You have to keep telling yourself, “This is completely animated. There is no live-action photography.”
That’s how amazingly real Saschka Unseld’s animation looks in the beautiful new short The Blue Umbrella, which will play before Pixar’s Monsters University when that delightful prequel hits theaters on Friday, June 21. Pixar, over the years, has entertained audiences with bite-sized nuggets of inspired genius, from Presto and La Luna to For the Birds. The studio's latest is a whimsical brush with fate conducted between two umbrellas on a rainy, urban street. You will fall in love.
In an exclusive conversation recorded at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California, Unseld and I talk about:
- The photo realism of his gorgeous short.
- Whether he believes in love at first sight, and why it’s a device so many romantic stories trust in it.
- The “leap of faith” his main character, the Blue Umbrella, takes in the name of love.
- The difficulty of animating wind, turning gusts of wind into an actual character. “For me… it is a third character in the film,” Unseld says.
- If he ever thought of using dialogue in The Blue Umbrella.
- The importance, to him, of landing an “opening” slot ahead of a new Pixar film, and how it will drastically increase the audience size for his short.
With that in mind, Unseld knows that audiences will be coming to theaters to see Monsters University. But Pixar has trained audiences over the years to get to the multiplex early to enjoy a stimulating short film, and The Blue Umbrella ranks as one of the studio's finest.