Pixar has wowed moviegoers with its memorable animated shorts since the late '80s, and Disney has recently produced inventive shorts of its own.
Released in 2012, this romantic animated short is often credited with sparking Disney's short film renaissance. After meeting the woman of his dreams on a subway platform, an office worker creates paper planes to get her attention after seeing her again in the window of a skyscraper. In 2012, "Paperman" director John Kahrs told Collider of the inspiration behind this idea: "I got to thinking about, 'What if two people that were perfect for each other met and then lost each other? How would the fates conspire to bring these two people back together again?'" Combining traditional 2D animation with CG, "Paperman" has been praised for revolutionizing the field of animation. It won an Academy Award for best animated short film in 2013.
Boston terrier Winston, 2014's "Feast" explores one man's romantic journey and how it affects his dog's diet. Director Patrick Osborne's inspiration for the mini-movie? An app. "I've been using this app called 'One Second of Your Day,' where you record your life in one-second clips, and I've been doing it for about two years," he told Collider in 2014. "I did one of my life and I did one of meals. There was something interesting about the dinner one, and I thought it might be cool to see if I could use it in animation to tell a story through food and through dinners."
"Lava" is a true delight. Featuring the vocals of Kuana Torres Kahele and Nāpua Greig, it's the kind of short that'll leave you with a cheesy smile on your face. While it might not necessarily be everyone's cup of tea, there's no denying the artistry that went into creating this 2014 musical love story featuring volcanoes.
"Sanjay's Super Team" tells the story of a son and his religious father. Inspired by director Sanjay Patel's own upbringing, the short follows a young Indian boy who bonds with his father by imagining Hindu gods as superheroes inspired by his favorite cartoon characters. Exploring Hindu mythology in a way that could reach large audiences was really important to Sanjay. "The idea that I could collaborate with Pixar and Disney meant it could go way beyond this community, to somehow make it normal, so my nieces or nephews didn't have to feel different. It would just be out there in the culture. It felt really important to me to have America see this, and have Pixar and Disney say it's normal," he told The Verge in 2015. Deeply moving and visually stunning, "Sanjay's Super Team" went on to earn an Academy Award nomination in 2016.
"La Luna" focuses on three generation of a family that cleans shooting stars off the surface of the moon. According to director Enrico Casarosa, the short was inspired by the strained relationship between his father and grandfather. "I thought there was something interesting there for a nice coming-of-age story about a boy finding his voice between two bigger voices," he told Entertainment Weekly in 2012. From its breathtaking imagery to its dreamy score, it's no surprise that critics loved "La Luna." In 2012, it was up for best animated short film at the Academy Awards.
"Purl." When a pink ball of yarn named Purl lands a job at a male-dominated workplace, she changes who she is in order to fit in with the guys but soon comes to realize that staying true to herself is far more important. Written and directed by Kristen Lester, the idea for the story was actually inspired by Kristen's own experiences in the field of animation.
"Bao" is a story about a Chinese mother's longing for her grown-up son. Inspired by Domee's own upbringing as a child of immigrants, the short's specifically Asian story is what sets it apart from the rest. "Growing up I was that overprotected little dumpling for my Chinese mom," she told the Los Angeles Times in 2018. "I was an only child living in Toronto with my parents, and they've always kind of watched over me and made sure I was safe, kept me really, really close.
"Kitbull" tells the story of the unlikely friendship between an abused pit bull and a stray kitten. It's a beautiful exploration of the great things that can come from stepping outside your comfort zone and letting others in. "Kitbull" earned an Oscar nod for best animated short film in 2020.
"Float" focuses on a young boy with a unique ability to float and his father's efforts to keep this power hidden from the rest of the world. The 2019 short was inspired by writer-director Bobby Alcid Rubio's relationship with own son, who is on the autism spectrum. At its core, it's a story that beautifully articulates a father's journey to accepting his son's differences and the eventual realization that what makes him different is also what makes him special. The 2019 short is Pixar's first animated short to feature Filipino-American characters.
More Pixar Shorts
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