Pixar just released their newest animated short, “Kitbull.” The 2-D animated short, directed by Rosana Sullivan and produced by Kathryn Hendrickson, is less than nine minutes long, but it packs a seriously powerful emotional punch in that period of time.
Not only is this short exquisitely created via hand-drawing, but this sweetly satisfying story will make even the toughest and steeliest watcher eventually tear up. While the creators of other Pixar shorts have used digital processes to produce their films, this marks the first time a short has been created the old-fashioned way. The result: simple, life-like animation that is also compulsively watchable.
“Kitbull” tells the story of a kitten who lives in San Francisco’s Mission District. She spends her nights in a cardboard box snuggled next to her purple elephant stuffie. She avoids all contact with humans and lives a solitary but safe life.
Then one day, her world changes when a man brings a pitbull into the fenced-in backyard she calls home. The pitbull terrifies the kitten, even though he seems desperate for friendship. He even tries to play with her by knocking around an orange bottle cap with her. However, the kitten still feels too frightened to let down her walls.
But one night, we discover that this pitbull is being used for dogfighting. He returns to the junkyard in the middle of a thunderstorm, his body broken and bleeding. When she sees him, the kitten finally overcomes her fear and learns the true value of vulnerability, trust and friendship.
You can watch the full short here:
In explaining the inspiration behind “Kitbull,” Rosana Sullivan says it began after she watched hours and hours of cat videos.
“I loved watching cat videos in times of stress,” she says. Pretty soon, she began drawing cats as a creative outlet and a way to make herself feel good. But then it became something more.
“At first I just wanted to draw something that made me feel good and was fun, but it evolved into something more personal to me eventually,” explains Sullivan in the Pixar “Meet the Filmmakers” video seen below.
She also added, “I realized that growing up I was always very sensitive and very shy, and had actually a lot of trouble kind of making connections, making friendship…and so I related to this kitten, because it never really stepped out of his comfort zone to be vulnerable and make a connection, and so that’s eventually what the story became.”
What a powerful message and an incredible piece of film. To learn more about how you can help dogs that have been abused by dogfighting, check out these resources from The Humane Society. It’s also useful to learn how to spot the signs of dogfighting.