The upcoming Pixar SparkShorts film, Self, is a story about a wooden puppet who is desperate to be more like the shiny metallic figures around her. Directed by Searit Huluf and produced by Eric Rosales, the film explores themes of identity, belonging, and the potentially harmful effects of our desire to be accepted by those around us.
The film is part of Pixar’s SparkShorts program, which is designed to to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows. This unique program offers a platform for artists to explore their talents and showcase inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than the studio’s usual productions.
I spoke with Huluf about her new film, her personal journey that inspired many of the ideas for the story, and all of the intricate details that went into the character design.
Huluf, who is of Ethiopian descent, was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, and studied screenwriting and animation at UCLA’s Theater, Film and Television school. After graduating, Huluf moved to the Bay Area and began working in Production Management at Pixar Animation Studios, where she worked on films like Incredibles 2 and Turning Red. Huluf has also directed numerous short narrative and documentary films, such as buna, GAMERS, Exploring Blackness, and 19th Amendment Doc.
As someone who is always on the grind (she worked three jobs while in college), Huluf is a coffee aficionado, and we also talked about her favorite coffee houses in the East Bay; she recommended Red Bay Coffee and Timeless Coffee & Bakery.
Self premieres Friday, February 2nd on Disney+.
Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture. He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.