In recent years, Pixar has adjusted the way it releases shorts. When director Enrico Casarosa completed La Luna a full year before it was meant to be released in theaters with Brave, Pete Docter suggested screening it at animation festivals early and taking it out on the awards circuit before its theater debut. Since then, the studio’s shorts have screened for lucky audiences at festivals such as Annecy in France. This year, the newly announced short Lava is following a similar path, as it will debut in Japan next month.
Lava, a musical love story starring a volcano, will premiere at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in August, according to the LA Times, which also debuted a first look at the main character (Disney later released a hi-res image, which we have posted below). Rebecca Keegan at the Times spoke with director James Ford Murphy about Uku the volcano and the inspiration for the fascinating idea that led to the short.
“I thought it would be so cool to fall in love with a place who’s also a character,” Murphy said in an interview. “I wanted to make Uku appealing and likable but also look like he’s been carved out of lava flows.”
Murphy also shares that he wrote a love song especially for the short, which was later performed by Hawaii musicians Kuana Torres Kahele and Napua Greig. Given that Pixar’s features usually shy away from being musicals, which differentiates it from Disney Animation’s films, it will be fun to see where Murphy takes the short.
The official synopsis for the short is below:
Inspired by the isolated beauty of tropical islands and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes, “LAVA” is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years.
Lava will makes its way into theaters with Inside Out on June 19, 2015!