With exactly one year to go until the release of Inside Out, Pixar invited members of the press to a special Inside Out preview event at the Director’s Guild of America last night. Unexpectedly, Pixarian James Ford Murphy took the stage to introduce his directorial debut: Lava, the previously-rumored 2015 short that will play before Inside Out. The official synopsis reads:
"Inspired by the isolated beauty of tropical islands and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes, Lava is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years.
From Pixar Animation Studios, director James Ford Murphy and producer Andrea Warren, Lava opens in theaters on June 19, 2015, in front of Inside Out."
While The Blue Umbrella examined the smaller details of a bustling city, Pixar’s next romantic short seems to be magnitudes bigger in scale. Early reactions are very positive:
"Just saw Pixar’s next short: The sweet, romantic musical LAVA, about two volcanoes in love. Might’ve teared up a little."
Interestingly, an Instagram photo from Eric Chu – posted a week before the short’s reveal – shows that artwork from Lava is already on display in Pixar’s atrium. Look closely toward the back in the photo to the right.
Before Murphy unveiled Lava, though, Inside Out director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera showcased the footage that was screened at Annecy earlier this month. Rivera noted that "we’re pouring our lives into this one," and based on these early impressions, it shows:
"Saw some footage from Pixar’s INSIDE OUT tonight. Looks incredible. Heartbreaking, super funny, and – as expected – gorgeous animation.""Man, INSIDE OUT looks to be as creative, intelligent and as emotionally resonant as anything Pixar has ever done.""It’s still a year out, but everything about Pixar’s Inside Out looks phenomenal. First 5 minutes dropped my jaw and put tears in my eyes."
Lava and Inside Out release on June 19, 2015.
UPDATE: LA Times has more news on Lava, including the first rendered still of the main character, a volcano named Uku (his love interest is Lele). The paper spoke with director James Ford Murphy on what went into the short:
"I thought it would be so cool to fall in love with a place who’s also a character […] I wanted to make Uku appealing and likable but also look like he’s been carved out of lava flows."
As part of his pitch to executives at Pixar, Murphy learned to play ukulele and wrote a love song, "Lava," which appears in the film and is performed by Hawaiian recording artists Kuana Torres Kahele and Napua Greig.
Head over to LA Times for more.