Made during their spare time at Pixar over the course of five years, animators Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj's "Borrowed Time," a tragic but poignant six-minute short, was just released to the public, and it is a heartbreaking piece that is decidedly for mature audiences only. "The goal for us was to create something that contested the notion of animation being a genre for children specifically," says Hamou-Lhadj in a making-of featurette that you can watch below. "[We wanted] to show that animation could be used as a medium to tell any sort of story."

The short film uses the iconography and landscape of the American West to tell the story of an aging sheriff returning to the scene of a violent and tragic moment in his childhood. Things get gruesome pretty fast, and as Coats, the piece's director, says, "There's expectations still of what animation is... [at festivals] the responses vary... And that's great because it means we're challenging people's expectations."

The film has already racked up about 50 festival prizes, and seems like a shoe-in for an Oscar nomination. It's only available for viewing via Vimeo for a limited time.

"Why We Made Borrowed Time" Featurette from Borrowed Time on Vimeo.

[h/t: SFGate]