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Pixar is going all-in on animated shorts with new experimental division

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It’s a good time to be a Pixar fan

The only thing better than a new Pixar movie is the new Pixar animated short that plays before it.

Animated short films at Pixar aren’t anything new. The studio created some of its earliest shorts in the ’80s, which were later repackaged with DVD releases of titles like Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo. It wasn’t until Geri’s Game, which screened before A Bug’s Life and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1998, that the company’s reputation for award-winning shorts was established.

Since Geri’s Game, Pixar has released a dozen animated short films, with a new one slated to be released alongside Cars 3 this month. Pixar’s short films, which have also begun to be released as their own stand-alone titles online, have become a big part of the studio’s identity and Pixar is now looking into creating even more, experimental projects.

The news comes out of an upcoming computer graphics and animation conference called SIGGRAPH, taking place in Los Angeles at the end of July. One of the panels at the conference is called “Smash and Grab: Off-The-Rails Filmmaking at Pixar” and will focus on the “internal, experimental storytelling initiative to create short films without executive oversight, to explore new creative visions and increase studio opportunities,” according to its description. Executives and creative talent from Pixar will explain how they took six months to create seven new experimental shorts for the studio and how it works juxtaposed major theatrical releases.

Although Pixar hasn’t said when the shorts will be released, there’s a very good chance the studio will publish them after the talk is given. The first short is called Smash and Grab, and was directed by Brian Larsen, the writer behind Piper and one of the team members who helped create Brave.

Last year, Pixar released one of its darkest shorts yet, a seven-minute film called Borrowed Time, seen above. The studio’s next short is called Lou and it will be released alongside Cars 3 on June 16.