Canadian Women Film Directors Database
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Directed by Domee Shi
United States, 2018 (animation, 8 minutes, colour)

Film Description:
"An aging Chinese mom suffering from empty nest syndrome gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a lively, giggly dumpling boy. Mom excitedly welcomes this new bundle of joy into her life, but Dumpling starts growing up fast, and Mom must come to the bittersweet revelation that nothing stays cute and small forever. This short film [...] explores the ups and downs of the parent-child relationship through the colorful, rich, and tasty lens of the Chinese immigrant community in Canada."
-- Pixar Animation Studios (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Domee Shi
Produced by: Becky Neiman-Cobb, Pete Docter, John Lasseter
Principal Cast: Sindy Lau, Sharmaine Yeoh, Tim Zhang
Cinematography: Patrick Lin, Ian Megibben
Film Editing: Katherine Ringgold
Music: Toby Chu
Production Company: Pixar Animation Studios

Award won by Bao

Quotes by the Director

"I always wanted to tell the story of this lonely empty-nester mom going through this crazy dumpling fantasy. I was inspired by my own life growing up as an only child, and I wanted to use a dumpling as a kind of metaphor to tell that story of a parent learning to let go of her child. [...] "
-- Domee Shi (source)

"I like to say that the mom character [in Bao] is a combination of [my mother], my grandma, my aunt—all the strong Chinese women in my life."
-- Domee Shi (source)

"We could have set [Bao] anywhere but giving it a real-life location adds a layer of believability and grounds it since the style of the characters are so cartoony. It was a cool homage to my hometown and I've never really seen Toronto animated on screen before so it was a good excuse to do that."
-- Domee Shi (source)

Quotes about Bao

"[Bao is a] mini-movie about a lonely middle-aged woman in Toronto's Chinatown whose homemade pork dumpling magically comes to life, only to grow up, move out and break his mother's heart. The film is an epic in eight minutes, a story at once ancient and alive, a domestic tragedy worthy of Yasujiro Ozu, albeit with a buoyant Pixar ending."
-- Emily Landau (source)

"When Bao won the Academy Award for best animated short, [Domee] Shi accepted the Oscar with her producer, Becky Neiman-Cobb. 'To all of the nerdy girls out there who hide behind their sketchbooks, don't be afraid to tell your stories to the world,' Shi said in her acceptance speech."
-- Emily Landau (source)

"As in Turning Red, Bao explores the pain mothers feel when they see their child growing up and needing them less. The films also show that for Chinese immigrant mothers, the pain is twofold—as the child becomes independent, they also become less Chinese. In Bao, the dumpling son begins dating a white girl. In Turning Red, Mei nurtures a secret mania for a boy band her mother fears will make her sweet, innocent child grow up too fast."
-- John Lui (source)

"Two years into the job [as a story artist on Inside Out], [Domee] Shi started developing Bao as a possible hand-drawn, Miyazaki-style short she intended to made on the side. At one point, Shi approached Inside Out director Pete Docter for advice, and he encouraged her to pitch Bao as an official Pixar short, insisting that she fight to keep the twist. [...] Even after the project was greenlit, Shi spent her days doing storyboards for Toy Story 4, devoting nights and weekends to working on Bao."
-- Variety (source)

Bibliography for Bao

Journal Articles

Articles from Newspapers, Magazines, or News Websites

Web Sites about Bao

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