Paperman (stylized as paperman) is a 2012 black-and-white 3D hand-drawn/computer animated romantic comedy short film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and directed by John Kahrs. The short blends traditional animation and computer animation. The short won both an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 85th Academy Awards, and the Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject at the 40th Annie Awards. Paperman was the first animated short film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios to win an Academy Award since It’s Tough to Be a Bird in 1970.
Directed by John Kahrs
Produced by Kristina Reed
Story by Clio Chiang & Kendelle Hoyer
Voices by John Kahrs & Kari Wahlgren
Music by Christophe Beck
Animation by Patrick Osborne (animation supervisor)
Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios – Walt Disney Pictures
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date(s) November 2, 2012 (with Wreck-It Ralph)
Running time: 7 minutes
Country: United States
A young accountant named George is standing on an elevated train platform in 1940s New York City, holding a folder, when he is hit by a flying piece of paper. The paper is chased by a young woman named Meg who lost it to a gust of wind from a passing train. The same thing happens to the man when a subsequent gust of wind from another incoming train dislodges one of the papers from his folder and blows it onto the woman’s face. This leaves a red lipstick mark on the paper, much to the woman’s amusement when he retrieves it. The man is entranced by the lipstick mark and the woman’s beauty, and therefore misses her boarding the departing train. The two exchange looks as she departs.
The man arrives at work, despondent, gazing at the lipstick-marked paper on his desk. He looks out the window and is surprised to find the woman in the building across the street, sitting in an office with an open window. After failing to get her attention by waving his arms, the man begins folding airplanes from a stack of papers on his desk, throwing them out the window one by one in an attempt to get her to notice him. Unfortunately, his efforts are met with varying levels of failure, as well as disparaging looks from his boss. In desperation, having used all of the paper on his desk to no success, he uses the lipstick-marked paper, although this fails as well when a gust of wind tugs it from his hands. The woman then leaves the office, and the man, rebuffing his boss, dashes from his desk. Rushing across a street of busy traffic, he fails to see which way she went, and only finds the final lipstick-marked paper airplane. Angered, he throws it hard and it soars into the sky.
It turns out many of the paper airplanes have collected in a nearby alley, and when the lipstick-marked paper airplane lands among them, they begin to stir and fly from the ground, seeming to come alive, and set off in pursuit of the man. A cloud of paper airplanes forces the man toward a nearby train station and onto a train, much to his confusion. Meanwhile, the lipstick-marked paper airplane sets off in pursuit of the woman, finding her at a flower stand. Recognizing the lipstick-marked paper, the woman chases the airplane to another train station and aboard a different train. The man and woman are finally brought together when both of their trains stop at the same station. They meet on the platform, the man covered in paper airplanes and the woman holding the lipstick-marked paper airplane. As the credits roll, they are seen chatting happily with each other at a restaurant table with the lipstick marked paper between them.