESE FILMS PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY TO UNLOCK THE POTENTIAL OF INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS AND THEIR INVENTIVE APPROACHES”
Jim Morris, president, Pixar Animation Studios
Pixar Animation Studios has always believed in making short films. The studio’s first ever short, Luxo Jr., launched an entirely new direction in animated filmmaking using threedimensional computer animation to tell its story. Since then, nearly every feature film that Pixar has released has included a short beforehand, bringing back a tradition that was once an expected pleasure for filmgoers. Each short also gives Pixar artists an opportunity to push the boundaries of computer animation and solve technical or artistic challenges.
Recently the studio has made new forays into the short film space with its Sparkshorts program, a series of shorts “designed to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows,” says Pixar’s president Jim Morris at pixar.com/sparkshorts. “These films are unlike anything we’ve ever done at Pixar, providing an opportunity to unlock the potential of individual artists and their inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than our normal fare.”
The Sparkshorts tell a variety of eclectic and visually unique stories, often with important messages. Purl, written and directed by Kristen Lester, follows an earnest ball of yarn named Purl as she gets a job at a fast-paced, male-centric startup, and depicts her desperation to change herself in order to fit in. Smash and Grab, by Brian Larsen, is an eight-minute sci-fi short about two antiquated robots who risk everything for their freedom.
Rosana Sullivan’s Oscar-nominated Kitbull tells the touching story of an unlikely connection between two creatures: a fiercely independent stray kitten and a mistreated pit bull who, together, experience friendship for the first time. And in Float, an emotional story about parental struggles, directed by Bobby Rubio, a father discovers that his son is different from other kids in the most unusual way.
Set in a world of magical realism, Edwin Chang’s Wind sees a grandmother and her grandson trapped deep down an endless chasm, scavenging debris that surrounds them in an attempt to build a rocket and realise their dream of escaping to a better life. Erica Milsom wrote and directed
Loop, in which two kids at canoe camp find themselves adrift on a lake, unable to move forward until they find a way to connect with one another. This film breaks new ground for the studio by featuring Pixar’s first non-verbal autistic character.
Another recent addition to Pixar’s short film canon is Forky Asks A Question. First introduced in Toy Story 4, Forky is a toy crafted from various pieces of trash, and he has important questions about how the world around him works. Over the course of ten short films Forky asks questions such as what is love? What is time? And the deepest question of all, what is cheese? Forky explores each of these questions alongside returning Toy Story characters Hamm, Rex, Trixie, and more.
Forky Asks A Question is written and directed by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and director Bob Peterson, known to Pixar fans for working on the screenplay for Finding Nemo and codirecting Up, and produced by Mark Nielsen. Pixar’s Sparkshorts and Forky Asks A Question are both available on Disney+.