SparkShorts

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SparkShorts
PixarSparkShortsLogo.png
Created byPixar
Original workPurl (2019)
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company
Years2019–present
Films and television
Short film(s)
Audio
Soundtrack(s)See below

SparkShorts is a series of American independent animated short films produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It consists of a program in which Pixar's employees are given six months and limited budgets to develop animated short films that were originally released on Pixar's YouTube channel, and later on Disney+.

Purl, Smash and Grab and Kitbull, the first three shorts of the SparkShorts program, were released at SIGGRAPH on August 14, 2018, before having a limited release at El Capitan Theater on January 8, 2019. Purl was officially released on February 4, 2019, on YouTube while Smash and Grab and Kitbull were released on February 11 and 18, respectively. Subsequent shorts were released on November 12, 2019, on Disney+, including Float, rather than on YouTube. The shorts have been praised for their more mature themes compared to traditional Pixar feature productions.

Development[edit]

Pixar first announced the SparkShorts program on January 18, 2019.[1] The program consists of giving employees at Pixar six months and a limited budget to develop indie short films, all of them based on personal experiences.[2] The program was developed in order to find new filmmakers at Pixar.[2] Bobby Rubio, writer/director of the SparkShort film Float, described the program as "different film from the kinds of films" developed at Pixar, while Lindsey Collins said that the shorts are referred to as SparkShorts because Pixar "[wants] to discover that creative spark" in its employees.[2] Jim Morris said: "The SparkShorts program is designed to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows", adding that it "[provides] an opportunity to unlock the potential of individual artists and their inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than [Pixar's] normal fare".[3]

Films[edit]

Released films[edit]

# Film Release date Director(s) Writer(s) Producer(s) Executive producer(s) Editor(s) Composer(s)
Screenplay Story
1 Purl February 4, 2019 (2019-02-04) Kristen Lester Michael Daley, Bradley Furnish, Lester & James Robertson Gillian Libbert-Duncan Lindsey Collins Furnish Pinar Toprak
2 Smash and Grab February 11, 2019 (2019-02-11) Brian Larsen David Lally Lindsey Collins, Mary Alice Drumm & Dana Murray Nicole Vanderneut Barney Jones
3 Kitbull February 18, 2019 (2019-02-18) Rosana Sullivan Kathryn Hendrickson Lindsey Collins Katie Schaefer Bishop Andrew Jimenez
4 Float November 12, 2019 (2019-11-12) Bobby Rubio Krissy Cababa[4] Gregory Amundson Jones[4]
5 Wind December 13, 2019 (2019-12-13) Edwin Chang Jesús MartÍnez Tim Fox Jimenez
6 Loop January 10, 2020 (2020-01-10) Erica Milsom Adam Burke, Matthias De Clercq & Milsom Michael Warch & Krissy Cababa[5] Jason Brodkey Mark Orton[5]
7 Out May 22, 2020 (2020-05-22) Steven Hunter Max Sachar Lindsey Collins & David Lally Noah Newman Jake Monaco
8 Burrow December 25, 2020 (2020-12-25) Madeline Sharafian Mike Capbarat Anna Wolitzky N/A
9 Twenty Something September 10, 2021 (2021-09-10) Aphton Corbin Erik Langley Nicole Paradis Grindle & Micheal K. O'Brien Amera Rizk ASTU
10 Nona September 17, 2021 (2021-09-17) Louis Gonzales Mike Wu Courtney Casper Kent Jennifer Jew Cristy Road Carrera

Purl[edit]

An anthropomorphic ball of yarn named Purl becomes the first ball of yarn to work at a company called B.R.O. Capital, but is discriminated against by her human coworkers. Purl promptly changes her appearance and personality in order to fit in, but soon finds out it may not be the best idea to do so.

Smash and Grab[edit]

Set on a futuristic Mars-like planet, two overworked robots, named Smash and Grab respectively, must fight their way to freedom after choosing to escape from their exhausting work routine.

Kitbull[edit]

An independent kitten forms an unlikely friendship with an abused pit bull, whom he eventually chooses to help escape from his owners.

Float[edit]

Upon discovering his son's ability to fly, a father tries to hide his son's ability from the world. When his son's ability eventually becomes public though, the father must choose between going on the run or accepting his son.[3]

Wind[edit]

A grandmother and her grandson find themselves scavenging debris after being trapped together in an endless chasm, and soon realize their dream of escaping.[6]

Loop[edit]

A non-verbal girl and a chatty boy must learn to understand each other in order to fulfill a canoeing trip in an urban lake.[6]

Out[edit]

A young gay man who has not yet come out to his parents unexpectedly has his mind magically swapped with his dog's.

Burrow[edit]

A young rabbit tries to build the burrow of her dreams, becoming embarrassed each time she accidentally digs into a neighbor's home.

This short was originally intended to be released theatrically alongside Pixar's feature-length film Soul.[7][8]

Twenty Something[edit]

The film examines the challenges and insecurities of 'adulting.' Some days you're nailing it, while other days, you're just a stack of kids hiding in a trench coat, hoping no one notices. The film's protagonist is Gia, who finds herself in this exact scenario the night of her 21st birthday.[9]

Nona[edit]

The film centers on a widowed grandmother who plans to spend her day off by shutting out the world to watch her favorite TV show, E.W.W. Smashdown Wrestling. However, when her five-year-old granddaughter Renee is unexpectedly dropped off, Nona is caught between her two favorite things. Renee wants to play, while the normally-doting Nona wrestles with wanting to watch the Smashdown, leading to a decisive showdown between the two, and a loving compromise.[9]

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Film Result Ref.
Academy Awards February 9, 2020 Best Animated Short Film Kitbull Nominated [10]
April 25, 2021 Out Shortlisted [11]
Burrow Nominated [12][13]

Themes[edit]

The shorts in the SparkShorts program have been praised for having more mature themes than previous Pixar productions. Purl was praised by many as an allegory for gender inequality and feminism,[14][15][16][17] which Meghan Mehta of Study Breaks noted was "mature for Pixar's target audience".[18] Alex Reif of Laughing Place said that Smash and Grab is "[a] story about two workers who don't get the same luxuries as those who control them".[19] Nick Skillicorn of Idea to Value felt that the SparkShorts program "enables the staff to flex their creative muscles in new ways, and try ideas which would never be accepted into a feature-length film aimed at families".[20]

Music[edit]

Title U.S. release date Composer(s) Label
Purl (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) March 15, 2019 (2019-03-15) Pinar Toprak Walt Disney Records
Smash and Grab (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) April 5, 2019 (2019-04-05) Barney Jones
Kitbull (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) April 23, 2019 (2019-04-23) Andrew Jimenez
Float (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) February 28, 2020 (2020-02-28) Barney Jones
Wind (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Andrew Jimenez
Loop (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Mark Orton
Out (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) July 3, 2020 (2020-07-03) Jake Monaco
Burrow (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) December 25, 2020 (2020-12-25) N/A
Twenty Something (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) September 10, 2021 (2021-09-10) ASTU
Nona (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) September 17, 2021 (2021-09-17) Cristy Road Carrera

Outside media[edit]

A Spark Story[edit]

On January 29, 2020, Disney announced that an untitled documentary series focusing on the SparkShorts series was in development for Disney+.[21] The series, which provided "an immersive look at the next generation of Pixar filmmaker[s]", was executive-produced by Brian McGinn, Jason Sterman and David Gelb.[21] On July 21, 2021, it was reported that the project was being redeveloped as a docu-film under the name A Spark Story, with McGinn, Sterman, and Gelb producing.[9] Sterman also directed the film alongside Leanne Dare.[9] Pixar produced the project alongside Supper Club.[9] The documentary, charting the production of then-recent SparkShorts Twenty Something and Nona, was released on September 24, 2021.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bui, Hoai-Tran (January 11, 2019). "Pixar's Announces New Short Film Program, SparkShorts". /Film. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Introducing Pixar SparkShorts". Pixar/The Walt Disney Company/YouTube. January 10, 2019. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "SparkShorts". Pixar. January 18, 2018. Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Tomorrow is a very special premiere for #FLOAT on @disneyplus! Thank you to @Bobby_Rubio for sharing his beautiful, personal story with us. Big thanks to Producer @kirbaba and everyone on the Float crew for making such a gorgeous film possible! ❤️✨#Pixar #SparkShorts #PixarFloat". November 11, 2019. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Mark Orton Scoring Pixar Short 'Loop'". Film Music Reporter. August 18, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Romano, Nick (October 30, 2019). "Pixar previews all six short films in SparkShorts trailer on Disney+". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  7. ^ Laughing Place Disney News Desk (September 26, 2020). "2D Animated Short "Burrow" To Premiere With Pixar's "Soul" In Theaters on November 20th". Laughing Place. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  8. ^ What's On Disney Plus (October 9, 2020). "PIXAR SPARKSHORTS "BURROW" COMING SOON TO DISNEY+". What's On Disney Plus. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e Grobar, Matt (July 21, 2021). "SparkShorts: Disney+ Unveils Two New Shorts & A Feature-Length Doc From Pixar, Sets September Premiere Dates". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 22, 2021.
  10. ^ "Oscar Nominations 2020 Announcement Date & Time". Oscars. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  11. ^ "93rd Oscars® Shortlists In Nine Award Categories Announced". Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 9 February 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  12. ^ Zahed, Ramin (March 15, 2021). "'Farmageddon', 'Onward', 'Over the Moon', 'Soul', 'Wolfwalkers' Nominated for 2021 Oscars". Animation Magazine. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  13. ^ "The full list of 2021 Oscar nominations". Guardian. 15 March 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  14. ^ Ifeanyi, KC (February 7, 2019). "Pixar's new short 'Purl' takes on toxic workplace bro culture". Fast Company. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  15. ^ Freeman, Molly (February 4, 2019). "Pixar's First SparkShorts Short Film Is A Feminist Allegory - With Yarn". Screen Rant. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  16. ^ Khosla, Proma (February 4, 2019). "Entertainment Like Follow Follow Pixar's newest short 'Purl' is a must-watch for every workplace". Mashable. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  17. ^ Snetiker, Mark (February 4, 2019). "Pixar drops first short film from new animation program SparkShorts". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  18. ^ "New Extra-Short Pixar Shorts, Called SparkShorts, Are Telling Employees' Personal Stories". Study Breaks. March 6, 2019. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  19. ^ Reif, Alex (January 31, 2019). "Pixar SparkShorts Review: "Smash and Grab"". Laughing Place. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  20. ^ Skillicorn, Nick (March 6, 2019). "Pixar Sparkshorts: A great initiative Pixar is using to keep up their creativity". Idea to Value. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  21. ^ a b Hersko, Tyler (January 29, 2020). "Disney+ Sets New Unscripted Slate, Including One Short-Lived ABC Reality Show". IndieWire. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  22. ^ Grobar, Matt (2021-07-21). "SparkShorts: Disney+ Unveils Two New Shorts & A Feature-Length Doc From Pixar, Sets September Premiere Dates". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-07-22.

External links[edit]