“It’s very surreal,” admits director Alan Barillaro as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his Oscar nomination for the animated short film “Piper.” “There’s been wonderful films made this year, so you’re just really proud to be among them.” The Pixar-produced short, which played in front of the studio’s summer release “Finding Dory,” centers on a baby bird who has a hard time finding food for herself after a traumatic experience makes her fearful of the ocean.
The film started as little more than a side-project for the animator, before evolving into something more personal. “It started to become a story about my own kids, and my own fears as a parent,” he reveals. “I started trying to dig out that in the story, and be as honest as I could about that.”
Barillaro is a Pixar veteran of almost 20 years, working on such classics as “A Bug’s Life” (1998), “Monsters, Inc.” (2001), “Finding Nemo” (2003), “The Incredibles” (2004), “Wall-E” (2008), and “Brave” (2012). He shares this nomination with Marc Sondheimer. They compete at the Oscars against “Blind Vaysha,” “Borrowed Time,” “Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” and “Pearl.”
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