BECAUSE PIXAR’s track record with successful animated shorts is as impressive as its feature-film trophy case, word of each new short merits high anticipation and expectation.
So it is with news that “Bao”, an eight-minute short about an “empty-nesting Chinese mom,” will screen at Tribeca Film Festival next month, according to the event’s site, before running in theaters in June ahead of “The Incredibles 2.”
The scant details so far about the “Bao” story: A Chinese woman gets “another chance at motherhood” when one of her wee dumplings “springs to life” — a type of animated magic between parent and creation that summons thoughts of “Pinocchio.” But in “Bao,” the mother must cope with “the bittersweet revelation that nothing stays cute and small forever.”
“Bao” director is Domee Shi, whose first Pixar credit was as a story artist on Pete Docter’s “Inside Out,” and her résumé now includes the forthcoming “Incredibles 2” and “Toy Story 4.” Shi, who began her Pixar internship in 2011, was born in China before her family moved to Toronto when she was 2, according to the Disney Blog.
As noted last week by Film Music Reporter, Toby Chu (“Burn Notice,” “Henchmen”) scored “Bao,” which is produced by Becky Neiman-Cobb and executive produced by Docter and John Lasseter.
And speaking of Lasseter, you can draw a direct educational line between Shi and the Pixar co-founder. At Canada’s Sheridan College, Shi was taught by Nancy Beiman, who, as the Disney Blog notes, attended the fledging CalArts animation program alongside such fellow pioneers as John Lasseter, Tim Burton, John Musker and Michael Giaimo — as well as Brad Bird, the director of the Incredibles films.