Piper (film)

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Piper (2016 film) poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byAlan Barillaro
Produced byMarc Sondheimer
Written byAlan Barillaro
Music byAdrian Belew
Edited bySarah K. Reimers
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
Running time
6 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States

Piper is a 2016 computer-animated short film produced by Pixar Animation Studios. Written and directed by Alan Barillaro, it was theatrically released alongside Pixar's Finding Dory on June 17, 2016.[1][2] It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 89th Academy Awards, becoming the first Pixar animated short to win the award since For the Birds in 2002.

The short film involves a hungry baby sandpiper learning to overcome her fear of water. The inspiration came from less than a mile away from Pixar Studios in Emeryville, California, where Barillaro, a veteran Pixar animator, would run alongside the shore and notice birds by the thousands fleeing from the water but returning between waves to eat.[1][2]


A flock of sandpiper hunt for food at a seashore, rushing to peck at the sand when the wave recedes and taking flight when it comes in. One baby (named Piper) is motivated by her mom to be part of the flock and get meals. However, she fails to pull away in time and is soaking wet through the incoming surf. The incident leaves Piper terrified of the water; she refuses to depart the nest but soon notices a team of hermit crabs digging into the sand to find deeper food and keep from being buffeted with the aid of the tide. By copying their behavior, Piper begins to see the beauty of the underwater world and becomes knowledgeable at discovering meals for the flock.


Alan Barillaro used new, cutting edge technology to create Piper over three years.[3] In order to give the sandpipers and other birds visible in the background a realistic look, Barillaro and the short animation team visited beaches in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as the Monterey Bay Aquarium to study their appearance and behavior. The sandpipers' feathers in particular were rendered in minute detail.[2]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Academy Awards February 26, 2017 Best Animated Short Film Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer Won [4]
Annie Awards February 4, 2017 Best Animated Short Subject Piper Won [5]

The short was also part of The Animation Showcase 2016.


  1. ^ a b c Snetiker, Marc (April 6, 2016). "Piper: Pixar's cutest new short-film hero gets first look". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Imbler, Sabrina (June 17, 2016). "A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Pixar's New Short Film 'Piper'". Audubon. National Audubon Society. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  3. ^ Robinson, Joanna (June 16, 2016). "Behind the Scenes of Piper, Pixar's Best Short Film in Years". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  4. ^ "89th Academy Awards Nominees". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. January 23, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  5. ^ "44th Annie Award Nominees". International Animated Film Society. November 28, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.

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