First Rendered Image from Pixar’s ‘Lava’

Uku from Pixar’s “Lava.” (Click to expand.)

The first rendered image from Pixar’s new short Lava was published today in the LA Times. Directed by James Ford Murphy, Lava will premiere next week at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in Japan. It’s a seven-minute musical love story between two mountains: Uku [pictured above] and Lele. In the U.S., it will be released in front of Inside Out on June 19th, 2015.

Murphy told the LA Times that he got the idea for the film twenty years ago while honeymooning in Hawaii:

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.

This whole story has been an exercise in contrast. Volcanoes are so destructive, but they’re so creative. They’re so powerful in their eruptions but they’re so peaceful.


  • Toonio

    Was the short description an allegory to Pixar’s founder Steven Jobs?

  • Chris

    Ha, I can’t help but see the baby from the Dinosaurs TV show!

    • Close3k

      NOT THE MAMA!!!

    • Copper

      heh

  • M.R. Horhager

    All the coverage on the wage-fixing this past week, has been weighing me down. Verging on becoming jaded about being in animation, but seeing this image is refreshing. The appeal, the excitement of something new… reminds me of why I got into animation in the first place. :)

    • Jaded

      Which is exactly why we’re in this situation and it will never improve.

  • Ant G

    2D but-really-3D humans falling in love, umbrellas falling in love, mountains falling in love… screw originality, I know what fail-proof plot I would have to pitch to the higher-ups if I worked at Pixar. (But now I know they would stunt my career, so I wouldn’t be caught dead there.)

  • Ed_Cat’pone

    Wow, those underpaid PIXAR Catmullians really do great work!

  • Noela

    Visually it looks very nice, can’t wait to see it!

    But I really hope there are some surprises in this, because I’m pretty sure I
    can see the ending in this story coming from a mile away. Don’t read the following if you don’t want me to potentially spoil the ending for you, but…

    The original synopsis said this story takes place over millions of years and it’s a love story about a lonely volcano. So millions of years gives time for plate tectonics to work its magic and bring another volcano companion closer to Uku. I’m guessing it will end with Uku opening his ‘arms’ and embracing his companion as they form one island.

  • Noela

    Visually it looks very nice, can’t wait to see it!

    But I really hope there are some surprises in this, because I’m pretty sure I
    can see the ending in this story coming from a mile away. Don’t read the following if you don’t want me to potentially spoil the ending for you, but…

    The original synopsis said this story takes place over millions of years and it’s a love story about a lonely volcano. So millions of years gives time for plate tectonics to work its magic and bring another volcano companion closer to Uku. I’m guessing it will end with Uku opening his ‘arms’ and embracing his companion as they form one island.

  • Christian Bermejo

    Simpson’s did it … I mean, David O’Reilly did it. Lol
    https://vimeo.com/99098990

  • Copper

    If there wasn’t illegal wage-fixing going on, they would be paid what they’re worth to keep around, which would be more than what they’re currently working for. So I would say yes, they are underpaid if they’re not getting paid the wages they’re worth under normal circumstances.

    • William Bradford

      Legally yes, I just mean that instead of having the artists be paid more, I think they’d be better to have the top brass forego the profits made by the wage-fix and put them into the projects and the studios. I think if they didn’t freeze wage increases there film’s budgets would get out of hand.

      And while I certain understand why cartel’s should be illegal; how does one enforce such laws? If large studios simply agree not to lure each other’s employees away… how can you define where the illegality lies? And yes, it’d be nice if people at the top didn’t keep more money for themselves…. but that’s a fairly ubiquitous dilemma that applies to industries and business far more corrupt and, lets face it, important then animation.

      As a guy animating in TV and living in the costliest city in North America (unless it’s been bumped to second lately), I doubt there’s a feature studio out there that pays less then mine, and I’m surviving just fine. When all is said and done what we do CAN be important in it’s own right… but there’s far more important jobs out there. I agree it’s a dangerous precedent to set, so I’m GLAD this cartel is being put under scrutiny. I just think we need to also keep it in perspective.

  • Jack McCaffrey

    Deja vu.

  • slowtiger

    Let’s see what they do with 2 mountains. I did my own version in 2008:
    https://vimeo.com/10652222

  • Uli Meyer

    Murphy got the idea 20 years ago? Here’s one of our first commercials which we made in 1993. Coincidence? (just kidding).

    https://vimeo.com/100584143

  • bob

    i think given the amount of time it takes to be able to execute art at the level we are expected to produce in the industry deserves more money than a Mcdonald’s manager… which require no exceptional training, except having been in there for a while. Often people who make it into film don’t just go to University for a couple years and suddenly turn into industry quality artists. Usually it’s a lifetime of work to get there. If the cartel didn’t exist… the studios would be fine… they’d be the same. The difference would be the top few people might make a couple million less… while still making millions. Why are people okay with wage theft? I think paying people more who live and work in the most expensive places to live in America is fair.

    • William Bradford

      Good point, good point. I wasn’t so much objecting to the attack on the cartel: really I think it’s a step in the right direction that it’s been exposed. I just think people have been blowing it WAY out of proportion. I generally take for granted ANY manager in a position of advantage will shave some off the top: if you can keep it under control then by all means we should; but it’s hardly the scandal of the century.

  • https://vimeo.com/channels/wharton Brett Wharton
  • DangerMaus

    Another “love” story. Film opens with “the lonely mountain” Aku singing the blues of being “forever alone”, when along comes the female mountain to make his existence complete. A medley of songs follows as Aku and unnamed female mountain serenade each other over their undying love. At the end, Aku pulls a Krakatoa and is blasted off the face of the Earth leaving his heartbroken lover alone. Camera slowly pulls back and back, revealing her isolation amidst a never ending sea as she forlornly sings to her lost love…..fade to black…….song fades out slowly.

    PROFIT!!!

  • Mike

    Er, guy…………Pixar has never won an Animated Short Film Oscar. And the only one around here calling their shorts overrated seems to be you. What’s eating you my man?

    • snail_male

      Geri’s Game? How soon we forget…

    • Steve Segal

      Pixar has won several time, Tin Toy, Geri’s Game, For the Birds. Day & Night was nominated but deserved to win.

  • Jorge’ of the Jungle

    Jim Murphy has been on his game since Mr Wilson’s journalism class.