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“Above Then Beyond” and Pixar’s “Up”: pure coincidence? Judge for yourself.


In 2005, a group of students at ESRA made a short film called “Above Then Beyond”.

In 2009, Pixar released a feature film called “Up”.

If you’ve already seen “Up”, you might find it remarkably similar to “Above Then Beyond”.  Click HERE to watch “Above Then Beyond”.

I found an interview with Pete Docter, writer and director of “Up”, and this is what he said about building the film’s concept:

Pete Docter – “We came up with this idea of a floating house, and we worked backwards from that, thinking, “How did this guy get into the floating house?” And we came up with this whole backstory of him meeting this girl, and they fell in love, and they had this whole relationship. And this failed promise, that they didn’t ever get to go down to South America to live this adventure that they always wanted to do. And so it was kind of based on that.”

The resemblance to the students’ short film made me uneasy, so I had to look into this.

I contacted Yannick Banchereau and asked:

“Did someone in your team go on to work for Pixar?”

“Did Pixar buy the rights to your concept?”

“Was this purely a coincidence?”

His response (translated by Google Translate):

Yannick Banchereau – “Well, no, none of us went to work at Pixar, if you know someone who is in Supinfgraph, you should know that ESRA has a partnership with Pixar, so we concluded that for Pixar to see our film among those that ESRA had sent them, and they “kept” (stolen?) the idea into a feature film …
Unfortunately the film does not belong to us because this was done as part of our studies, so we can do nothing …
Thank you for your interest, it’s good to see that someone has acknowledged our film (even if the quality is far from the Pixar)”

Personally, I can’t help it to think that Pixar used the students’ idea. If they did, it’s disappointing that the acknowledgment for these students cannot be found anywhere.

(Thanks to Dorian Fevrier for first pointing this out to me!)

Posted by danvas  |  45 Comments  |  in Animation, Film
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