Pixar released the short film Kitbull, in Feb, 2019. It was one of the first projects to emerge from the studio’s SparkShorts experimental storytelling initiative program and it is a ‘hand-drawn’ digital film. Kitbull was directed by Pixar story artist Rosana Sullivan and produced by Kathryn Hendrickson.

The short tells the unlikely connection sparks between two creatures: a fiercely independent stray kitten and a pit bull. Together, they experience friendship for the first time. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. If you missed it when it launched, it is well worth a look. Below are two great ‘making of’ videos that explain the process as well as the director’s personal journey.

Below is the behind the scenes of how the Pixar team made one of their first ‘hand-drawn’ animated shorts.

“The SparkShorts program is designed to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows. 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.” Jim Morris, President of Pixar Animation Studios.

Check out more of the Pixar shorts in this series here.

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

In the Category of Documentary (Short Subject) the film Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) was nominated for an Oscar. The film is by director Carol Dysinger and producer Elena Andreicheva. While the film is not a visual effects film, we wanted to highlight it. The film tells the tale of Skateistan, an international non-profit organization that empowers children through skateboarding and education in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa since 2008. We were lucky enough to hear the founder, Oliver Percovich talk at Sydney TedX in 2014.

In 2007 Percovich moved to Afghanistan from Australia when his girlfriend took a job in Kabul. Bored, he would skate the beleaguered city, and became a sort of pied half-piper, attracting street kids that would follow him around and ask for rides. Shortly after, Oliver founded Skateistan, a grassroots ‘Sport for Development’ project on the streets of Kabul. By combining skateboarding with creative, arts-based education, the organization gives children the opportunity to become leaders for a better world. Their focus is on groups who are often excluded from sports and educational opportunities, especially girls, children living with disabilities and those from low-income backgrounds. Skateistan provides safe spaces where children can have fun, build their skills and confidence and break down social barriers.

Today, Skateistan is an award-winning international organization. The organization is the first international development initiative to combine skateboarding with educational outcomes. Skateistan is non-political, independent, and inclusive of all ethnicities, religions and social backgrounds, offering both skating and general education classes for over 1000 boys and girls each week. The film Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You’re A Girl) is the story of young Afghan girls learning to read, write-and skateboard-in Kabul. The film had its world premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the jury award for Best Documentary Short.