First Images of Pixar’s Short Film ‘Bao’ Have Been Revealed – A Chinese Mother’s 2nd Chance at Motherhood

The first images from Pixar’s short film featuring an “empty-nesting Chinese Mother” have been revealed – check them out.
Pixar Bao Screenshot

Earlier this week, we noted that Pixar’s next short film, Bao (released ahead of Incredibles 2 in theaters) would be directed by Domee Shi. Along with that news, we also noted that the world premiere would take place at the Tribeca Film Festival (New York) on April 21.

Today, the news gets even better as we get our first look at a production still and some concept art from Bao (courtesy of EW).

The article also goes on to share some additional details on the film. We should first note that although we had previously heard the short film was eight minutes in length, the article points out that it is seven-and-a-half minutes (probably just rounding before).

Pixar Bao Logo

We also previously knew that the film surrounded the topic of, “An empty-nesting Chinese mom who gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life. But she must come to terms with the bittersweet revelation that nothing stays cute and small forever.” In addition to that, we also now know that before the dumpling comes to life that the Mother was depressed about her newly empty nest (who wouldn’t be).

The article also shares a quote from Domee about the inspiration for the short, “Oftentimes it felt like my mom would treat me like a precious little dumpling, wanting to make sure I was safe, that I didn’t go out late, all that stuff,” Shi tells EW. “I just wanted to create this magical, modern-day fairy tale, kind of like a Chinese Gingerbread Man story. The word ‘bao’ actually means two things in Chinese: Said one way, it means steamed bun. Said another, it means something precious. A treasure.

Domee Shi Bao Sketches

When Shi got started on the project and people caught wind of the story, they reached out expressing strong interest in being a part of the project since they saw similarities with their lives.

Shi’s own Mother (Ningsha Zhong) was also the “dumpling master” consultant on the film and “gave the crew two close-up, hands-on dumpling-making demos which the animators studied intimately. ‘Our technical directors and special effects team put the camera super close to her hands and recorded every single little detail of how she folded the dough, how she cut each piece, how she rolled each wrapper into that perfect little bun shape,’ Shi recalls. ‘We [basically] recreated those shots with her hands and used them as the reference for animation.'”

As with all films, the team faced technical challenges. Producer, Becky Neiman-Cobb noted, “One of the biggest challenges, and what brought our effects department to their knees, was Dumpling’s pork filling. That was hard. We learned there’s a very fine line between looking delicious and appetizing and looking wrong or gross. Making our food look delicious was a big triumph.”

The EW article was a great write-up and includes even more details about the film — read the entire article on their site.

Bao will premiere ahead of Incredibles 2 in theaters on June 15, 2018.



Domee Shi began as an intern at Pixar and was soon hired as a story artist on Inside Out. She has worked on The Good Dinosaur, Incredibles 2, and Toy Story 4. In 2015, Shi pitched several ideas for short films and soon received a green light to write and direct Bao. Shi was born in China and moved to Toronto, Canada when she was two years old along with her parents.


Producer: Becky Neiman-Cobb
Screenwriter: Domee Shi
Cinematographer: Patrick Lin
Editor: Katherine Ringgold
Composer: Toby Chu
Executive Producer: Pete Docter, John Lasseter


What are your thoughts on this film — Leave a comment below or chat about it with other fans in the Bao Pixar Post Forum thread.

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