Give us this day our daily trailer! Sundance Success Stories week continues with... a cartoon? Yup, a cartoon.
Seriously. The Brave Little Toaster played at the 1988 Sundance Film Festival, where it lost to a film called Heat and Sunlight. The Brave Little Toaster director Jerry Rees has said that jury members told him his movie was the best in competition, but the still-young fest couldn't afford to award a cartoon.
The Brave Little Toaster is a pretty tough kid movie - one of those that, for people of a certain age, represents a real emotional trauma. But it's also the precursor to Toy Story; John Lasseter was pitching an adaptation of the Thomas Disch book for Disney , but he went outside of the usual channels to get the project going. When the film was canceled, he was fired. He went on to work at Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Group, which would become Pixar.
The Brave Little Toaster was made independently and premiered at the Los Angeles International Animation Celebration. It then played Sundance, and aired on the Disney Channel before getting a super-limited theatrical release. The film was finally put on home video in 1991, where it began to gain a reputation as a well-made, pretty dark kid's film. Imagine what could have happened if the Sundance jurors had the balls to vote with their beliefs!