Pixar’s latest short has been announced and not only does it sound heartwarming and adorable, but it's also history-making.
Bao was written and directed by Domee Shi, and is the longest Pixar short to date. Slated to play before Incredibles 2, it is also the first Pixar short to be directed by a woman. Shi took inspiration from her own childhood as the only child of Chinese immigrants in Canada when writing the story. The nearly eight-minute long short is about a Chinese-Canadian woman experiencing an empty nest when she gets a second shot at motherhood after one of her handmade dumplings magically comes to life.
“Oftentimes it felt like my mom would treat me like a precious little dumpling, wanting to make sure I was safe, that I didn’t go out late, all that stuff,” she explained to Entertainment Weekly. “I just wanted to create this magical, modern-day fairy tale, kind of like a Chinese Gingerbread Man story.”
The word “bao” actually has a perfectly fitting double meaning in Chinese. Depending on how it is said, it can mean either a steamed bun or something precious.
Bao tells the story of just how far a mother will go to protect her child — or in this case, precious steamed bun. Shi’s mother not only was inspiration for the short film, but also came on as a cultural consultant during the filmmaking process. A “dumpling master” according to Shi, her mother did multiple dumpling making tutorials for the animators to study and base their animation off of.
The heartwarming short makes its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21 before hitting theaters everywhere with Incredibles 2 on June 15.
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