Meet ‘Piper’ – Pixar’s Upcoming Short Film by Alan Barillaro

Pixar’s upcoming short film released alongside Finding Dory will be Piper directed by Alan Barillaro.
Piper concept art
Concept artwork by Jason Deamer – copyright Pixar

With each Pixar theatrical release, audiences also receive a wonderful short film accompanying the feature film. We’ve experienced films like Enrico Casarosa’s beautiful, La Luna, to the Oscar Winning short film, For The Birds, by Ralph Eggleston — and now we’re are pleased to learn that the short released alongside Finding Dory will be Piper by director, Alan Barillaro.

A long-time veteran animator who has worked alongside Finding Dory director Andrew Stanton on several films (including A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, and Wall-e)  notes, “To work with Andrew so closely over the years, it means a lot to me that I’m in front of his film,”. 

In an exclusive from Entertainment Weekly, the inspiration for the film came to director Alan Barillaro as he would run alongside the shore and notice flocks of sandpipers foraging for food between the wave cycles on the beach.

“Seeing the way these sandpipers react to waves and run, I always felt, ‘Gosh, that’s a film, that’s a character. It’s always fun to show a world we’re familiar with but from a different perspective. We’ve all been to the beach, but have we ever viewed water from just an inch off the sand? That could be very fearful from a bird’s perspective.”

Alan Barillaro

Barillaro notes that there is “remarkable encouragement” within the studio – specifically with director Andrew Stanton and John Lasseter who kept pushing his innovative idea without forgetting the story, “It was their encouragement or else I would have stopped at the test phase.” As the story began to take shape Piper became a film about a child learning from parents about the way of the food chain with elements of learning from peers, as Piper meets a small hermit crab who teaches her the way of the waves.

“It’s the kid at the playground feeling. You fall down and you feel so small, but you look and see someone even smaller than you brush themselves off and tackle something, and learn from that in your own way. It was important to me to stay in the kid world and see the world from Piper’s eyes, and not be from the human perspective.”

Alan Barillaro

Setting the score of the film will be King Crimson singer Adrian Belew, “I put him in as a placeholder in my very first original story,” he says. “And Andrew said, ‘Adrian contacted me and would love to work on a Pixar project.’ So it was my first choice and his first choice come together. We were pretty excited, and he was instrumental in getting the right tone.”

What are your thoughts on Piper? Be sure to share your thoughts on the newly announced short film with other fans in the Pixar Post Forum or leave a comment below.

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