Pixar’s SparkShorts, a short film series, has been entertaining critics and audiences since it was first launched in 2018. Disney+ announced that two new shorts, titled Twenty Something from director Aphton Corbin, and Nona from director Louis Gonzales will debut in September. A Spark Story, a documentary co-produced by Pixar and Supper Club alums Jason Sterman and Leanne Dare is also on the roster.
According to Twenty Something’s director Corbin, “The SparkShorts program is the studio’s way of seeing what talented storytellers can do on our own. After working with Pete [Docter] on Soul, I caught the studio’s eye as someone who had interesting stories to tell.”
Twenty Something, created with hand drawn animation, chronicles the challenges of “adulting” on the day of the protagonist, Gia’s, 21st birthday. Corbin drew on her experiences when fleshing out characters: She is a manifestation of my own personal anxieties! I think of myself as a collection of children trying to pass myself off as an adult.” Twenty Something will air September 10.
For Louis Gonzales, who worked as a story artist on Brave and Incredibles 2, Nona is his directorial debut. “I’ve never directed before but I feel like my 20+ years in the business really paid off,” Gonzales says. Nona’s story is based on his grandmother, “a combination of all of the strong women I looked up to growing up”.
Nona, slated to release on Sept. 17, introduces a headstrong grandmother who’s day off is interrupted by her 5 year old granddaughter’s visit. Nona must wrestle with her desire to watch her favorite show, E.W.W. Smashdown Wrestling, and playing with her beloved grandchild. The strong-willed kin take their differences to the mat and eventually hammer out a compromise.
A SparkStory, premiering September 24, examines Corbin and Gonzales’ storytelling journeys while creating their SparkShort films. Collaborating with seasoned producers, Jason Sterman, Brian McGinn and David Gelb, the artists assumed new roles as leaders and team motivators as they brought their vision to the screen.
The SparkShorts program allows filmmakers and artists to assemble a team and create a short animated within the span of six months. Of the previous year’s offerings, Rosanna Sullivan’s Kitbull became the first to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short. Perhaps Nona and Twentysomething will be added to acclaim and award recognition on par with Pixar’s record of excellence.