The latest short film to come out of Pixar’s experimental SparkShorts program is a timeless tale of unlikely animal friendships.
Kitbull, as its name implies, focuses on a kitten and a pit bull. The independent little black kitten is too distrustful to make friends at first, no matter how eager the friendly pit bull is. In addition to their own struggle to make a connection, the two animals must also deal with the pit bull’s abusive owner, who keeps the dog perpetually chained up in the backyard.
The short film is done in a 2D style, a departure from the 3D animation that Pixar is usually known for. A behind-the-scenes clip details how the team used the technology for 3D projects to better layout and animate the 2D, hand-drawn film.
Director Rosana Sullivan says that while the project was originally inspired by her love of kitten videos, it grew to be something more personal.
“Growing up ... I had a lot of trouble making connections, making friendships,” said Sullivan in a meet the filmmakers clip. “So I related to this kitten, because it never really stepped outside of its comfort zone to be vulnerable and make a connection.”
Previous SparkShorts films include Purl, which focuses on a ball of yarn battling workplace discrimination, and Smash and Grab, a robot love story. The remaining SparkShorts films will debut on Disney’s streaming service, Disney Plus.