Through Pixar's Co-op program, animators Lou Hamou-Lhadj and Andrew Coats spent bits of spare time over the course of 5 years to create a six minute short telling the tale of an aged and depressed old-western sheriff.
Hamou-Lhadj from the making-of featurette:
A goal for us was to make something that kind of contested the notion of animation being a genre, and one for children specifically. We really wanted to make something that was a little bit more adult in the thematic choices, and show that animation could be a medium to tell any sort of story.
Although Pixar certainly doesn't shy from difficult themes of growing up, never before has a feature by their team reached such graphic proportions. Borrowed Time isn't a Pixar story, but it shares the level of animated excellence to compare to the best of them.
Coats to Cartoon Brew:
There were a lot of technical hurdles. There’s a team of people who are usually on one of our movies that we really didn’t have available to help on our team. So we had to build everything.
Of course through the Co-op program, they had access to the same resources they would have for a Pixar feature film: Something many independent animators would give plenty to have. I think it's wonderful that Pixar is so open to allow for more mature stories to be told and tied so closet with their kid-friendly reputation.