One of the most important things Pixar does is maintain their short film program, allowing younger talents or artists who work in departments where directing may not seem like the most logical next step to make the jump and express new voices.  It's paid off in any number of ways over the years, and their short films are one of the highlights of each year's new release.

When we first got the "WALL-E" Blu-ray, I think we watched "Presto," the short film that was attached to that film, about 150 times.  It's a masterpiece of timing and performance, and one of the things I love about these short films is how they can emphasize a single idea or a technical innovation, and they help push forward the technical side of the feature division.  I also dug it when they gave Gary Rydstrom a shot at directing with "Lifted," which is a great piece of comedy staging, or when they had Bud Luckey, a legend in the industry, finally bring his long-time dream "Boundin'" to life.



Now, Enrico Casarosa is going to be taking his shot with "La Luna," and we've got a look at the film's style as well as a synopsis for you.

La Luna is the timeless fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait.  A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family's most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?

Casarosa is the head of story on an untitled upcoming Pixar feature, having started as a story artist on "Cars" and "Ratatouille" and "Up."  He's making his directing debut with "La Luna," and if you're curious what to expect, a look at Casarosa's influences might help.  He lists Miyazaki as his one real inspiration, having grown up watching his work in Italy.  He worked for both Blue Sky and Disney Channel before he joined Pixar.
Here's an image of Papa, Grandpa, and the little boy from "La Luna":


You'll be able to see a new "Toy Story" short in front of "Cars 2" when it hits theaters later this month, and it's one of the things I most look forward to from that presentation.  With "La Luna," I'm guessing we have to wait for next summer's "Brave" to see it.  Yeeeeesh.

"Cars 2" opens everywhere on June 24, 2011.