How many fleeting encounters does one experience with fellow commuters on the morning train? Inspired by the strange yet wonderful connections briefly established between foreign bodies en route, veteran Pixar animator John Kahrs is charming audiences with his enchanting cartoon Paperman. A wordless homage to chance meetings evolves into something much greater in this colourful tale told in black and white, all thanks to a little bit of magic. Oh, to live in Kahrs world!
“It had something to do with the random connections you sometimes make with people…every once in a while you’ll make eye contact, then you’ll lose it, and you often wonder who those people were,” Kahrs said speaking to Animation World Network.
The seven-minute animated short wordlessly depicts how the fates reward a lonely man desperate to make a connection again, with the beautiful woman he comes upon, if only momentarily, on a Grand Central Station platform. What was the random opening act from Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph is now being celebrated with an Oscar nod.
The success of Paperman, if not for its charismatic story, is due to Kahrs exploration of an innovative style of animation. Immersing the expressiveness of 2D hand sketches with the dimensionality of computer graphics, the hybrid technique taps the art of drawing that is inherent in Disney’s DNA, said Kahrs. “This just seemed like a good fit for the project. I could see other ideas not working well. In this case, they didn’t serve the story.”
The short is being honoured with a nomination for the Academy Awards’ Best Animated Short.