Ontario Filmmaker Sues Disney over 'Inside Out'

Damon Pourshian claims Pixar's 2015 film was copied from his short of the same name

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jul 16, 2021

Inside Out is both the name of a 2015 animated hit by Pixar and a 2000 short film by a student at Ontario's Sheridan College. That student, Damon Pourshian, has now been given the go-ahead by an Ontario court to sue Disney for alleged copyright infringement.

The National Post points out that, not only are the names of the two films identical, the plots bear a striking resemblance. In Pixar's film, a girl's behaviour is controlled by five personified emotions: Anger, Disgust, Fear, Joy and Sadness. In Pourshian's short, a boy's behaviour is controlled by five personified organs: Bladder, Brain, Colon, Heart and Stomach.

Pourshian alleges that the emotions are based on his film's organs, noting the similarity between Bladder and Sadness, Brain and Fear, Colon and Disgust, Joy and Heart, and Stomach and Anger. According to his filing, the similarities between the films include "minute and specific details — none of which can be the result of coincidence."

Pourshian's film won the People's Choice Award at Sheridan the year it came out, and it was shown at various campus screenings. His claim notes that four former Sheridan students were recruited by Disney and Pixar and worked on Inside Out. He is seeking financial damages, an injunction, and for his name to be included in the credits of Pixar's film.

Pourshian has been pursuing legal action against Disney since 2018. Disney previously argued that Ontario had no jurisdiction of Pixar and Disney — but since Disney does business in Ontario, Pourshian is now being permitted to pursue legal action after all. Disney was ordered to pay him $25,000 in legal costs over this decision.

This isn't the first Sheridan College-related Pixar news this week. The studio's new Toronto-set film, Turning Red, is directed by Sheridan grad Domee Shi.

Watch Pourshian's Inside Out below.

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