Publication Date

April 2015


Scott Higgins


Film Studies


English (United States)


Before Pixar Animation Studios released the feature length Toy Story in 1995, they produced five independent short films (including one for the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Division) that began a tradition of short form storytelling for the studio. Ever feature length film since 1998’s A Bug’s Life has had a short preceding it. These shorts exhibit the same high standard of quality, visual and narrative strategies, and optimistic worldview that have come to be synonymous with the studio. My thesis works to examine just what the Pixar brand has come to mean and how it comes across in these brief, but powerful pieces of art. My case studies include: Luxo Jr. (1986), Red’s Dream (1987), Tin Toy (1988), Knick Knack (1989), Lifted (2006), Presto (2008), Boundin’ (2003), Partly Cloudy (2009), La Luna (2011), Day and Night (2010), The Blue Umbrella (2013), and the “Married Life” montage from Up (2009).



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