Before you watch certain movies in theatres, there’s often a short film between the trailers that always draws in the viewers’ attention. These short films or shorts take a lot of time, effort, talent and energy to produce and more often than not, their writers don’t always get the recognition they deserve. Here are 7 of the best Pixar shorts that inspire imagination and have got to be added to your watchlist. The short films in this article are not ranked, (because they’re all spectacular!) and can be seen on Disney+ or YouTube.
Piper, a short written and directed by Alan Barillaro at Pixar Animation Studios, is about a tiny baby sandpiper learning to overcome her fear of water and adapt to the habitat surrounding her while discovering maybe the water isn’t as scary as she thought. This computer-animated film has done ‘award-winning’ well with its visuals and its realistic sand and water effects throughout the entire film. All of the animations and plots were so realistic that the film has become the first Pixar creation to win the Academy Award for the Best Animated Short Film since 2002. Piper was released in 2016 (accompanied by Finding Dory) and runs for 6 minutes.
Purl, a short written and directed by Kristen Lester at Pixar Animation Studios, is about a ball of yarn who becomes the first of her kind to work at a company called B.R.O. Capital. During her time at work, Purl gets discriminated against by her male human coworkers and changes herself to fit in, which turns out to not be the best idea. Purl was the first-ever film from the ‘Pixar Sparkshots’ program which gives employees 6 months and a limited budget to produce a short film, and they did an exceptional job, as it covers many difficult themes of acceptance. Purl was released in 2018 and runs for a total of 8 beautifully animated minutes.
Bao, based in Toronto, is the first Pixar short to be directed by a woman: Domee Shi, and it is definitely a fan favourite. Bao is about a lonely Chinese mother in an empty-nest family where she makes a steamed bun to give her another chance at motherhood. This award-winning feature won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2019 and continues to stir up emotions with the well-represented themes presented in the short. Bao was released in 2018 at the Tribeca Film Festival (accompanied by Incredibles 2) and runs for a total of 8 delicious minutes. Beau is an amazing representation of the city, Toronto.
Float, written and directed by Bobby Rubio, is about a father who realizes his son is different from other kids because he can float. He hides him away from the rest of the world, but when his power becomes public, his father must decide between running away or staying with his son. Booby Rubio says that Float was inspired by his own son who was diagnosed with Autism at a young age and how he identified with the father in the film. Float speaks on the difficult topics of parenting and accepting your children for who they are and not what you want them to be. Float was released in 2019 and runs for 7 emotional minutes.
Lava, directed and written by James Ford Murphy, is a love story that is told through music. Lava’s events take place over millions of years as a lonely volcano tries to find love before he goes extinct and is based on the ukulele version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. Although simple, the animation is mesmerizing and the attention to detail is outstanding, as the film teaches us about patience, just like how the volcano waited until his true love came up from underneath the ocean’s surface. Lava was released in 2014 (accompanied with Inside Out) and runs for a total of 7 musical minutes.
Burrow, written and directed by Madeline Sharafian, is about a bunny who dreams of creating her own perfect home while meeting some of her neighbours along the way. While digging, she ends up becoming embarrassed of her own home and flooding the entire burrow. Burrow was nominated for both the Ursa Major Award, and the Academy Award for Best Animated Short. Burrow was originally intended to be released to accompany Pixar’s Soul but ended up releasing by itself on Disney+. Burrow came out in 2020 and runs for a total of 6 heartfelt minutes.
Wind, written and directed by Edwin Chang, is about Ellis and his grandmother living in a giant sinkhole where dangerous debris is always floating by in the wind. Every day, Ellis’s grandmother has him float out and collect items for them to build a rocket to get themselves out. One day, Ellis stumbles across a rocket that only holds one person and it’s up to him to figure out how to get both him and his grandmother out of harm’s way. Edwin Chang says Wind is based on his experiences with his own grandmother while trying to escape the Korean War and provide a new life for her children. Wind was released in 2019 and runs for a total of 8 tear-jerking minutes.