What Are ‘SparkShorts’? Pixar’s Experimental Storytelling Initiative That Produced Shorts like ‘Purl,’ ‘Smash & Grab,’ & ‘Kitbull’ — Watch Them Soon

Prev. known as Pixar’s Experimental Storytelling Initiative, SparkShorts is now officially the name of the indie-storytelling initiative within Pixar.
Pixar Sparkshorts Logo

One of the programs inside Pixar that has intrigued us the most in recent years is the “Experimental Storytelling Initiative.” The announcement of the official name SparkShorts came within a video uploaded to Pixar’s YouTube channel today — but, more importantly, we’re also thrilled that everyone will be able to watch these films soon. 

The films, starting with the program’s first project, Smash and Grab, (followed by Purl) have only been released at SIGGRAPH to date. Releasing the films at SIGGRAPH is fitting since Pixar’s original short films were likewise launched at SIGGRAPH conferences in the 1980s as well.

Learn more about the program by watching the video below, or checking out our Related Posts links at the bottom of this post.

We were pleasantly surprised to see even more from the films being produced as part of this program. Previously, as noted before, we’ve only officially known about Smash and Grab and Purl
The list of films (in order of appearance) noted in the video are below:

  • Kristen Lester – Purl
    • Directed by Kristen Lester and produced by Gillian Libbert-Duncan, features an earnest ball of yarn named Purl who gets a job in a fast-paced, high-energy, bro-tastic start-up. Yarny hijinks ensue as she tries to fit in, but how far is she willing to go to get the acceptance she yearns for, and in the end, is it worth it?
  • Rosanna Sullivan – Kitbull
    • Directed by Rosana Sullivan and produced by Kathryn Hendrickson, reveals an unlikely connection that sparks between two creatures: a fiercely independent stray kitten and a pit bull. Together, they experience friendship for the first time.
  • Brian Larsen – Smash and Grab
    • Directed by Brian Larsen and produced by David Lally, is about two antiquated robots who risk everything for freedom and for each other after years of toiling away inside the engine room of a towering locomotive.
  • Erica Milsom – Loop
  • Edwin Chang – Wind
  • Bobby Rubio – Float


On Pixar’s Twitter, it was noted that the first three films (Smash & GrabPurl, and Kitbull) would be shown at the famed, El Capitan Theater on January 18, 2019 — followed by a release on YouTube and Disney+ when it launches later in 2019. We cannot wait.

YouTube Release Dates:

  • February 4, 2019 — Purl on YouTube
  • February 11, 2019 — Smash & Grab on YouTube and YouTube Kids
  • February 18, 2019 — Kitbull on YouTube and YouTube Kids

What do you think of the SparkShorts name and program altogether? One commenter on YouTube noted, “This is why I love Pixar.” We couldn’t agree more.

Pixar Post — T.J. & Julie

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