TURNING RED: Pixar's New Movie From BAO Filmmaker Domee Shi Puts A Twist On Teenage Awkwardness

Domee Shi, director of the Academy Award-winning short Bao, will be making her feature film directorial debut with Turning Red, a movie about the awkwardness of being a teenager.

In 2018, Pixar debuted the short Bao, which played ahead of the highly anticipated blockbuster sequel Incredibles 2. The charming tale about a lonely Chinese mother suffering from empty nest syndrome captivated audiences and marked the directorial debut of Domee Shi. 

Shi broke multiple glass ceilings with Bao, becoming the first woman to direct a short film for Pixar. She was also the first woman of color to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short.

Shi will now be making her feature film directorial debut with Pixar's upcoming film Turning Red. Announced during Disney's Investor's Day, Turning Red is a coming-of-age story about a girl named Mei. In addition to experience the usual awkwardness that comes with being a teenager, Mei has another secret -- she transforms into a giant red panda if she gets too excited.

Shi actually summed the film up more succinctly on Instagram, writing: "Puberty! Asians! Red Pandas!"

We all know teenagers are big balls of emotion with all sorts of levels of excitement, so it will be interesting to see how she controls this power.

Pixar chief creative officer Pete Docter actually shared a brief snippet of Turning Red, which appears to draw influence from Eastern animation. While Mei is a confident 13-year-old, she's also experiencing the "excruciatingly awkwardness of being a teenager."

"Everything in her life is changing. Her interests, her relationships, her body. Balancing all this with her family, and crushes and her devotion to the biggest boy band on the planet is no small feat," Docter explained. "Oh and one more little detail; whenever she gets too excited, which for a 13-year-old is, like, always, she uncontrollably poofs into a giant red panda. Kinda like the Incredible Hulk but cuter."

"Turning Red is an original take on the great tradition of coming-of-age comedies albeit one with an emotional one and furry twist," he concluded.

Turning Red is scheduled to release on March 11, 2022. It is the first true Pixar feature to be directed by a woman.

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