Kitbull didn't open any of the studio's major releases from the past year, instead hailing from its relatively new SparkShorts initiative, "designed to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows," according to president Jim Morris. That's why Kitbull doesn't look like your typical Pixar product. Instead of the computer generated figures we're so used to seeing from the people that brought us the likes of Ratatouille and Wall-E, the stars of Kitbull are hand-drawn creations.
In Kitbull, directed by Rosana Sullivan, we first meet a tiny stray kitten living in San Francisco's Mission District. The little creature rejects human affection, preferring to return to her quiet lair with a pilfered fish. But one day, her life of peace in her garbage fort is interrupted by the arrival of a pitbull, who just wants a pal to play with, but the kitten is suspicious, as so many people unfortunately are of pitbulls. Soon, the animals develop a tentative rapport, whacking a bottle cap back and forth, though the cat remains cautious. Of course, it wouldn't be Pixar without a dose of melancholy. It becomes evident pretty quickly that our pup friend is being badly abused. But don't worry -- there's a happy ending, which I won't completely spoil for you here.
The pittie and kitten are perfectly calibrated to appeal to our cuteness sensors, like Baby Yoda and Detective Pikachu before them. The kitten has eyes that fill its entire face, while the pittie has a soft snout like a hippo. Reader, they are adorable. If you need a dose of sweet interspecies friendship with a dash of cathartic crying, give it a watch.