What A Cute Little Dumpling! | Exclusive Interview with Creators of Pixar Animation Short “BAO” #Incredibles2Event Wednesday 13 June, 2018

I was hosted and sponsored with an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles to cover #Incredibles2Event #PixarFest #BigCityGreensEvent. Thank you Disney for the opportunity! 

You ever seen a baby that was so precious and so adorable it was cute enough to eat? Well Pixar has a new animated short that will make you resist your food craving and fall in love with a cute little dumpling name Bao!  I got an opportunity to interview director and producer of Bao, the short that is played right before the Incredibles 2 movie. This is a Pixar staple, to play an animated sweet short right before the film starts. The Incredibles 2 film is about family and Bao is also about family so I can see how these films are featured together. Watch a clip and learn more about Bao below.

DUMPLING BOY — In Disney•Pixar’s all-new short “Bao,” a dumpling springs to life as a lively, giggly, dumpling boy, giving an aging Chinese mom another chance at motherhood. When Dumpling starts growing up fast, however, Mom must come to the realization that nothing stays cute and small forever. Directed by Domee Shi, “Bao” opens in theaters on June 15, 2018, in front of “Incredibles 2.” ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

‘Bao’ has two meanings. One is steam bun and one is treasure or something precious.

“Bao” Director Domee Shi. Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart

Lets learn a little more about the BAO creator Domee Shi, as she is the first woman to direct a Pixar short in the company’s 32-year history. Domee came to Pixar as a story intern in 2011 and then promoted for a fulltime position as a story artist on Inside Out, where she worked for about two and a half years. She evolved even more to create on The Good Dinosaur, Toy Story 4 and even did a small stint on Incredibles 2 where she boarded the sequences with Edna and the Jack Jack.

Pixar did an open audition at the studio for anybody who has ideas for short films. Domee signed up and pitched three ideas. Bao was one of them. And the rest is history.

“Bao” Director Domee Shi and Producer Becky Neiman. Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart.com

How the concept of BAO came into manifestation for a Pixar short. 

Domee Shi: Oh, I came up with the idea over four years ago technically. I think it was in my office late one night and I was really hungry. But I really wanted to, one, just like do a modern take on a classic fairytale like The Little Gingerbread Man but with a Chinese dumpling. And actually, I was like just doodling in this image of this mom nuzzling her little baby boy dumpling to death. It just popped into my head. I had to draw it out, and as I was drawing I started developing this story. I was also drawing a lot of inspiration from my own life growing up. I’m an only child, and ever since I was little I feel like my mom and my dad have always treated me like a precious little dumpling, always making sure that I’m always like safe and never wandered away too far. I want to explore that relationship between this parent and this child and this mom character learning to let go of her little dumpling.

How did it feel to create a short to represent the Asian culture in a Pixar short film?

Domee: My original intention with this short is just to tell this story that might be familiar with a lot of people around the world between like a parent learning to let go of their child. But that’s almost like a Trojan horse to kinda introduce the world to these different little specific cultural details that I grew up with that I think are super cool, like making dumplings and what a Chinese household looks like, or just what a typical day in this Chinese mom’s life is like shopping for groceries, you know, not at an Albertson’s but a Chinatown.

We’re telling this universal story but with this culturally specific paintbrush, more people can learn more about this stuff that they don’t know much about. So, I’m really excited about it.

LITTLE BITE — In Disney•Pixar’s new short “Bao,” an aging Chinese mom suffering from empty-nest syndrome gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a lively dumpling boy. Her mothering instincts kick in immediately as she lovingly feeds her giggly new bundle of joy. Directed by Domee Shi, Bao” opens in theaters on June 15, 2018, in front of “Incredibles 2.” ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Explaining the emotional magnitude that BAO has already resonated with children and adults alike.

Domee: We showed it at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, and this little girl — I think she was like ten years old — came up to us afterward, and she was like, oh, I loved it so much. I loved the little dumpling. And then she turned to her mom after and said you better not eat me when I go off to college.

So, I was like, oh, good. I didn’t traumatize you.

Becky Neiman: And also at Tribeca we had a woman come up to us and she said, you know, my boyfriend he never cries. He’s like not very emotional, but he sobbed at your short. We just need to make sure you guys know this.

We have found that it’s this very unique and culturally specific story, but the themes are so universal. And we found that with our crew. You know, anybody who would join would just be like I am Dumpling. I’m the mom. I’m the girlfriend. I was the dumpling. I became a mom during the making of this short. And then I related more to the mom.

“BAO” Producer Becky Neiman. Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart.com

Speaking on the excitement of learning Bao is playing in front of Incredibles 2 film.

Domee: Oh, my gosh. It was amazing.

Becky: When we start on these things, one, we’re not even sure that they’ll greenlight it. Two, we’re not sure we’ll be able to finish it. So, we’re definitely like the indie wing of Pixar, the shorts programs. The feature films are what need to get made. And so, oftentimes we’ll have to stop production so that artist can go work on those. We had a lotta starts and stops. And then we don’t even know if we’ll be able to be in theaters.

We only just found out like within the last year that we could finish it and that we’d be attached to Incredibles 2. We could not believe it. We know that this feature is so highly anticipated and so that just means we hope more people will be able to see it. And we’ve noticed on the surface they look like very different films, but they both feature strong super moms. And so, we feel like there’s this really sweet connection between two. So, it’s been awesome for us.

BAO concept art. ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Any challenges on creating this silent short animation?

Domee: It was challenging, but I really loved the challenge, ’cause my background is storyboarding. And I just love visual storytelling so much. It was a conscious decision for us to early on take out the dialogue completely from the whole short so that the story could be understood, more universally. Anybody from any country and any age could understand what was happening. And I think animation is such a cool visual medium, too, that I thought it’d be a cool challenge for the team to just push themselves to just tell the story and emotions through the acting and through the set dressing, through the colors.

Becky: There’s a lot of little details in the sets. Like, in the kitchen there’s tinfoil covering the burners, which, you know, in that subtle way you’re seeing Mom’s practicalness. It’s also something that’s common in Asian households and lot of little things like that to help teach you who this character is and tell the story.

Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart.com

Sharing the feelings of BAO being the first female directed short at Pixar.

Domee: I feel super like honored and humble, but hopefully I’m the first of many female short film directors and feature film directors. It’s been awesome. I was telling Becky it almost didn’t hit me that I would be the first because making the short I was just focused on finishing it and hoping that people liked it or understood it. And now I can kinda sit back and bask and be like wow. We’re blazing that trail.

Becky: It’s happening. And you had a really strong female leadership team. It’s us, but it’s also our editor, our production designer, our sound editor, our production manager, technical manager. It was super inspiring for us.

MY LI’L DUMPLING – In Disney•Pixar’s all-new short “Bao,” an aging Chinese mom suffering from empty-nest syndrome welcomes another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a lively, giggly dumpling boy. Her newfound happiness is short-lived however, as she soon realizes that nothing stays cute and small forever, and even dumplings grow up. Directed by Domee Shi, “Bao” opens in theaters on June 15, 2018, in front of “Incredibles 2.” ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Domee Shi’s mother in the interview room with us to support her daughter. She is the inspiration for the mother in the short “Bao”. Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart.com

Explaining how Domee’s actual mother played a part in the development of the short. 

Domee: Yeah, she has a creative consultant credit actually. In the short. We brought her in twice to do dumpling-making classes for the whole thing.

So, it was really important for us to get all of those little details right and to get the animators and effects artists like in there like studying my mom technique of like how she folds the dumpling exactly and kneads the dough and poking the dough and smelling the pork filling. ‘Cause it was important to get those details right like just to get them as accurate as possible on the big screen.”

Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart.com

It was such a sweet and touching film. Dumplings definitely take on a different meaning now that I seen the film. It really teaches you the strength of a mother’s love. I am not a mom yet, but I understand the overpowering love a parent gives. This film will make you appreciate your parents more, no matter what age. Bao is definitely as cute as a dumpling. You will really love it, get a bit emotional and have all the good feels right before the action packed Incredible 2 start!

The BAO short will play right before the Incredibles 2 movie

Disneyland + PixarFest is doing a lot of celebration in honor of the upcoming Incredibles 2 film coming up. The Incredible Family is featured at the Pixar Parade, The Nighttime Spectacular show and on the new upcoming Incrediocoaster at the Pixar Pier. Check out the trailer and stayed tune for my Incredible 2 movie review!

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Visit the official INCREDIBLES 2 Website INCREDIBLES 2 opens in theatres everywhere on June 15th!

Ready to see this cute little Dumpling “BAO” and watch Incredibles 2?

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty

Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of KiwiTheBeauty.com. As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at kiwithebeauty.com + @kiwithebeauty

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