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9 is a computer animated short film by Shane Acker released on July 21, 2005 as a student project. Tim Burton saw the film and was so impressed by its artistic vision that he went on to produce a feature-length adaptation named 9 (2009 Film), directed by Acker and distributed by Focus Features.
9 (2005) is ten minutes, thirty-nine second short film. 9 is a sentient rag doll who appears to be the last of his kind, living in the ruins of a decaying parallel world, and is hunted relentlessly by the Cat Beast, a mechanical monster that has killed five of his rag doll kindred by stealing their souls with a canister-like talisman and wore their skins as clothing. 9 was formerly accompanied by his friend and mentor, the one-eyed 5, with whom he scavenged the ruins of their world in search of tools that would help them survive. However, the Cat Beast attacked 5 and stole his soul with its talisman. 9 had just barely escaped the same fate thanks to a gem that pulsates whenever the creature approaches.
Destroying to destroy the Cat Beast, 9 lures it into an old building where he has prepared a trap for it. 9 briefly subdues the Cat Beast and steals its talisman before being chased through the building. The Cat Beast corners him on a wooden plank elevated high above the floor, but just as it approaches him, 9 leaps to safety and knocks the plank down. The Cat Beast falls to the floor below and is impaled by the falling plank. After setting up a memorial for his kindred, 9 puts his gem and the creature's talisman together to create a larger canister that releases the souls of all the creature's victims, including 5. Before vanishing, 5's spirit turns to 9 and gives him a nod of approval. 9 sets off to parts unknown, leaving the talisman behind.