The recent announcement of SparkShorts, the “Experimental Storytelling Initiative” within Pixar, deserves to receive a lot of praise — with its fresh perspective of storytelling set within the famed studio, this is a bold mark within the studio that shows the company is not standing still. “We created an opportunity for artists to show us some new ideas by doing a low-budget project of their own,” stated Pixar Animation Studios President, Jim Morris.
Today, one of those SparkShorts has been released on YouTube. Purl, directed by Kristen Lester and produced by Gillian Libbert-Duncan follows an earnest ball of yarn named Purl who lands a job at a fast-paced, high energy, male-centric start-up. Things start to unravel as she tries to fit in with this close-knit group. Purl must ask herself how far is she willing to go to get the acceptance she yearns for and in the end is it worth it?
We do want to point out that Purl has a PG rating. As noted by Pixar SparkShorts Production Lead, David Lally (via Twitter), “By design, #SparkShorts can be a bit edgier and more experimental. This is an exciting opportunity for our artists and we hope you all like the stories too! The first 3 are rated PG, so check them out before letting younger viewers watch! Enjoy! :)”
MORE ABOUT SPARKSHORTS
The program currently lists six films (as shown below), however, this list could grow quickly as the filmmakers are given a small, six-month time frame and a small budget to create their own personal film. Kristen Lester, writer/director of Purl had the best definition of the program, noting, “SparkShorts is Indie filmmaking inside of Pixar”.
- Smash and Grab — Directed by Brian Larsen, produced by David Lally and lighting DP Farhez Rayani. Synopsis: After years of toiling away inside the engine room of a towering locomotive, two antiquated robots will risk everything for freedom and for each other.
- Kitbull — Directed by Rosana Sullivan and produced by Kathryn Hendrickson. Synopsis — An unlikely connection sparks between two creatures: a fiercely independent stray kitten and a pit bull. Together, they experience friendship for the first time.
- Float — Directed by Bobby Rubio and produced by Krissy Cababa. Synopsis — A father discovers that his son floats, which makes him different from other kids. To keep them both safe from the judgment of the world, Dad hides, covers, and grounds him. But when his son’s ability becomes public, Dad must decide whether to run and hide or to accept his son as he is.
- Loop — Directed by Erica Milsom and produced by Krissy Cababa and Michael Warch, along with supervising TD and lighting DP Danielle Feinberg. Synopsis —A non-verbal, autistic girl and a chatty boy are partnered on a canoeing trip. To complete their journey across an urban lake, they must both learn how the other experiences the world.
- Wind — Directed by Edwin Chang and produced by Jesus Martinez. Synopsis — Wind is a magical realism story about a Grandma and a Grandson trapped in a massive, never-ending sink-hole, living on a large boulder suspended by strong winds. Together they scavenge falling debris to build an escape, hoping to find a better life in the outside world.
Last month, the first three films (Smash & Grab, Purl, and Kitbull) were shown at the famed, El Capitan Theater on January 18, 2019. Now those same three films will be released on YouTube (shown below).
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 are your thoughts on the new SparkShorts program? Share your thoughts on Purl with other Pixar fans in the Pixar Post Forum or in the comments below.
Pixar Post — Julie & T.J.