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Pixar Unveils First Look at ‘Finding Dory’ Short, ‘Piper’

Directed by Alan Barillaro, new Pixar short ‘Piper’ is set to play ahead of ‘Finding Dory’ in theaters beginning June 17.

Finding Dory opens in theaters this summer, and we all know what that means: a new Pixar short is on the way. Today, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, Pixar has unveiled a first look at concept art for its latest animated short, Piper.

Piper follows a baby sandpiper that must conquer its fear of the water in order to eat. The new short is directed by Alan Barillaro, who has worked at Pixar since 1998 -- beginning as an additional animator on A Bug’s Life -- and since then has collaborated with Finding Dory director Andrew Stanton numerous times.

Barillaro was inspired to make Piper after witnessing thousands of birds flying away from waves, only to then return to the ocean to eat. After Barillaro showed Stanton his animation tests for the short, the director told him to keep working on it.  

“You always want to show directors, ‘Hey, are these cool tools you’d like to use to make films?’ So I showed Andrew the Piper tests thinking I was very much just showing him a test, but he kept poking at me, like, ‘It’s a cool test, but keep working on that story,’” the director said to EW. “And then John [Lasseter] did the same. There’s remarkable encouragement at Pixar that when you think of an innovative idea, don’t forget the story. It was their encouragement or else I would have stopped at the test phase.”

Barillaro initially just played around with the concept to see if he could make a short about a non-speaking character. Then, after receiving encouragement from Stanton, he began to figure out the story.

“It’s the kid at the playground feeling. 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,” he said. “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.”

Head over to EW to read the full story.

Finding Dory opens in theaters on June 17.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.