Oscar-Nominated ‘Weekends’ Animator on Channeling His Boyhood With Divorced Parents

ShortList 2018: “As a kid, you have an emotional reaction to what’s happening to your parents,” Pixar animator Trevor Jimenez tells TheWrap

Last Updated: January 23, 2019 @ 11:10 AM

Trevor Jimenez remembers the long car rides to Toronto and back through the woods of Ontario. He remembers his father’s antique collection, and flitting back and forth from his mother’s quiet, loving arms to the rock ‘n’ roll weekends with his dad.

And then he turned all of that into the basis for his animated short “Weekends,” including the part where that travel-heavy life was abruptly turned upside-down.

“It grew from this really simple idea about how a divorced family’s life changes over time,” said Jimenez, whose 15-minute dialogue-free short was a finalist in TheWrap’s seventh annual ShortList Film Festival. (Update: The movie received an Oscar nomination on Tuesday for Best Animated Short Film.)

“Weekends” follows a young boy dividing time between his divorced parents as they begin dating other people (one of them abusive) through evocative dream sequences and solemn moments where the child walks alone through the corridors of his house.

“At first it took place in a single weekend,” said Jimenez, a story artist at Pixar who has worked on some of the Disney-owned studio’s recent hits like “Finding Dory” and “Coco.”

“But then as I started developing the different segments at the mom’s place and the dad’s place and started talking with friends, I expanded out from there, and it turned into a story where he starts out close to the dad, but as circumstances begin to chance, he ends up having a closer relationship with his mom.”

Jimenez worked on “Weekends” — which won the short film audience award at the Annecy Animated Film Festival in 2018 — through the studio’s co-op program, which gives artists and animators time to work on their own projects.

Though the specifics of “Weekends” come from personal inspiration, Jimenez said he’s grateful that it has resonated with so many people who grew up in divorced households.

“A lot of people have told me they really connected with how the boy’s inner thoughts are expressed,” he said. “As a kid, you have an emotional reaction to what’s happening to your parents and a sense of what’s going on, but you don’t have the full grasp of what’s happening as you would if you’re an adult.”