Pixar is best known for its big-budget, big-screen animation epics, movies which almost always earn millions upon millions of dollars and beaucoup nominations/wins come award season. But now, the acclaimed animation studio is giving its internal talent a different kind of spotlight thanks to their SparkShorts program. This initiative aims to give Pixar artists and storytellers the tools and the time they need to tell their own small-scale animated tales, giving the massive studio an internal “indie” vibe. The first such short film, Purl, from writer-director Kristen Lester (Epic), is available to watch online right now.
The short follows along with the title character, a sentient ball of yarn who starts a new job in a very bro-heavy office workplace. All the stereotypes are here, but if you’ve ever worked in a place like B.R.O. Capital, you could also say it’s a rather realistic representation. What’s interesting here is how Purl responds to the hostile work environment, especially as change comes to the office. It’s a nice showcase of Lester’s storytelling style and vision, which are skewed towards an older audience; this one might not be for the kiddos thanks to some adult language and humor. But it’s also far more optimistic than reality would suggest, so enjoy that little sprinkling of Pixar magic in the telling.
Check out the 9-minute Pixar short below:
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?
And if you’re not familiar with the animation studio’s SparkShorts program, here’s how Jim Morris, President of Pixar Animation Studios, describes it:
“The SparkShorts program is designed to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows. These films are unlike anything we’ve ever done at Pixar, providing an opportunity to unlock the potential of individual artists and their inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than our normal fare.”
Check out this trailer for more info:
Introducing Pixar SparkShorts, an experimental storytelling initiative that welcomes new creative voices at Pixar Animation Studios to share their stories. “Purl” hits the YouTube channel on Feb. 4, followed by the YouTube and YouTube Kids debuts of “Smash and Grab” on Feb. 11, and “Kitbull” on Feb. 18.