Domee Shi becomes Pixar’s first female short film director with Bao

3 April 2018

Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

Bao has made history in being the first Pixar short film to be directed by a woman, Domee Shi, as well as being the longest Pixar short to date. The adorable seven-and-a-half-minute animation depicts the life of a lonely Chinese-Canadian woman who miraculously receives an unexpected second chance at motherhood when her homemade dumpling comes to life.

Domee Shi tells Entertainment Weekly how her upbringing as an only child to immigrant parents, after her family moved from China to Toronto when the director was two years old, inspired Bao: “Often times it felt like my mom would treat me like a precious little dumpling, wanting to make sure I was safe, that I didn’t go out late, all that stuff. I just wanted to create this magical, modern-day fairy tale, kind of like a Chinese Gingerbread Man story. The word ‘bao’ actually means two things in Chinese: Said one way, it means steamed bun. Said another, it means something precious. A treasure.”

The short film traces the mother’s relationship with her precious bao from childhood to its moody teenage years; a testament to the character’s patience and unconditional love. Domee Shi’s mother acted as a cultural consultant during Bao’s production. According to Entertainment Weekly, the crew filmed her making dumplings in order to accurately recreate the culinary process.

In 2012, Brave became the first Pixar feature film to be directed by a woman, Brenda Chapman.


Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

Share Article

Further Info

About the Author

Daphne Milner

Daphne has worked for us for a few years now as a freelance writer. She covers everything from photography and graphic design to the ways in which artists are using AI.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.