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Pixar has just announced a new movie!

Pete Docter

Posted by Simoa • June 19, 2019

A single tweet. That’s all. Just one tweet about a brand new, never before heard or hinted Pixar film which debuts in theaters exactly one year from today, on June 19th, 2020.

We are getting two Pixar films next year! Both one word titles that involve mystical journeys, although Soul has a more philosophical bent than Onward‘s fantasy adventure. Oh man. It’s so cryptic! Just a simple logo with the lofty goal of answering life’s most important questions. Which are not simple! Here is one question I have: who is the heroine of this story? Please tell me Soul has a female lead.

A longer description from The Wrap:

Ever wonder where your passion, your dreams and your interests come from? What is it that makes you… YOU? In 2020, Pixar Animation Studios takes you on a journey from the streets of New York City to the cosmic realms to discover the answers to life’s most important questions.

And guess what? Pete Docter is directing! His first film as Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer and his first since Inside Out, which coincidentally turns four today! The similarities to the former film are undeniable. First we were in the mind, now we are venturing to the soul.

There does seem to be another connection to Onward. While that film takes our elven heroes out of a suburb, Soul will leave the streets of New York city. Existential pondering leading us out of the places we know  that can sometimes be a bit stifling into the unknown. At least that’s my take on it.

Let us know what you think! We will update this post with any more details and will be doing lots of Soul searching in the coming year!

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Domee Shi: Pixar’s Newest Source of Creative Power

Bao, Domee Shi, Pete Docter, Shorts

Posted by Joanna • November 29, 2018

It was recently revealed that Domee Shi will be directing a feature length film for Pixar Studios.

Domee Shi, best known for directing Pixar’s newest short “Bao”, has been fuelling the studio’s movies with fun and creativity for a number of years now. She started out as an intern, contributed to Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, and Incredibles 2 as a storyboard artist, then had her directorial debut as the first female director of a Pixar short, which received an overwhelmingly positive response for several reasons. Firstly, “Bao” is wonderful. It beautifully represents Domee Shi’s Chinese-Canadian background while still depicting a very universal message. It’s also a sign of a great leap forward for Pixar and the animation industry as a whole to not only see a female director, but a female director who is actively bringing more diversity onto our screens, and in such a heartfelt and personal way.

(Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Shi was recently interviewed by Deadline, and the interview as a whole really fills you with confidence about Pixar’s future. There are some very important and exciting things to be taken away from this chat with Shi, the most obvious one being that Shi is working on a new feature length film for the studio! This is huge. Only one Pixar film has been directed by a woman (Brenda Chapman for Brave), and she was replaced by Mark Andrews midway through the film’s development.

 “We’re just developing the story for it right now,” Shi says. “It’s super early on, but I’m really excited to play in this new 90-minute film format.”

Shi originally had to pitch three different ideas for a Pixar short, so it’s clear that she has plenty of imagination to offer. Shorts are often more experimental in their stories, concepts, and character designs, but here’s hoping that Shi’s experience as a short director stands her in good stead for creating a unique feature film for us to look forward to.

Completely charming concept art for “Bao” by Domee Shi

It’s also incredibly encouraging to hear how Domee Shi feels about Pete Docter’s new role in the company, and how she’s excited about the studio’s future. Pete Docter was officially named as Chief Creative Officer for Pixar Animation Studios this June, and this was pretty much unanimously met with enthusiasm – Docter’s films (Monsters Inc., Up, Inside Out) are seen as many as some of ‘Pixar’s best’. It’s comforting to hear that within the company he is viewed as a good mentor, a “humble and down to earth” man, and someone who values creativity and diversity.

We’ll leave you with these particularly heartwarming quotes, but the full interview is definitely a worthy read.

“I think [Pete Docter]’s always been a huge supporter of unique voices at the studio. You can tell he’s really curious and interested in different types of stories, different types of characters—and he always wants to try new things.

 

“I feel like Bao was a pretty huge example, for me, that Pixar is fully behind supporting diverse storytellers. I think Sanjay’s Super Team and Coco were the two other films at Pixar that really helped pave the way for Bao to be made, and because those two productions were done before Bao, it gave me confidence, knowing that Bao isn’t just going to be a trend, or a blip.”

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Lasseter Out, Docter In – Pete Docter Named As Pixar’s New Chief Creative Officer

Pete Docter

Posted by Joanna • June 19, 2018

It’s official – Pete Docter has been named as the new Chief Creative Officer for Pixar Animation Studios.

John Lasseter announced he was taking a six month leave of absence at the end of last year, following sexual misconduct allegations. He has since stepped down from his role as Chief Creaitve Officer, and will leave the studio at the end of this year.

The news that Lasseter was leaving Pixar was largely met with relief, but also concern about who Pixar would choose to fill the position. Pete Docter has been up there with the most likely contenders ever since the disappointing news first broke out last November. The director of Monsters Inc, Up, and Inside Out, Docter has been with the studio for 28 years and we feel that the future of the company couldn’t be in better hands. Read his official statement below:

“I started here 28 years ago. I am fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented people on the planet, and together we will keep pushing animation in new directions, using the latest technology to tell stories we hope will surprise and delight audiences around the world.”

© Deborah Coleman, Pixar

Jennifer Lee has also been named as the Chief Creative Officer for Disney Animation Studios. Lee and Docter will jointly take on Lasseter’s old role.

Whenever a new Pete Docter-directed Pixar movie is announced, a huge amount of excitement always follows. The fact that Docter has now been named chief creative officer for Pixar Studios conjures up this same feeling of excitement for the company’s future – let’s hope Pixar’s story from here on out is as positive and uplifting as Docter’s beautifully woven stories that we’ve been introduced to throughout his career.

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In Depth: Why These Female Pixar Characters Mean So Much To Me

30 Years of Pixar, A Bug's Life, Brad Bird, Brave, Brenda Chapman, Cars 3, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, Pete Docter, Pixar Heroines, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Nia • October 20, 2017

It’s been over two weeks since the New York Times article on Harvey Weinstein was published and the dam finally burst in Hollywood. It seems almost unbearable to comprehend all the allegations that are still stacking up against Weinstein, not to mention the plethora of other men in the industry and beyond. The “me too” movement on social media has also shown a disturbing amount of women who have been sexually harassed and assaulted by co-workers, friends, and family members.

This past week I’ve found it hard to focus and carry on with my life, job, and day-to-day activities.  It’s empowering seeing women come together, but also distressing to learn how it’s happened to us all, one way or another.

I needed inspiration and I needed something to lift my spirits up so I turned to what I know best to help me in troubled times: Pixar films.

Over the years not only has Pixar produced some of the greatest animated films of all time, but they’ve also created some of the strongest and most relatable female characters in the business. I was going to try and talk about all of them, but then realized how long the post would be (actually this would make a wonderful book some day). Instead, I decided to pick my three most important female characters and share why they mean so much to me both as a woman, and as a professional working in the animation industry.

Merida

Brave came out at a perfect time in my life, I was a sophomore in college and I was struggling with trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I was feeling the pressure of comparing myself to other people my age; be it with work, relationships, and even school.  I was even feeling pressure from certain family members about my love life and if I was going to be getting married anytime soon (this is a true story for any Greek woman).

Then Merida arrived, with her ridiculous hair goals, amazing horse-riding skills, and sassiness I wish I had when I was a teenager.

Merida broke the mold when it came to princesses – she had her own goals and her own motivations that she wanted to achieve in life, even if it went completely against what her family has wanted for generations. She didn’t care what her family thought and she was ready to fight against her mom if it meant being able to do what SHE wanted to do in life. Maybe she didn’t really have any dreams or goals at the moment, and that was OK – as long as she wasn’t stuck being a princess and fitting the mold, then she was content. That was Merida’s life, and she wanted to pursue those dreams of being free and exploring the countryside with her horse.

I also really appreciated how independent she was and how she didn’t need romance in her life to be successful. She was content with being alone, even if that meant being isolated from her own family or off in the forest basking in her solitude, that didn’t matter to her; she didn’t need a man in her life to tell her what to do or to be content.

I was the biggest tomboy growing up, I got dirty rolling around and play fighting and spent most afternoons playing sports with the other kids. But I still liked to dress up and get pretty; that didn’t mean I had to do it all the time. I really appreciated how Merida didn’t always need to be pretty or dainty or wear fancy dresses and spend her time curtsying to all the men; she wanted to roll around in the mud, dance in the rain, ride on horseback, climb mountains, and shoot arrows. I loved that adventurous side of her and I loved that she didn’t let anyone tame her.

I wish I had Merida to look up to when I was that young tomboy.

 Cruz Ramirez

It’s a shame Pixar wasn’t able to create a character like Cruz until now. She is one of the better things to come from this summer’s Cars 3 release and she might actually be one of my all-time favorite characters now.

Like Merida, I wish I had someone like Cruz to look up to when I was growing up and dreaming about coming to work in the animation industry in Los Angeles.

What I love the most about Cruz is that she showed me it doesn’t matter where you were born or who your family is, if you set your mind to what you want to achieve in life then you can fulfill your dreams.

People might keep telling you no, no, no; and you might continue to get rejection letter after rejection letter, but you have to keep going, to keep pushing forwards; hearing no or getting a rejection letter does not mean you’ve failed, but giving up does. It’s okay to have doubts, to feel bad about yourself, but you can still carry on and push forwards.

I also really loved the signal she sent to boys and girls alike, how it’s OK to be a girl and be really interested in boy things (like racing cars) or vice versa. In a typical male dominated world, it’s important to show young children that you can do whatever you want; it doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl.

Cruz is the type of female character we need in film and TV now – a woman who stands up for herself, who goes against the norm, and who never gives up her dreams when obstacles are in the way.

Helen Parr AKA Elastigirl 

Helen is important to me, not only because I’ve always dreamed of being a superhero and kicking all sorts of butt, but because she’s a wonderful mother and person to look up to.

At the start of The Incredibles she’s living a pretty normal life, only having to deal with the typical mom duties that come with any parent. But soon it’s clear that Helen can balance both the mom and superhero life when she’s forced to follow and rescue her husband, Bob Parr AKA Mr. Incredible, when he’s off trying to deal with his midlife crisis.

It turns out that Helen actually saves her husband, brings her family closer together, and in turn, is a huge part in actually saving the world from the supervillain Syndrome. Where would we be without her? I’m really excited for The Incredibles 2 and having some more focus on Helen; which is a good sign that Pixar is definitely moving in the right direction regarding female characters.

One of my favorite things about Helen is that she doesn’t take crap from anyone, not her husband, children, or even Edna. She wasn’t about to sit around and wait for her husband to come home, making up different stories in her head as to why he’s been acting so strange lately. She was also not afraid to go against the societal norms at the time and take things into her own hands – she had every right to know what her husband was doing and to go and find him.

Helen is the type of woman and mom I aspire to be one day, with her, anything is possible. She gives me the confidence that I can balance both my work and home life completely if I chose to go down that path.  I work in the animation industry and have hopes of gaining as much experience as I can and moving on to different studios and jobs in the future. Thanks to Helen, I know that I don’t need to wait around for anyone to make the right decisions for me, and it’s possible to have a family and a career at the same time and be happy.

Each female Pixar character has taught me something different about myself throughout the years. What I love most about Pixar films, and the female characters they create, is that they provide a plethora of diverse characters from all ranges of life. Yes, fish and robots and superheroes are all incredibly different, but when you look at the stories that surround each character, and the struggles each woman (or ant) has to overcome, it’s all universal.

Who are some of your favorite Pixar female characters? And why are they so important to you?

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D23 2017 – a quick rundown of yesterday’s Pixar highlights

D23, Pete Docter, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • July 16, 2017

As if we weren’t already wowed by all the Pixar news released at this year’s D23 Expo’s opening, yesterday’s events delivered even more surprises and exciting bits and pieces. Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights.

  1. The “Creating the Worlds in Pixar’s Universe” panel gave some wonderful insights into how Pixar movies are made

In a presentation by directors of photography Sharon Calahan and Kim White, production designers Ralph Eggleston and Harley Jessup, and producer Katherine Sarafian, examples across Pixar’s entire repertoire of movies helped teach the audience how the studio’s staff built these worlds that we’ve all come to know and love over the years. A focus was put on believability, collaboration, and creativity. Pixar have transported us to worlds both real and fantastical, and it’s the worlds that we have never seen before that present the biggest challenge. Even seemingly simple things like the colour of the sky are thrown into question when you’re building a world from the ground up.

  1. The “Evolution of Pixar Characters” panel delved into the world of character design

Pete Docter was joined by Daniel Arriaga, Tia Kratter, Deanna Marsigliese, Chris Sasaki, and Jay Shuster  to give an inside look into how Pixar’s characters are conceived and designed, and the changes that are made along the way.

  1. New Pixar themed attractions are coming to Walt Disney parks

These new additions include Toy Story Land at Disney World, a Ratatouille themed attraction at Epcot, and the grand opening of the Pixar Pier at Disneyland Resort, along with a limited time Pixar Fest event. Toy Story Land and the Pixar Pier are to open in Summer 2018.

  1. The world of Toy Story is coming to Kingdom Hearts 3

Incredibly confusing plotlines aside, the popular video games series Kingdom Hearts involves Sora, Donald, and Goofy traversing Disney Pixar worlds and saving them from the Heartless. It was revealed yesterday that the Toy Story world will be featured in Kingdom Hearts’ next instalment in 2018! A trailer was released, showing the game’s protagonists meeting Woody, Buzz and the gang for the first time. With its updated graphics, it’s amazing to see how the character models look almost indistinguishable from the ones that we’re used to seeing in the movies – it’ll be interesting to see how Woody and his flailing limbs fare on the battlefield.  The attention to detail is positively heart-warming – Sora’s Toy Story-themed keyblade features a western style cactus, little Buzz-inspired wings, and a cute alien keychain.

 

Footage and photos of some of yesterday’s highlights have also now been made available online – there are photos on Pixar’s instagram, and a video of the performance at the end of the Coco presentation. There are still more Pixar-themed D23 events to come later on today , including a demo of Pixar in a Box, a signing with composer Michael Giacchino, and a drawing demo with Daniel Arriaga.

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Ed Asner to Honor Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera at AutFest

Inside Out, Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter

Posted by Nia • April 21, 2017

Courtesy of AutFest

Courtesy of AutFest

Inside Out director Pete Docter, and producer Jonas Rivera, will be attending AutFest this Sunday as they receive special honors from the festival in celebration of its debut. This weekend will be the 1st Annual AutFest International Film Festival, located in Los Angeles, CA. AutFest is a unique film festival that celebrates autism and strives to promote autism awareness while supporting autistic filmmakers and artists.

Courtesy of AutFest

Courtesy of AutFest

Scott Badesch, President of Autism Society of America, describes AutFest’s goal and motivation as follows: “The first Annual AutFest International Film Festival is a perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the role film is now playing in autism awareness. We are proud to honor outstanding filmmakers Ben Affleck, Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera, for their cinematic portrayals of the complexity of human emotions, as we can see with our two spotlighted films The Accountant and Inside Out.”

Ed Asner will also be honoring Pete and Jonas following a screening of Inside Out and a special Q&A afterwards this Sunday, April 23rd, at 12:20pm. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, be sure to stop by AMC Orange, 30 in Orange County to re-watch Inside Out (or see it for the first time) on the big screen.

For more information on AutFest and other films that will be playing this weekend, check out their website here.

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You Can Now Take A Pixar Storytelling Course Online For Free!

Behind The Scenes, Khan Academy, Mark Andrews, Pete Docter, Pixar in a box, The Art of Storytelling

Posted by Nia • February 24, 2017

Have you ever dreamed about being able to learn from some of the greatest storytellers in the industry? Or what about gaining specific insight in animation from some of your heroes like Pete Docter and Mark Andrews? With Pixar’s new online course, you will be able to do just that.

This month Pixar launched the first course of their 6-part online curriculum on “The Art of Storytelling.” The program will be helmed by Docter, Andrews, and a plethora of other top notch animation talent from the studio. The course is aimed to guide anyone who is interested in learning more about the Pixar storytelling process – the segments will give tips on how to create original stories, captivating characters, and diverse worlds. The courses will also offer a variety of techniques other than your typical video and reading assignments; there will be firsthand exercises that will even teach some newcomers the ABC’s of taking an original idea and seeing it through to the story boarding phase. Pixar’s online class will disperse their different lessons throughout the year, so stay-tuned for more production wisdom from the studio!

Pete Docter’s own statement on the course should give you enough motivation to give it a try: “We hope that by sharing how we tell stories, we’ll inspire students all over the world to tell their own stories.”

“The Art of Storytelling” can be accessed through the online-education website Khan Academy.

Have you already taken the course or are thinking about trying it out? Let us know on Twitter and in the comments below.

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Inside Out wins Best Animated at the Oscars!

Inside Out, Jonas Rivera, Oscars, Pete Docter

Posted by Simoa • February 29, 2016

Joy is in the air as Inside Out took home the golden statuette for Best Animated Feature at last night’s 88th Academy Awards! The film was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay. While the win deserves to be celebrated, as many pointed out, it deserved a nomination in the Best Picture category as well.

Woody and Buzz, in a nod to Toy Story‘s 20th anniversary, were part of a brilliant animated segment to present the Oscar. They were stationary onstage before springing to life and engaging in some good natured ribbing. (Can they host next year’s Oscars please?)

Oscars 3

Oscars 1Not surprisingly, Pete Docter’s acceptance speech (watch here) was humble and inspiring. The film has had such a profound impact on audiences and is already starting important conversations about emotions and how to respond to them. Docter took the opportunity to speak to kids growing up, anyone in middle or high school who is having a rough time or suffering. Inside Out is a glowing look at the beautiful and painful process of growing up. But it, like Docter’s speech, does offer hope for anyone struggling to find the beauty in this process. But no matter if you feel sad or angry or scared, you can always make stuff. “It will make a world of difference.” It certainly has for Pete Docter.

 

Oscars 2

Congratulations to Pete, Jonas, and the entire cast and crew for their win!

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Jonas Rivera Wins PGA Award

Academy Awards, Inside Out, Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, PGA Awards, Pixar

Posted by Nia • January 27, 2016

Congratulations to Inside Out producer Jonas Rivera who took home a Producers Guild Award for Best Animated Feature on Saturday’s ceremony.

Disney/Pixar

Disney/Pixar

The Good Dinosaur was also nominated along with Anomalisa, Minions, and The Peanuts Movie. The PGA Awards honor the best producing work in film and television and are usually a precursor to what takes home the gold during the Academy Awards. Next to the Oscars, it’s one of the most anticipated events in the industry. Here’s hoping that Inside Out also wins the Oscar for Best Animated Film next month! Best of luck to Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, and the team at Pixar!

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Pixar at the Oscars

Academy Awards, Animation, Inside Out, Interview, John Lasseter, Jonas Rivera, Lava, Michael Giacchino, Pete Docter, Pixar, Sanjay's Super Team, Short Film, The Good Dinosaur, UP

Posted by Nia • January 16, 2016

Congratulations to the talented folks at Pixar for receiving not one but THREE Oscar nominations during Thursday’s announcement. Inside Out was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film and also scored a nomination for Best Original Screenplay; it will be the only animated film competing in that category. Sanjay’s Super Team took home a nod for Best Animated Short Film.

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"Sanjay's Super Team" Comes to the Con ? Director Sanjay Patel and producer Nicole Grindle are taking Pixar Animation Studios' new short to San Diego's Comic-Con International next month for its North American premiere and a peek behind the scenes of the production process. The Super Story Behind the Pixar Short "Sanjay's Super Team," slated for Thurs., July 9 at 11 a.m. in the Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront, reveals the unique inspiration for this incredibly personal film that features superheroes like never before. The short debuts in U.S. theaters in front of Disney-Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur" on Nov. 25, 2015.

Via Disney/Pixar

It was indeed great news hearing that Pixar was nominated for several awards, but it’s also hard not to acknowledge the slight disappointments regarding snubs to both The Good Dinosaur and Lava. In an ideal world, all four films released from the studio would have been nominated for Oscars. They all followed the Pixar standard of challenging both art and technology, paving the way for future animated films. The Good Dinosaur alone was revolutionary in it’s technical aspects and successful blend of animation against hyperrealistic backgrounds. Lava also showcased stunning backgrounds that were brought to life through the use of song; depicting the romance between two volcanoes without dialogue but only through a love ballad. Lava‘s catchy song was clearly absent from the Best Original Song nominees. Also missing from the Best Original Score category was Michael Giacchino’s beautiful work on Inside Out.

In the past, an animated film has even been nominated for Best Picture, such as Pete Docter’s last film Up. If an animated film can be nominated for Best Picture, then it’s director should also be recognized in the Best Director category. Inside Out was incredibly inventive and something we haven’t seen before. It cleverly took us inside the mind of a young girl and created relatable characters out of her emotions… not to mention simultaneously hitting us all with a wave of childhood nostalgia. Docter spent 4+ years working on the film; from writing the screenplay, approving every minute detail most audience members might miss, to even guiding a brilliant team of artists into crafting his vision. That time frame is longer than most live action directors work on a film.

In an interview with Screencrush, Pixarian Kelsey Mann explains why animation directors are just as worthy as notable live action directors in receiving acknowledgement from The Academy:

“From the ground up, directors at Pixar are in charge of everything from the story to the individual blades of grass. We start from nothing. Literally nothing. And it all has to be built from the ground up. And Pete is involved in every decision.”

Slowly audiences (and even The Academy) are beginning to realize that animation isn’t only for children, but it’s an art form entirely of it’s own; crafting stories a thousand times better and more original than most of the live action films released in Hollywood. Here’s hoping that one day an animated film will not only be nominated for Best Picture again, but will win it too.

We will definitely be keeping our fingers crossed for Pixar to take home all of the awards on the February 28th Oscar ceremony.

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