Earlier this month, Pixar announced that they were working on a short film titled Lava. Now, more than a year before its debut, Pixar is giving us a look at one of the stars of its animated short. Meet Uku, who isn't really a man, but a mountain. Yes, the main star of the 7-minute animation is a volcano who is "crusty and prone to eruptions, but with a warm core".
The short will run for seven minutes and will front Pixar's movie Inside Out. It will be a musical love story between two volcanoes, Uku and Lele, spanning millions of years. The director James Ford Murphy sees the story as "an exercise in contrast"… "Volcanoes are so destructive, but they're also so creative." And if you are wondering, yes, the director is a fan of Hawaiian music and conceived the Lava story 20 years ago on his honeymoon on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. He learned to play the ‘ukulele and wrote a song to pitch the short to Pixar. That song will be featured in the short performed by Hawaiian recording artists Kuana Torres Kahele and Napua Greig.
Each Pixar short is usually used to work out a technology or technique. Lava goal was another way to handle the scale of something the size of a volcano without taxing the computers used to generate the images too much.
Lucky attendees of the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in Japan will get to see this short in August. The rest of us will have to wait until the premiere of Inside Out on August 19, 2015. A long wait, but at least it isn't millions of years.
*Note: The author's first thought when seeing the star's name, Uku, made him think it may have been a flea/louse. The name of the instrument, ‘ukulele, means "jumping flea".
Disney • Pixar Inside Out Title Treatment