Pixar’s new endeavor makes two bold statements with its debut.
The first is the endeavor itself: SparkShorts, a new animated division from the legendary studio that allows for (as they describe it in the video below) “indie filmmaking inside of Pixar.” With a limited time and budget, animators within their team will be allowed to make and tell whatever story they want, however they want to tell it.
The result, as evidenced by their inaugural offering, gives leeway for un-Pixar-like profanity and mildly crude humor; not all of these are going to be squeeky clean enough for your tots. And yet it’s still very much what you’ve come to expect, want, and love from Pixar.
The second bold statement is the first story from SparkShorts, Purl (watch above), about a feminine ball of yarn taking on a new job at the all-male business firm B.R.O. Capital.
Along with clever commentary about misygonistic work cultures (including a staff of white guys who are virtual clones), it arcs to a pogniant moment of Purl leanring the importance of not selling herself out in order to fit in and, instead, have the courage and resolve to embrace who she is (and what women can bring to a professional environment).
This message would be noteworthy under any circumstance, but it’s particularly telling — nay, a clear and conscious declaration — from the studio that infamously had to fire its founder John Lasseter for his sexist treatment of female employees and general license for bro-culture.
Pixar could not have found a better, more effective way to tell the world that the change is real, especially given that Purl is made by women: written and directed by Kristen Lester and produced by Gillian Libbert-Duncan.
To learn more about SparkShorts, watch the video below, and look for future offerings on Disney’s upcoming streaming service Disney Plus.
Here’s the official SparkShorts description:
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.