Pixar is launching a new program called Sparkshorts, "an experimental storytelling initiative that welcomes new creative voices at Pixar Animation Studios to share their stories."

"The Sparkshorts program is designed to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows, said Jim Morris, president of Pixar Animation Studios. "These films are unlike anything we've ever done at Pixar, providing an opportunity to unlock the potential of individual artists and their inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than our normal fare.”

The first three shorts -- which star, respectively, a ball of yarn, two robots, and a stray cat and dog -- will have an exclusive one-week run at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre starting January 18.  Then they will debut on YouTube.

Here are their YouTube premiere dates and descriptions:

February 4: "Purl," directed by Kristen Lester and produced by Gillian Libbert-Duncan, features an earnest ball of yarn named Purl who gets a job at a fast-paced, male-centric start-up. Things start to unravel as she tries to fit in with this close-knit group.

February 11: "Smash and Grab," directed by Brian Larsen and produced by David Lally, is about two antiquated robots who risk everything for freedom and for each other after years of toiling away inside the engine room of a towering locomotive.


February 18: "Kitbull," directed by Rosana Sullivan and produced by Kathryn Hendrickson: A fiercely independent stray kitten and a pit bull become friends.

All of the shorts will be available on Disney+, Disney's streaming service that is expected to launch later this year.

Read more about the program and upcoming shorts at the Sparkshorts site.

[Via Cartoon Brew]