The El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood is currently playing host to a new film showcase called SparkShorts from the creative minds at Pixar Animation Studios. It’s an experimental initiative that is allowing talent from across the studio to share their talent with the world beyond feature films.
“The SparkShorts program is designed to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows,” said Jim Morris, president of Pixar Animation Studios in a statement. “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.”
While much of the dialogue for creating such a program has its internal benefits as Mr. Morris stated, the short films themselves have already captured the attention of the outside world because of their diverse stories, characters, and the filmmakers behind them. The first three SparkShorts to debut include:
- “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?
- “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.
- “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.
Following their run at the El Capitan, these three new shorts will be available on the Disney•Pixar YouTube channel. “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.
The first three shorts, plus future SparkShorts, will be available on Disney+, the Walt Disney Company’s upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service, which is set to launch in the U.S. in late 2019.
We’ll have more on the program with an exclusive interview with one of the filmmakers soon. Follow @DisneyExaminer for updates.