Pixar has done it again! Through the years, it has given us cute, lovable characters not only in its films (Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Up) but also in its shorts, which usually get their theatrical release just before one of Pixar’s feature films. The last short from Pixar, Sanjay's Super Team, screened before The Good Dinosaur, was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Short Film Category, as have been eleven of Pixar’s shorts, with three taking home the gold.
This time we’ll get to meet Piper -- a baby sandpiper who needs to conquer its fear of water in order to get some food -- before we dive into Finding Dory, the Ellen DeGeneres-led sequel to Finding Nemo.
Pixar animator and Piper director Alan Barillaro talked to Entertainment Weekly about how Piper’s story first popped up in his mind after days of running at the beach and noticing how the birds on the sand responded to water coming near them, only to return as the wave receded in order to continue to feed.
“Seeing the way these sandpipers react to waves and run, I always felt, ‘Gosh, that’s a film, that’s a character.’ […] It’s always fun to show a world we’re familiar with but from a different perspective. We’ve all been to the beach, but have we ever viewed water from just an inch off the sand? That could be very fearful from a bird’s perspective.”
Barillaro, who has also worked as an animator in movies such as Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, says he, then, thought that Piper could grow into a story similar to one of a child learning from its parents and peers, so he decided to introduce another character to the tale -- a small hermit crab who will befriend Piper and show the baby bird how waves work.
“It’s the kid at the playground feeling,” says Barillaro “You fall down and you feel so small, but you look and see someone even smaller than you brush themselves off and tackle something, and learn from that in your own way. It was important to me to stay in the kid world and see the world from Piper’s eyes, and not be from the human perspective.”
After three years of storyboards, development, and production, the Marc Sondheimer-produced short will see the light in theaters a few minutes before Finding Dory does, on June 17.