Official poster
Directed byJoe Mateo
Written byJoe Mateo
Produced byHeather Schmidt Feng Yanu
Edited byTim Mertens
Music byJoy Ngiaw
Distributed byApple TV+
Release date
  • October 1, 2021 (2021-10-01)
Running time
10 minutes
CountriesUnited States

Blush is a 2021 animated science fiction short film inspired by a true story from writer and director Joe Mateo, produced by Heather Schmidt Feng Yanu and executive produced by John Lasseter, David Ellison and Dana Goldberg. Developed from Skydance Animation, the short film follows an astronaut falling in love with an alien on a small planet.[1][2] The film was dedicated to the memory of Mary Ann R. Mateo who died from breast cancer. It was released on Apple TV+ on October 1, 2021.


The short film opens up with an unnamed astronaut planting a garden in his spaceship but does not realize that a meteor is on its way to crashing into the spaceship. As a result, his spaceship loses control and crashes on a small deserted rock planet. He removes the plants from his garden and plants them on the planet, but in a matter of hours, the plants wither without air or water. He later witnesses another spaceship crash into the planet, which makes him believe there was someone on the ship. His plant suddenly grows into a large tree, and at the base of it he notices a pinkish female alien with ribbon hair[3] making the tree grow. The alien runs to his ship and removes the other plants from the spaceship to plant them into the planet, making most of it a large garden. While they fall in love at first sight, when the alien removes the astronaut's helmet, he nearly dies from asphyxia except that the alien makes air for him breathe.

Some months later, as the astronaut spends time with her, he teaches her a few things, like eating mangos. As the years go by, the couple develops their relationship and is seen having two daughters who have their parents' traits (the older girl with her mother's hair color but fine strands like her father, and a younger girl with her father's hair color but having her mother's ribbon hair).

The alien later is seen becoming weak, to the point where she can no longer eat and/or walk. As a result, the planet slowly withers and she eventually dies in the astronaut's arms in a sparkling aurora, at which time the astronaut starts to experience asphyxia again. However, he wakes to find his daughters are able to give him air like their mother, causing him to be able to breathe again, and also shares their mother's power to make the planet to also revive in an instant.

During the post-credits scenes, as he is sleeping with his daughters and a pet alien dog under a tree, the astronaut witnesses another (human) spaceship crash into the planet. Curious, he and his daughters go to check out the ship only to discover something that makes him blush.



The idea for the film came from story artist Joe Mateo who lost his wife Mary Ann four and a half years ago to breast cancer. Suffering from a panic attack, his daughters symbolized his air.[4] The film was announced later on as Skydance Animation's first production/project to debut with Apple Studios distributing it, making it the first Skydance film to be from Apple TV+.[5] On October 1, 2021, Skydance Animation released its first short film inspired by a true story from director Joe Mateo called Blush. It was released on Apple TV+ as part of their multi-year deal.


Following the purchase of Ilion Animation Studios from Skydance, animation was provided by Skydance Animation Madrid and was also made in Los Angeles. Production was done remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The score is provided by Chinese-Malaysian film composer Joy Ngiaw who makes her first musical debut into scoring an animation short film.[citation needed]


Critical response

Female First gave it a positive review over the short film and its ending.[6]


Award Date of Ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 17, 2021[7] Original Score — Short Animated Film (Blush) Joy Ngiaw Won
Music + Sound Awards[8] 2022 Joy Ngiaw, Joe Mateo Won
Hollywood Critics Association Film Awards February 28, 2022 Best Short Film Blush Nominated
Annie Awards March 12, 2022 Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Joy Ngiaw Nominated


  1. ^ Hopewell, John (June 19, 2021). "Joe Mateo Bows 'Blush,' the First Short Film from Apple Original Films, Skydance Animation". Variety. Retrieved March 12, 2022.
  2. ^ Wit, Alex Dudok de (September 29, 2021). "Watch The Trailer For Apple TV+'s 'Blush,' The First Film From Skydance Animation". Cartoon Brew.
  3. ^ Desowitz, Bill (4 October 2021). "'Blush': How the Debut Animated Short from Apple and Skydance Found its Own Circle of Life". Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  4. ^ "The Touching, Personal Journey of Joe Mateo's 'Blush'". Animation World Network.
  5. ^ "Apple and Skydance Announce 'Blush' Animated Short". Animation World Network.
  6. ^ "REVIEW: Blush".
  7. ^ "Hollywood Music in Media Awards Honor Billie Eilish, Hans Zimmer, Nicholas Britell, Rufus Wainwright and More". 19 November 2021.
  8. ^ Twitter message