When The Incredibles 2 hits theaters this summer, audiences will be primed by a cute-as-dumplings Pixar short film that tells an emotional story of attachment, loss, hope, and bittersweet resignation — all in an eight-minute span.
Bao, an Asian-themed mini-feature that marks the first of Pixar’s short films to be directed by a woman, will screen as the warm-up for The Incredibles 2 this June. Until the film premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival in late April, we won’t have a detailed idea of what’s in store, but Canadian director Domee Shi, raised as the only child of Chinese immigrants, told Entertainment Weekly that Bao comes from a very personal place.
“Often times it felt like my mom would treat me like a precious little dumpling, wanting to make sure I was safe,” she explained. “…The word ‘bao’ actually means two things in Chinese: Said one way, it means steamed bun. Said another, it means something precious. A treasure.”
The setup is simple but sweet: “An empty-nesting Chinese mom gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life,” Tribeca’s Bao listing reads. “But she must come to terms with the bittersweet revelation that nothing stays cute and small forever.”
In addition to directing Bao, Shi’s artistic work for Pixar dates to an earlier short film, 2015’s Inside Out. Per The Washington Post, you can also catch more of her art in both The Incredibles 2 and the in-development Toy Story 4, which is slated for a summer 2019 release.
Disney-Pixar will serve up Bao — and The Incredibles 2 along with it — in theaters everywhere beginning June 15.