Pixar just dropped the first animated short in its new program SparkShorts, which spotlights films by the studio’s up-and-coming animation artists. Titled “Purl,” the short is full of adult humor, along with an important message about gender equality in the workplace.
“An earnest ball of yarn named Purl gets a job at a fast-paced, high energy, male-centric start-up,” the film’s description reads. “Things start to unravel as she tries to fit in with this close-knit group. Purl must ask herself how far is she willing to go to get the acceptance she yearns for and in the end is it worth it?”
Set during Purl’s first day at B.R.O Capital, where she’s the only female in a sea of suits, the short highlights the very real issue of sexism at the office. Purl is laughed at, talked about, ignored in meetings, and even left behind when everyone else goes out for post-work wings.
To fit in, she eventually tries to be like the men, telling offensive jokes and being more aggressive and outspoken.
“It’s based on my experience being in animation,” writer and director of the short, Kristen Lester, reveals in a behind-the-scenes video. “At my first job, I was like the only woman in the room. In order to do the thing I loved, I sort of became one of the guys.”
Lester goes on to explain that when she first started at Pixar and began working on teams with women, it made her realize “how much of the female aspect of myself I had buried and left behind.” And it’s something producer Gillian Libbert-Duncan related to, as well, saying, “Oh my gosh, I have lived the exact same thing.”