Making Bao – Interview with Filmmakers (and a Dumpling Recipe)

Bao Pixar ShortMaking Bao - Interview with Filmmakers (and a Dumpling Recipe)Bao is the latest short film to join the ranks of Pixar Shorts and debuts in front of Incredibles 2 on June 15th. Bao is a story about an aging Chinese mother that has recently become an empty nester. She gets another chance at motherhood when a cute little dumpling comes to life. We see dumpling growing up fast and bonding with mom on her day to day activities. Shopping in Chinatown, Tai-chi in the park, and making food together. 

Thank you to Disney Pixar for bringing me out to California to Pixar Studios to learn more about animation for the Incredibles 2 and Bao press event. 

Get your tickets now to see Incredibles 2 in theaters June 15th

MEASURING UP — When an aging Chinese mom whose son has left the nest discovers that one of her dumplings has sprung to life as a little dumpling boy, she welcomes him with open arms. But even dumpling boys grow up fast. Director Domee Shi explores the ups and downs of the parent-child relationship in Disney•Pixar’s new short “Bao,” which opens in theaters on June 15, 2018, in front of “Incredibles 2.” ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Bao is a beautiful look into Chinese culture and the immigrant community in Canda from Director’s, Domee Shi’s childhood. Domee Shi is the first female director of a Pixar animated short film. Producer Becky Neiman shares with us that Pixar Shorts are a chance to test new technology and give new leadership opportunities. Bao Filmmakers

Ingredients to making Pixar Short Bao by Director Domee Shi

  1. Tapping into a love for food – Domee said, “I love food, not just eating it, but drawing it as well.”  Food is a universal pleasure that anyone can relate to all over the world, much like stories about love or family. 
  2. Personal experience growing up as an only child –  “My mother has always treated me like her precious little dumpling,” Domee said.  The story is straight from her own experiences with her mother that she is very close with. 
  3. Chinatown – Such a vibrant nostalgic area with “Chinatown grannies.” Production Designer Rona Liu spent a lot of time visiting Chinatown and looking at the vibrant outfit choices that the Chinese women would wear. Visors, vests, and bold color palettes are among the fashions.  

    GROWING PAINS — In  Disney•Pixar’s new short “Bao,” an aging Chinese Mom suffering from empty-nest syndrome gets a second chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a dumpling boy. But Mom must come to the bittersweet revelation that nothing stays cute and small forever. Directed by Domee Shi and produced by Becky Neiman-Cobb, Bao” opens in theaters on June 15, 2018, in front of “Incredibles 2.” ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

“I have to make an animated short of my own outside of Pixar. It was going to be purely my weekend gig, my side hustle. Basically, a way to let out creative steam,” Domee said. She discovered she really enjoyed creating food-related stories and sharing them with friends. Food folktales like the Gingerbread man inspired Bao as the Chinese version of that and food and family goes hand in hand. “When you want to show you care about someone you ask, ‘Have you eaten yet?’,” Domee said. 

BAO concept art by Rona Liu (Production Designer). ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Her mother is the “dumpling queen” and shared a special connection making dumplings on the weekends and on holidays. Domee Shi involved her mother as much as possible in the research.  She came into Pixar Studios to show the Bao crew how to properly make dumplings. This taught the crew the ins and outs on how to fold the dough properly. 

Short film “BAO” Director Domee Shi with her mother Ningsha Zhong shows the production team how to make dumplings, as seen on September 7, 2017 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

How to make Bao dumplings

Domee animated and shared her mother’s dumpling recipe and allowed us to share it with you. Complete with a little dumpling to help.


We got to try some Bao dumplings at the event! They were fantastic!How to make Bao Dumplings

Bao is a beautiful story sure to make you “Pixar cry” before Incredibles 2. 

Get your tickets now to see Incredibles 2 in theaters June 15th


Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.


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