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Coco nominated for two Golden Globe awards

Awards, Coco, Golden Globes, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • December 11, 2017

The award nominations are still streaming in for Pixar’s latest movie Coco. It’s already dominating the Annies Awards with an impressive 13 nominations, and now it’s been nominated for two awards at the 2018 Golden Globes – ‘Best Animated Feature Film’ and ‘Best Original Song’ for ‘Remember Me’. See below for the full list of nominees in these categories:

Best animated feature film
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Best original song
“Home,” “Ferdinand
“Mighty River,” “Mudbound
“Remember Me,” “Coco
“The Star,” “The Star
“This Is Me,” “The Greatest Showman

We won’t have to wait long to find out whether Coco and ‘Remember Me’ will be the winners of their categories – the 75th Golden Globe Awards ceremony will be held on January 7th, 2018, at 5pm PST.

It’s been amazing seeing how Coco has affected the world in the short time since its release. 13 Annies Awards nominations, 2 Golden Globe nominations, thousands of overwhelmingly positive and touching reviews – and it’s not even out worldwide yet! In the US, it has topped the weekend box office for 3 weeks in a row, something that only 3 other Pixar movies has achieved (Toy Story and Toy Story 2 topped the box office 2 weeks in a row, and Finding Dory topped it an impressive 4 weeks in a row). And this is only the beginning of Coco‘s journey to inevitably becoming a beloved classic.

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Coco’s success continues with 13 Annie Awards nominations

Annie Awards, Cars 3, Coco

Posted by Joanna • December 4, 2017

In the short time since Coco‘s release, it’s already made a huge impact on the world, earning significant praise from fans and critics alike. It’s hardly surprising, but incredibly gratifying, that Coco has come out on top with the 45th annual Annie Awards nominations.

Coco received an impressive 13 nominations, including Best Animated Feature and Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production. It even picked up a nomination for voice acting after Anthony Gonzalez’ spectacular performance as the protagonist Miguel, making him the youngest nominee in this section!

Cars 3 also received 2 nominations – one for Best Animated Feature, and one for Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production.

The Annie Awards is an annual event recognising achievements in the animation industry. The winners will be announced in their awards show on February 3rd, 2018. Congratulations to all the hard-working and dedicated staff that have worked on all of the nominated works!

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Bringing the music of Coco to life

Adrian Molina, Coco, Michael Giacchino, music

Posted by Simoa • November 29, 2017

Coco has won over audiences with its vivid portrayal of familial love. As much as it celebrates family, it is also a celebration of music.

Music is intimately woven into Coco, more than it is in any other Pixar film. This is only to be expected since its hero Miguel is an aspiring musician, but Coco‘s music is also influenced by Mexico which further sets it apart from other Pixar features. The filmmakers were committed to telling a story that eschewed stereotypes, one that painted an authentic and multifaceted portrait of Mexican people. The music would need these qualities as well. To achieve musical authenticity, songwriter Germaine Franco and consultant Camilo Lara were recruited to the team.

During the film’s press day in August, we were treated to a firsthand listen, learning about the myriad ways music blended into the film. And that musical presence springs directly from Miguel’s secret dream.

Federico Ramos, Michael Giacchino, Germaine Franco, Camilo Lara and Adrian Molina present at “Coco” Long Lead Press Day, which included a filmmaker roundtable, presentations about the music, story, characters and set designs of the film, on August 4, 2017 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Marc Flores / Pixar)

There are three types of music to be heard in Coco. The source music was very important, as it pulled from Mexico’s broad tapestry of traditional music. Mariachi is one example that figures prominently within the film.

Original songs inspired by Mexican music were written by co-director Adrian Molina, along with Franco, Bobby Lopez, and Kristen-Anderson Lopez. “Remember Me,” Ernesto de la Cruz’s most famous song, is a show stopping spectacle that recalls the glamour of Mexico’s Golden Age of cinema. Franco also noted that the song continuously reinforces the film’s theme of remembering our loved ones. The energetic “Un Poco Loco” with lyrics by Molina has a middle section which includes instrumentals only. This is one of the ways in which Lara’s purpose to create music that smells like Mexico was achieved.

Then of course is the score which encompasses character themes, as well as conflict and setting.

Federico Ramos, Michael Giacchino, Germaine Franco, Camilo Lara and Adrian Molina present at “Coco” Long Lead Press Day, which included a filmmaker roundtable, presentations about the music, story, characters and set designs of the film, on August 4, 2017 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Marc Flores / Pixar)

 

Michael Giacchino is one of Pixar’s most cherished collaborators. Coco marks his sixth film in this partnership. He detailed his process in composing the score, which began after he watched the film. It was a very emotional experience, not least because it brought him back to his childhood. Giacchino grew up listening to Mexican music, which he described as very melodic. Incorporating that sound into the score was a priority.

Giacchino is Italian, but the idea of family is so incredibly strong that he connected to the story, and the same is true for non Mexicans who have embraced Coco.

Authenticity is key in Coco, right down to the smallest details. The way Miguel strums the guitar had to be accurate. Pixar’s animators were praised as well for their attention to detail and making the guitar playing correct. The gorgeously designed guitar appears below.

The guitar at “Coco” Long Lead Press Day, which included a filmmaker roundtable, presentations about the music, story, characters and set designs of the film, on August 3, 2017 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

And it was this guitar that Federico Ramos (pictured above) played! As Giacchino said, the guitar was the only way to play the music of the film.

To learn more about the songwriting and scoring process, watch the featurette below. You can also catch a glimpse of the many musicians whom Franco praised for adding their own artistry and spirit to the music.

Though Coco details death and the afterlife, it’s a lively film and the music lives and breathes too.

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Review: Coco is a vibrant celebration of family, music, and Mexico

Adrian Molina, Coco, Lee Unkrich, Review

Posted by Simoa • November 22, 2017

 

Coco is the #1 movie in Mexico of all time. Besides setting unprecedented box office records, it’s also become one of the country’s most beloved films. Following the film’s premiere at the Morelia International Film Festival at the end of October and its general Mexican release on November 2nd, many expressed enormous gratitude to directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina for what they achieved. Coco was always going to be important. It’s Pixar’s first feature length film with a nonwhite protagonist, the first to portray a non-American/nonwhite culture, and is described as a love letter to Mexico. Naturally, Unkrich and his team were responsible for telling this story in the most faithful and positive way possible. He took that responsibility seriously, noting that he didn’t want the film to feel as if it was made by an outsider. Molina and the rest of the crew’s Mexican backgrounds certainly helped a great deal in that regard.

Here’s what Alex Nogales of the National Hispanic Media Coalition had to say about it:

Coco is the best film ever produced that truly represents our Latino values, our culture, and love of song, dance, and family. You will laugh, you will cry, and applaud loudly on seeing this wonderful film where Latinos play important roles both in front of and back of camera. See it and lets make this great film a success so that studios produce more Latino themed films and television shows.”

Steeped in the rich traditions and customs of Mexico’s Dia de Los Muertos holiday, the heart of Coco beats with tremendous love and life.

12 year old Miguel Rivera (a stellar Anthony Gonzalez in his film debut) is convinced that his family is the only one in Mexico that hates music. And he’s right. It’s inconceivable, but the Riveras believe music is a curse, ever since Miguel’s great-great grandfather walked out on his wife and daughter to pursue a music career. For generations, no Rivera has ever listened to or played music — until Miguel that is. A self taught guitarist, he dreams of being like his legendary idol Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), Mexico’s most famous and beloved singing star. But of course, he’s kept this passion a secret from his family, especially his grandmother, Abuelita (Renee Victor). As the Rivera family’s loving but formidable matriarch, Abuelita is the primary enforcer of the music ban. Miguel and no one else would dare cross her.

It was Miguel’s great-great grandmother Mama Imelda (Alanna Ubach), furious over her husband’s desertion, who banned music from the Rivera household. To support herself and her daughter, Coco, she made shoes. And she passed this skill down to Coco, who in turn passed it down, until everyone in the Rivera line joined the family business. It’s clear very early on that Miguel is never going to be a shoemaker. He is finally emboldened to seize his moment (de la Cruz’s mantra) and reveal his ambition to his family, who are shocked and upset that he’s disobeyed them. But he is desperate to prove himself a real musician like his idol and perform in a talent show that’s being held on Dia de Los Muertos.

Miguel not only seizes his moment but de la Cruz’s guitar as well, on display in his mausoleum. After joyfully strumming the guitar, Miguel becomes invisible to the living, emitting a rosy orange glow, only visible to his companion, the street dog Dante, and the dead. Because it’s Dia de Los Muertos, spirits have all converged on the cemetery to reunite with their living loved ones. It’s here that he meets his family, the dead Riveras. This is not a fuzzy family reunion however. Though Miguel is awed to be in their presence, they quickly conclude that his sudden appearance to them is the reason Mama Imelda is unable to cross over to the Land of the Living; not a good thing.

Now the adventure begins, as Miguel journeys to the Land of the Dead, and learns the truth of his family history and ancestry.

This world is easily one of Pixar’s most staggering in scope and beauty. The shimmering marigold bridge that connects the two lands, the skull imagery on buildings, Ernesto de la Cruz’s grand palace and the sheer amount of vivid colors practically defy description. Color sings in the Land of the Dead, best represented in the alebrijes, animal spirit guides with bold, deep hues of red, orange, green and other dazzling colors and patterns. The most glorious of the spirit guides is Mama Imelda’s Pepita, a large and powerful winged cat who is sure to take your breath away the moment she appears onscreen.

Coco is brimming with a cast of fully realized characters, alive and not, human and not. Miguel is such a wonderful addition to Pixar’s heroes; passionate, brave, and soft hearted. The skeletons are impressive because they are animated with the same expressiveness as their living counterparts, and actually seem like real people who once lived.

One of the skeletons that Miguel befriends on his journey is the amiable and mischievous Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), who’s fallen on hard times and is desperate to visit the Land of the Living. The two strike up a bargain: Hector helps Miguel meet de la Cruz, and Miguel helps him cross over. The one factor complicating things is Miguel’s limited time: if he doesn’t receive a family member’s blessing by sunrise at the end of Dia de Los Muertos, he’ll become a skeleton himself and will not be able to return home.

And now, the music! Music is embedded into this story. Although Coco is not a traditional musical, the characters do sing, and memorable tunes penned by the songwriting team of Robert Lopez and Kristen-Anderson Lopez, along with co-director Molina, make this film a compelling ode to music. “Un Poco Loco,” “My Proud Corazon,” and particularly the reworking of de la Cruz’s signature “Remember Me,” sung by Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade during the end credits, are standouts. Michael Giacchino’s ethereal score is yet another to join some of his most distinct Pixar work. The score is also infused with traditional Mexican music and instrumentals. A mariachi band even plays over the Disney castle and logo at the film’s beginning.

Aside from the music and spectacular visuals, Coco‘s most striking element is its theme of cherishing our families both living and dead. Make no mistake that this film speaks (or sings) to all of us with families, all of us who have lost someone dear, and those of us who need to learn more about the people we come from, long gone and maybe even forgotten, or sadly unknown. I am reminded of something Edward James Olmos, the voice of Hector’s friend Chicharron, recently said about the film and its themes:

“People who see this movie are going to come out really moved, especially when you haven’t thought about your parents or you haven’t thought about your loved ones. You haven’t really gotten into your own family, and you been too busy living your life that you haven’t gone back to even say, ‘Thank you.’ You haven’t been even to the cemetery where they’re buried now for 30 years or 20 years or however long they’ve been away from you.”

Olmos is right. I left the theater feeling immensely moved, thinking especially of two recently departed loved ones. I wondered about those who died before I was born or before I could really know them. And I was reminded about how important it is for me to love and appreciate the family I have with me now.

I am profoundly grateful to Coco for its impact on me, and that it has become a source of pride for Mexican people. Imagine the children who will see themselves reflected in Miguel and know that they can be the heroes of their own stories, and feel proud in their brown skin. For Pixar to celebrate Mexican identities is a very beautiful thing, and I hope this means more of the same with other underrepresented communities in the future. Click here to read reviews of the film from Latino perspectives.

Coco is now playing in theaters nationwideLet it into your hearts and share it with your families this weekend.

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New Coco clip reveals a familiar easter egg!

Coco, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • November 8, 2017

An exclusive scene from Coco was just posted by USA TODAY Life, and it once again centres around our protagonist, Miguel, and his relationship with his family and music. Miguel isn’t like the rest of his family – music runs through his veins and his family’s hatred for it isn’t going to get in his way.

Despite only being around a minute long, this clip does an amazing job at establishing some main characters, transporting us to the colourful streets of Mexico, and introducing a central plot detail – Miguel’s undying love for music. They even managed to throw an easter egg in there (in the form of a very familiar fast food delivery vehicle…) – can you spot it?

Coco releases in US theatres on November 22nd. The wait is almost over!

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A daring (almost) escape

Coco

Posted by Simoa • November 7, 2017

All of the Coco footage and teasers we’ve seen have focused on protagonist Miguel, but today the spotlight falls on Hector, whom the young boy befriends when he’s transported to the Land of the Dead. In this newest clip, we also learn about the rules that govern the Land of the Dead. Hector attempts to leave by crossing the marigold bridge that links the two worlds, but he’s thwarted by the shining petals, becoming submerged in them before he’s taken away by two customs officials. If you’re no longer remembered by the living, you can’t cross over into their world on Dia de Los Muertos. The clip also features a stunning bit of animation, as Hector’s top half separates from his bottom – in midair! Watch it below.

Coco opens on November 22nd.

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Miguel shines in Coco’s final trailer

Coco, Pixar, Trailer

Posted by Joanna • November 6, 2017

Coming to US theatres in just over two weeks, the final trailer for Pixar’s Coco was released today, and it highlighted how strong a protagonist Miguel is going to be. You can watch the trailer here:

It is perhaps the most exciting Coco trailer yet, and we’re treated to new footage, mainly centred around our hero Miguel. Pixar have an impressive history of incredibly lovable and relatable protagonists, and it looks like Miguel is going to be no different. The trailer showcases the voice acting skills of 12 year old Anthony Gonzalez who has really brought Miguel’s character to life. The scenes where he is interacting with his family members, particularly with Mama Coco, are especially touching.

Coco is going to be a film full of heart, highlighting the importance of family, no doubt with Pixar’s usual clever spin on things. The trailer ends with a very fitting quote from Miguel:

“We may have our differences, but nothing is more important than family.”

On November 22nd, the wait for Pixar fans in the US will finally be over! Those in the UK will have to wait a little longer (January 19th), but if the trailers are anything to go by, the wait is definitely going to be worth it.

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Review: The Art of Coco

Adrian Molina, Art, Art Of:, Coco, Lee Unkrich

Posted by Simoa • October 28, 2017

When I visited Pixar in August, there was dozens of Coco artwork lining the walls that I wanted to hang up on my own walls at home. The art and animation presentations also featured bold and visually striking pieces that I could have ogled for hours. Now that the art book has been released, we can all get our fill of the film’s mesmerizing art. But you should wait until after the film is released to read the whole thing!

Released by Chronicle Books on October 10th, The Art of Coco, with a foreword by John Lasseter and introductions by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, will indeed be a treasured addition to any collection. Pixar films routinely deal with death, but Coco will transport audiences to a world where death is linked to life. However, this is not a story about mourning. Unkrich and his team took so much care to authentically portray Mexico’s Dia de Los Muertos holiday, which is both a remembrance of departed loved ones and a celebration of life.

The Art of Coco is yet another celebration of Mexico, its people, and its culture.

Numerous pieces of concept art, sketches, and clay models are included, as well as storyboards and the breathtaking color scripts. Color is what makes The Art of Coco so appealing; it’s saturated with it. Deep, vivid hues of red, orange, and yellow fill the book, as well as warm tones and color palettes. All of this, combined with lush digital paintings, make the artwork come alive on the page. Now imagine seeing it all in motion on the big screen.

Sharon Calahan, digital

Along with the dazzling artwork are photographs taken during the research trips to Mexico. The crew members snapped photos of the people they met, as well as the gorgeous scenery and Dia de Los Muertos celebrations.

Art of books function as learning tools for animated films and this one is no different. The artists detail their processes from character design to lighting to storyboards. These insights help animation fans broaden their knowledge and their appreciation. The amount of meticulous and precise details just can’t be overstated, especially with a film like Coco. The sheer breadth of the land of the dead alone is astounding.

Tom Gately, china marker/pencil/digital

But it’s not only the artists who have a space in The Art of Coco. Because the film is centered on Dia de Los Muertos, the cultural consultants who were hired provide more background on certain customs and traditions. Their expertise was not only an asset for the film’s accuracy and respect; it informed the story as well.

Zaruhi Galstyan, digital

Much of the crew aiding Lee Unkrich on his vision are Mexican, including co-director Adrian Molina, who shares a songwriting and screenplay credit. Molina and the other artists, like character art director Daniel Arriaga, sketch artist Ana Ramirez and character modeling artist Alonso Martinez, drew from their own experiences, family, and heritage to shape Miguel’s journey. One of the many joys in poring over this book was reading about their pride at being involved and sharing a bit of themselves. It’s evident, as Lee Unkrich writes in the introduction, that this is both a personal and a universal film.

The Art of Coco is overflowing with stunning imagery and is an excellent companion to the film.

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Coco releases in Mexico and it feels like the world is already a better place

Coco, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • October 27, 2017

Coco released in Mexican theatres today, and floods of compliments, congratulations, and thank yous have been filling up the Twitter feeds of directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina. It must be an incredibly exciting time for Pixar’s Coco crew to see their 6 years of hard work really paying off and affecting people so deeply and positively.

Adrian Molina tweeted a sketch of Miguel and Mama Coco to celebrate Coco’s Mexican release.

Here are just a small number of the many touching comments that have been retweeted by the directors:

“It’s the best movie I’ve ever seen. It is absolutely magnificent. Thank you”

“Coco had me laughing, singing and crying. Thank you & Pixar for making such a beautiful movie based on my culture.”

“Thank you thank you thank you so much!!I just saw coco and I can’t stop crying! You represented Mexico in a beautiful way! I LOVED IT!”

These in addition to the tweets that simply say ‘thank you’ or ‘congratulations’ are so, so heartwarming. I can’t imagine how immensely proud, relieved and grateful the crew are feeling right now. It will be a while before I get to see the movie for myself, but its release in Mexico has already made the world feel brighter and warmer.

Coco releases in US theatres on the 22nd of November – just under a month away! Let’s hope these positive reviews just keep on coming.

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Coco’s Morelia Film Festival Premiere

Adrian Molina, Coco, Lee Unkrich

Posted by Simoa • October 22, 2017

Today, Coco is now officially one month away from release! However, the film had its grand debut at the Morelia International Film Festival this past Friday. As we previously reported back in July, Morelia was most deserving to hold the premiere, as Coco is a love letter to Mexico. The film will premiere to the rest of Mexico on October 27th.

We compiled some of the mini reviews of the film in last week’s round up post following the wrap party. Now the latest reviews are in post Morelia, praising the film’s strengths and thoughtfully examining the shortcomings. We strongly recommend reading these first reviews, as they provide ample reason to anticipate Coco even more. Highlights are included below. While there aren’t any major spoilers, we’d advise not reading Variety’s review if you’d rather be surprised when the film opens next month.

Variety:

“In an era when young people are so easily seduced by celebrity, “Coco” reveals the emptiness of such adulation, poignantly teaching kids to preserve and respect the memory of their elders while reminding them that the source of true creativity is so often personal.”

The Hollywood Reporter:

“Delivering a universal message about family bonds while adhering to folkloric traditions free of the watering down or whitewashing that have often typified Americanized appropriations of cultural heritage, the gorgeous production also boasts vibrant visuals and a peerless voice cast populated almost entirely by Mexican and Latino actors.”

The Wrap:

“Visually, “Coco” is a swirling, vibrantly hued artistic achievement. It’s everything from a sepia-tinted memory book come to heart-tugging life to a pulsating multi-tinted mural. The stellar design team and animators find room for both the sun-kissed verisimilitude of a homey pueblo, and the razzle-dazzle of elaborately designed folk-art animals called alebrijasthat become flying, hot-colored spirit creatures in the Land of the Dead.”

Vanity Fair was also effusive in its praise, drawing a connection to real life politics with director Lee Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina offering their own thoughts. Gael García Bernal, who voices Miguel’s guide, Hector, spoke of his pride in co-starring:

“I’m excited to show this very special film and to tell the world about the Mexican culture and our traditions. It’s incredible and an important moment. There’s a lot of emotion, and it’s beautiful that the film truthfully tells the story of life and death and the identities of being a Mexican in a positive and human way.”

As reported by Variety, Coco was met with a strong emotional response. Lee Unkrich spoke of the tearful gratitude the film elicited from the Mexican audience at Morelia, noting “That was the biggest thing: people were just so proud, they expressed to us that we had gotten it right, that we had made a respectful, accurate job.” Filmmaker Carlos Cauron, also in attendance with his brother Alfonso, expressed his hope that Coco would be a worldwide box office success.

Read more about the Morelia Festival here, which takes place in a city renowned for its Day of the Dead celebrations.

We’re more than heartened to hear that this first audience has embraced Coco so enthusiastically and that the film is a source of pride. We hope you’ll join us in eagerly awaiting the film on Thanksgiving!

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