First Look at Pixar’s Adorable New Hero, Piper

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Pixar is introducing us to a new adorable hero in a beach-based short when Finding Dory hits theaters this summer.

Today, we're getting a first look at the winged character from Pixar (via EW). The new short will reportedly premiere prior to before Finding Dory rolls on the big screen.

Meet Piper, a doe-eyed young bird who lives by the beach.


According to veteran Pixar animator and Piper director Alan Barillaro, he created Piper's six-minute short film after being inspired by a hungry baby sandpiper that he saw less than a mile away from Pixar's Emeryville, California studio. The sandpiper that he saw was trying to overcome hydrophobia.

Barillaro said:

Seeing the way these sandpipers react to waves and run, I always felt, ‘Gosh, that's a film, that's a character.
It's always fun to show a world we're familiar with but from a different perspective. We've all been to the beach, but have we ever viewed water from just an inch off the sand? That could be very fearful from a bird's perspective.

Barillaro's early concept work had reportedly been lively yet without enough risk. However, with Barillaro's work on Piper, Dory director Andrew Stanton was impressed. Stanton, who's also Barillaro's mentor, worked with him on Nemo, A Bug's Life, and Wall-E.

Barillaro added that the story grew and became a story about a child who learns about the nature of the food chain from a parent, as well as a child who learns about life from another child.

Barillaro said:

It's the kid at the playground feeling. You fall down and you feel so small, but you look and see someone even smaller than you brush themselves off and tackle something, and learn from that in your own way. It was important to me to stay in the kid world and see the world from Piper's eyes, and not be from the human perspective.

Piper was finished after three years of "storyboards, R&D, and production."

Looks like an awesome experience for Barillaro. Three years of hard work put into a six-minute short. That could only come from individuals who are passionate about their work. Coming from esteemed and talented people at Pixar, I expect Piper to be as memorable as any full-length film from the animation studio.

Piper and Finding Dory will hit theaters on June 17.

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