Apple TV Plus brings another contender into the world of animation in the form of Blush. The short is the directorial debut of Joe Mateo. The trailer can be viewed below.
Blush follows the story of a horticulturist astronaut that crash lands on a barren dwarf planet. As he starts to give up hope, another explorer crashes nearby. The other explorer is able to bring life to the astronaut’s dying plants, and through that she brings hope. In an interview with Variety, Mateo says this.
“We started with this planet that looks barren and boring. When the astronaut lands, there’s nothing there and he has a very limited supply of oxygen. When this visitor shows up, the music starts and we see this planet transform with color and vibrancy.”
The trailer for this animated short film teases very quick glances at the two’s budding relationship and how eventually blossoms into something much more. This is no accident, as the trailer flashes the words “inspired by an epic true love story.” Director Joe Mateo has stated in an interview with Variety that the short was inspired by his own experiences after losing his wife to breast cancer. In a scene where the other visitor disappears, Mateo explains in an interview with Animation World Network that he struggled with the directing of that scene.
“It’s hard to talk about this very matter-of-factly. It’s hard not to get emotional because, you know, it’s so personal. There was a specific moment where I had to review that scene of her disappearing and I barely managed to do it on the Zoom meeting. But then I realized that I was in a safe space; all that support I got from people through Zoom was overwhelming. And from then on, I just felt so comfortable, surrounded by, and feeling the love of my crew. It was very special.”
Joe Mateo is no stranger when it comes to animation, as he has numerous Disney title credits under his belt. For Disney’s Bolt, Tangled, Zootopia and Raya and the Last Dragon he is credited as a story artist. The film is the first animated short to be released from Skydance Media, based in Santa Monica, California. The studio has a history of feature-length films such as Annihilation, True Grit, and Gemini Man with Will Smith.
The studio formed a multi-year partnership in 2017 with Madrid-based Ilion Animation Studios. The studio’s first full-length animated feature film, Luck, is currently slated to release in February 18th, 2022. In January 2019, the studio hired former Pixar and Walt Disney Animation CCO John Lasseter to excitement and controversy. In December 2020, Apple TV Plus entered in talks for distribution rights to the upcoming Luck and Spellbound from the studio and went on to sign an overall deal to include more animated films and shows.
For a first step into animation, Skydance is certainly putting their best foot forward with a story as personal and sweet as Blush. The short film premiered on Apple TV Plus on October 1st and certainly seems worth the watch.