Film Forward

Pixar's Next Short Film Will Be Delicious, Heartwarming, And The First Directed By A Woman

The upcoming short "Bao" will be filled with firsts.

The ways we watch TV and movies have evolved, and it's time for the talent in front of and behind the camera to do the same. Film Forward speaks on the initiatives to diversify the film industry and the stories it tells. New articles premiere every second Thursday of — and throughout — the month.


Disney's Pixar Animation Studios is known for bringing a special magic to its films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and recent Oscar winner Coco. With the studio's next animated short film, Bao, however, Pixar is also creating magic behind the scenes as well with the announcement that it will be directed by Domee Shi.

The announcement of Shi as director of the film might seem insignificant at first, but the decision is actually a historical one. Shi, who is Chinese-Canadian, now has the distinct honor of being the first woman to direct a Pixar short. It's fitting that the one-time intern at the studio was bestowed that honor with Bao, as the film was written by her and draws directly from her personal experience.

According to Eater, Bao — which also has the distinction of being the longest Pixar short at eight minutes — "will center on the ups and downs of the parent-child relationship through the colorful, rich, and tasty lens of the Chinese immigrant community in Canada." The film is said to do this by telling the story of a Chinese mom who deals with her newly empty nest by creating a "dumpling baby." She soon learns, though, that "nothing stays cute and small forever."

The lesson is a universal one, but by focusing the narrative on Asian characters, the film also contributes to the growing diversity featured in recent Pixar efforts.

Bao, of course, won't be the first time that Shi has worked on a Pixar film, with her mark being left on films such as Inside Out, and the upcoming films Toy Story 4 and Incredibles 2 — which the short will be shown with. You can also get a feel for Shi's work with shorts like Well Being and Crackin'. As well, you can see her creative and quirky sketches on her Instagram profile.

Shi's in good company as a female director. Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins, Ladybird's Greta Gerwig, and A Wrinkle in Time's Ava DuVernay are proving that women can also take the helm of a film to award-winning heights and box office success.

Check out more of Shi's work in the clips below:

(H/T: Upworthy)


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