Piper is the latest short film from Pixar that shows before Finding Dory beginning June 17. In Piper, we meet a little bird who gets knocked down but faces his fears head on!
During a presentation for the film Director Alan Barillar explains where the idea of this short came from and how he cared about the language and scale of this world. Alan found the birds that always ran from the shoreline to be entertaining. He felt that this was a character whose story needed to be told- one of a bird who is terrified of the water.
What does the world feel like when you are four inches tall? Where do you go to capture this footage? The crew visited various beaches to try to photograph these skittish little birds which turned out to be a challenge. Most of their footage wound up being blurry. Another purpose to these beach trips was to study water because that’s a character in itself. They quickly found out that the water in Northern California was murky. Alan wound up going to Kauai to catch the footage (what a hard life!)
The unique look to the water was achieved by a combination of computer effects and hand drawn animation. Even the bubbles were explored and researched to create the type of world Alan was looking for.
He also stated the relationship between the mother and daughter was extremely important to him. This world is seen through a child’s eyes. Alan always felt that birds expressed emotion and he wanted to play with this concept. He studied birds and used their gestures in acting. Even the feathers on little Piper were a part of the acting. He estimated that 4-7 million hairs were created to give her a fluffy appearance.
Alan gave props to Andrew Stanton (director of Finding Nemo and Finding Dory) for his encouragement on this project. Stanton’s support is what made Piper into a short film. Alan shared, “I don’t think the directors at Pixar get enough credit for the mentorship they provide.”
is sweet, humorous and expressive. Most of us can relate to the fight or flight- running away vs facing their fears. Make sure to see Piper before Finding Dory. It’s uplifting and visually stunning and definitely made with love.