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Pixar Launches New 'SparkShorts' Program

Pixar may be best known for their features, but they've never forgotten their roots in animated shorts. While their movies get the majority of the spotlight, their shorts have long been used to experiment, testing out new technologies and showcasing new talent. Until now, their shorts have traditionally been made and released alongside their latest features. The new SparkShorts initiative, however, will see a whole series of new shorts debut independently of the studio's feature output.

SparkShorts is a fresh new approach that is designed to give new creative voices at the studio their chance to share their stories. "The SparkShorts program is designed to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows," according to Jim Morris, president of Pixar Animation Studios. "These films are unlike anything we’ve ever done at Pixar, providing an opportunity to unlock the potential of individual artists and their inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than our normal fare."

Lindsey Collins, Pixar's vice president of development added "We want to nurture our future storytellers and encourage them to share their stories with the world. Who are the future directors and producers and what crazy new ideas do they have brewing? What is the next big breakthrough in our industry? "

The first three shorts- Purl, Smash and Grab and Kitbull will premiere in a one-week run at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre from January 18, before Pixar's first ever YouTube exclusive release starting from February 4. All SparkShorts released will also eventually be available on Disney+, the Mouse House's streaming service set to launch later in 2019.

The El Capitan screenings will be accompanying the screenings of  Disney's The Little Mermaid from January 18-24. Get tickets here.

• “Purl,” directed by Kristen Lester and produced by Gillian Libbert-Duncan, features an earnest ball of yarn named Purl who gets a job at a fast-paced, high energy, male centric start-up. Things start to unravel as she tries to fit in with this close knit group. Purl must ask herself how far is she willing to go to get the acceptance she yearns for and in the end is it worth it?
• “Smash and Grab,” directed by Brian Larsen and produced by David Lally, is about two antiquated robots who risk everything for freedom and for each other after years of toiling away inside the engine room of a towering locomotive.
• “Kitbull,” directed by Rosana Sullivan and produced by Kathryn Hendrickson, reveals an unlikely connection that sparks between two creatures: a fiercely independent stray kitten and a pit bull. Together, they experience friendship for the first time.