Live Pixar tour: Choose Your Own Adventure

Nick Pitera, Pixar

Posted by Simoa • February 18, 2017

For many people, visiting Pixar is a dream that might not be fully realized. On February 17th however, fans were treated to a live tour on the official Youtube channel! The guide was Nick Pitera, a Pixarian and musician who provided his vocals for the infamous “Triple Dent Gum” jingle from Inside Out. Fans were permitted to send in questions as the tour progressed. Pitera answered a few that pertained to his experience inside Pixar. One of his favorite things about working at the studio is being able to contribute in any way to these films which have such a great impact on people. Growing up, the films were significant for him as well.

Luckily the video of the tour is available to watch if you missed the live broadcast.

Although the tour was just over 20 minutes long, these brief glimpses into Pixar are always informative and lots of fun. The company fosters a lot of creativity and looks like it’s one of the best places to work.

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Congratulations to Pixar on 4 Annie Award Nominations

Annie Awards, Awards, Finding Dory, Piper, Pixar

Posted by Nia • November 29, 2016


Yesterday the nominees for the 44th Annual Annie Awards were announced. Like every year, the Annie Awards are a celebration of all the hard work and fantastic accomplishments that are achieved in the animation community. So many different fields within the medium are honored, such as Character Animation in a Video Game, Storyboarding in both Feature and TV Production, Voice Acting, and even Best Student Film. There are so many unsung heroes of the industry that it’s inspiring to see everyone come together to honor the work that has been done. The awards have also been known to be a huge predictor as to what films take home the pivotal Golden Statue otherwise known as the Oscar.

Pixar landed a brilliant 4 nominations in crucial categories. Finding Dory was nominated for Best Animated Feature, Piper got the honor of being nominated for Best Animated Short Subject; while Finding Dory racked another 2 nominations in Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production and Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production. A lot of top quality films have been released from all of the major studios this year – so it will be rather interesting to see which production wins. Regardless, a massive congratulations to all who were involved with animated projects this year. Each film, TV show, or game released only opens up the doors to more possibilities. It’s truly exciting to see how animation continues to grow year after year.

You can find the rest of the Annie Award nominees and categories below:

Best Animated Feature

  • “Finding Dory,” Pixar Animation Studios
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika
  • “Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation

Best Animated Feature – Independent 

  • “Long Way North,” Sacrebleu Productions, Maybe Movies, NorlumStudios, France 3 Cinéma and 2 Minutes
  • “Miss Hokusai,” GKids
  • “My Life as a Zucchini,” GKids
  • “The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions
  • “Your Name.,” CoMix Wave Films

Best Animated Special Production

  • “Audrie & Daisy,” AfterImage Public Media in association with Actual Films for Netflix
  • “Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll,” DreamWorks Animation
  • “Little Big Awesome,” Titmouse, Inc./Amazon Studios
  • “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life,” CBS Films/J.P. Entertainment/Participant Media
  • “Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” Massive Swerve Studios and Passion Pictures Animation

Best Animated Short Subject 

  • “Blind Vaysha,” National FilmBoard of Canada
  • “Deer Flower,” Studio ZAZAC
  • “Path Title Sequence,” Acme Filmworks
  • “Pearl,” Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures
  • “Piper,” Pixar Animation Studios

Best Animated Television/Broadcast Commercial 

  • “Duelyst,” Powerhouse Animation Studios, Inc.
  • “LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Trailer, Plastic Wax
  • “Lily & the Snowman,” Hornet
  • Loteria “Night Shift,” Passion Pictures Ltd.
  • “The Importance of Paying Attention: Teeth,” Bill Plympton Studio

Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production for Preschool Children 

  • “Ask the StoryBots,” Episode: Why Do I Have to Brush My Teeth?, JibJab Bros. Studios for Netflix
  • “Peg + Cat,” Episode: The Disappearing Art Problem, The Fred Rogers Company/ 9ate7 Productions
  • “Puffin Rock – The First Snow,” Episode 59, Cartoon Saloon, Dog Ears, Penguin RandomHouse
  • “The Stinky & Dirty Show,” Episode: Squeak, Amazon Studios and Brown Bag Films
  • “Tumble Leaf,” Episode: Mighty Mud Movers / Having a Ball, Amazon Studios and Bix Pix Entertainment

Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production for Children

  • “Adventure Time,” Episode: Bad Jubies, Bix Pix Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Frederator Studios
  • “DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender,” Episode: Return of the Gladiator, DreamWorks Animation Television
  • “Elena of Avalor,” Episode: A Day to Remember, Disney Television Animation
  • “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Episode: Trans-Dimensional Turtles, Nickelodeon
  • “Wander Over Yonder,” Episode: My Fair Hatey, Disney Television Animation

Best General Audience Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “Bob’s Burgers,” Episode: Glued, Where’s My Bob?, Bento Box Entertainment
  • “BoJack Horseman,” Episode: Fish Out of Water, Tornante Productions for Netflix
  • “Long Live the Royals,” Episode: Punk Show, Cartoon Network Studios
  • “The Simpsons,” Episode: Barthood, Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox Television
  • “The Venture Bros,” Episode: Hostile Makeover, Titmouse, Inc.

Best Student Film 

  • “Citipati,” Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg
  • “FISHWITCH,” Adrienne Dowling
  • “The Abyss,” Liying Huang
  • “The Wrong End of the Stick,” Terri Matthews
  • “Twiddly Things,” Adara Todd

Animated Effects in an Animated Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Lead Effects Artist: David Horsley; CG Look Development Lead: Eric Wachtman; Senior Compositor: Timur Khodzhaev; Compositor: Daniel Leatherdale; Lead CG Lighter: Terrance Tomberg
  • “Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation; Effects Sequence Lead: Matt Titus; Effects Sequence Lead: Jeff Budsberg; Effects Sequence Lead: Carl Hooper; Effects Sequence Lead: Louis Flores; Effects Sequence Lead: Jason Mayer
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Head of Effects Animation: Marlon West; Effects Lead: Erin V. Ramos; Effects Lead: Blair Pierpont; Foundation Effects Lead: Ian J. Coony; Effects Lead: John M. Kosnik
  • “The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions; Special Effects Supervisor: Mouloud Oussid
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Effects Lead: Thom Wickes; Effects Lead: Henrik Fält; Effects Animator: Dong Joo Byun; Effects Animator: Rattanin Sirinaruemarn; Effects Animator: Sam Klock

Animated Effects in a Live Action Production

  • “Deepwater Horizon,” Lionsgate; The Rig;  Effects TD Supervisor: Raul Essig; Digital Artist : Mark Chataway; Lead Digital Artist : George Kuruvilla; Digital Artist : Mihai Cioroba
  • “Doctor Strange,” Marvel, Mirror Dimension; FX Supervisor: Georg Kaltenbrunner; Digital Artist : Michael Marcuzzi; Digital Artist : Thomas Bevan; Digital Artist: Andrew Graham; Digital Artist: Jihyun Yoon
  • “Ghostbusters,” Iloura; Animator: Terry Bannon; Animator: Nicholas Tripodi; Animator: Daniel Fotheringham; Animator: Matt Weaver; Animator: Julien Boudou
  • “The BFG,” Amblin Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures; Lead Effects TD: Claude Schitter; Senior Previs Animator: Benjaman Folkman; Senior Effects TD: Gary Boyle; FX Supervisor: David Caeiro; CG Supervisor: Luke Millar
  • “Warcraft,” Legendary/Universal; Magic; Legendary/ Universal; FX Supervisor: John Hansen; Lead Artist: George Kuruvilla; Lead Artist: Alexis Hall, Lead Artist: Gordon Chapman; Lead Artist: Ben O’Brien

Character Animation in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “Atomic Puppet,” Mercury Filmworks, Gaumont Animation, Technicolor; Character Animator: Barry Kennedy; Characters: Disastro, Phil Felt, Joey Felt, Old
  • Man, Atomic Puppet, Mookie, Vivian Felt, Smoke Monster, Principal Wartickle, Sword Sister (Paulina), Were-chicken, Chicken, Mr. Inkwood, Cornelius (Octopus), Atomic Android, incidental characters
  • “DreamWorks Trollhunters,” Episode: Becoming, Part 1, DreamWorks Animation Television; Character Animator: Mike Chaffe; Characters: Blinky, Aaarrrgghh!!
  • “The Snowy Day,”   Amazon Studios and Karrot Entertainment; Lead Animator: Rob Thomson; Character: Peter, Mom, Nana and other various characters
  • “Tumble Leaf,” Episode: Thinking Outside The Hoop / Fig’s HayMaze-ing Wander, Amazon Studios and Bix Pix Entertainment; Lead Animator: Dan MacKenzie; Characters: Fig, Hedge, Stick, Okra, Maple, Pine, Buckeye, Gourd, Chickens
  • “Tumble Leaf,” Episode: Mighty Mud Movers / Having a Ball, Amazon Studios and Bix Pix Entertainment; Lead Animator: Joe Heinen; Characters: Fig, Hedge, Stick, Buckeye, Pine, Beetles

Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Finding Dory,” Pixar Animation Studios; Character Development and Animation: Erick Oh; Characters: All Characters
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings” Laika; Animator: Jan Maas; Characters: Multiple
  • “Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation; Animation Supervisor: Ludovic Bouancheau; Characters: Various
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Animator: Dave Hardin Charactes: Judy Hopps, Stu Hopps, Bonnie Hopps, Chief Bogo, Nick Wilde,
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Animator: Chad Sellers; Characters: Mr. Big, Koslov, Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde, Flash

Character Animation in a Live Action Production

  • “Captain America: Civil War,” Marvel Studios; Spider-man; ILM Animation Supervisor: Steve Rawlins; CG Lead Artist: Ebrahim Jahromi; Associate Animation Supervisor: Cedric Lo; CG Lead Artist: Stephen King; Digital Artist: Yair Gutierrez
  • “Games of Thrones,” HBO, Episode: Battle of the Bastards; Visual Effects By Iloura: Nicholas Tripodi; Visual Effects By Iloura: Dean Elliott; Visual Effects By Iloura: James Hollingworth; Visual Effects By Iloura: Matt Weaver
  • “The Jungle Book,”  Walt Disney Pictures; Animation Supervisor: Andrew R. Jones; Animation Supervisor: Peta Bayley; Animation Supervisor: Gabriele Zucchelli; Character Supervisor: Benjamin Jones
  • “The Jungle Book,” Walt Disney Pictures; Animation Supervisor: Andrew R. Jones; Senior Animation Supervisor: Paul Story; Animation Supervisor: Dennis Yoo; Motion Editor: Eteuati Tema; Senior Facial Modeller: Andrei Coval
  • “Warcraft ,” Legendary/Universal; Orcs; Animation Supervisor: Hal Hickel; Digital Artist : Jee Young Park; Digital Artist: Kai-Hua Lan; Animation Supervisor: Cedric Lo; Animation Supervisor: KimHuat Ooi

Character Animation in a Video Game

  • “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Legends,” Ludia Inc.; Character Animator: Lucio Mennillo; Character: Donatello Vision; Character Animator: Martine Quesnel;  Character: Leonardo Vision; Character Animator: Alexandre Cheff; Character: Donatello LARP; Character Animator: Laura Gorrie; Character: Leatherhead LARP; Lead Animator: Guillaume Charrin; Character: Raphael Vision
  • “Titanfall 2,” Respawn Entertainment; Character Animator: Ranon Sarono, Character: Jack Cooper, BT-7274, Weapons; Character Animator: Shawn Wilson; Character: BT-7274, Creatures; Lead Animator: Mark Grigsby Character: BT-7274, Jack Cooper, Viper, Weapons; Lead Animator: Paul Messerly Character: BT-7274, Jack Cooper, AI; Character Animator: Moy Parra, Character BT-7274, Villains
  • “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End,” Naughty Dog; Lead Animator: Jeremy Yates Character: All; Lead Animator: Almudena Soria Character: All; Lead Animator: Eric Baldwin Character: All; Lead Animator: Paul Davies Character: All; Lead Animator: Tom Bland Character: All; Witcher 3 Expansion Packs – Character Animation Reel; CDProjekt Red Lead Animator: Sebastian Kalemba; Character: Directing role

Character Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production 

  • “Counterfeit Cat,” Episode: 28 Seconds Later, Tricon Kids & Family and Wildseed Kids; Art Director: Raphaël Chabassol;  Character: Full cast: Max, Gark, Betty, etc.
  • “DreamWorks Trollhunters,” Episode: Win, Lose or Draal, DreamWorks Animation Television; Character Designer: Victor Maldonado, Character: All Characters; Character Designer: Alfredo Torres, Character: All Characters; Character Designer: Jules Rigolle, Character: All Characters
  • “Pig Goat Banana Cricket,” Episode: It’s Time to Slumber Party, Nickelodeon; Character Designer: Jennifer Wood, Character: Various
  • “Rain or Shine,” Google Spotlight Stories/Nexus Studios; Character Design: Robin Davey, Character: Multiple
  • “Wander Over Yonder,” Episode: The Night Out, Disney Television Animation; Character Designer: Benjamin Balistreri, Character: Various

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Character Designer: Shannon Tindle, Characters: Multiple
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Art Director Characters: Bill Schwab, Characters: Moana, Maui, Pua, Heihei, Tamatoa, Kakamora, Lalotai Characters (Realm of Monsters); Visual Development Artist: Jin Kim,  Charactesr: Moana, Maui, Gramma Tala, Sina, Ancestor Wayfinders, Lalotai Characters (Realm of Monsters), Te Kā
  • “The Secret Life of Pets,” Illumination Entertainment; Character Design by: Eric Guillon Character: All
  • “Trolls,” DreamWorks Animation; Art Director: Tim Lamb, Characters: Trolls; Character Designer: Craig Kellman, Characters: Bergens
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Character Design : Cory Loftis, Characters: Nick Wilde, Judy Hopps, Flash, Chief Bogo, Clawhauser, Mr. Big, Fru Fru, Koslov, Bellwether, Yax, Finnick, Doug, Mr. and Mrs. Otterton, Duke Weaselton, Misc. Characters

Directing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “A Love Story,” Passion Pictures; Director: Saschka Unseld
  • “Adventure Time,” Episode: Bad Jubies, Cartoon Network Studios; Director: Kirsten Lepore
  • “Open Season: Scared Silly,” Episode: Open Season: Scared Silly; Sony Pictures Animation; Director: David Feiss
  • “Pearl,” Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures; Director: Patrick Osborne
  • “Wander Over Yonder,” Episode: My Fair Hatey, Disney Television Animation; Director: Dave Thomas; Director: Eddie Trigueros; Director: Justin Nichols

Directing in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Director: Travis Knight
  • “My Life as a Zucchini,”GKids; Director: Claude Barras
  • “The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli,  Wild Bunch,  Why Not Productions; Director: Michael Dudok de Wit
  • “Your Name.,” CoMix Wave Films; Director: Makoto Shinkai
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Director: Byron Howard; Director: Rich Moore

Music in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “Bob’s Burgers,” Episode: Glued, Where’s My Bob?, Bento Box Entertainment; Composer: Loren Bouchard; Composer: John Dylan Keith
  • “Disney Mickey Mouse,” Episode: Dancevidaniya, Disney Television Animation; Composer: Christopher Willis
  • “DreamWorks Trollhunters,” Episode: Becoming, Part 1, DreamWorks Animation Television; Composer: Alexandre Desplat; Composer: TimDavis
  • “Pearl,” Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures; Composer: Scot Stafford; Composer/Lyricist: Alexis Harte; Composer/Lyricist: JJ Wiesler
  • “Star Wars Rebels,” Episode: #2-24: Twilight of the Apprentice, LucasfilmLtd. / Disney XD; Composer: Kevin Kiner

Music in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders,” Warner Bros. Animation; Composer: Kristopher Carter; Composer: Lolita Ritmanis; Composer: Michael McCuistion
  • “Sing,” Illumination Entertainment; Composer: Joby Talbot
  • “The Little Prince,” Netflix and On Animation Studios; Composer: Hans Zimmer; Composer: Richard Harvey; Composer/Lyricist: Camille
  • “The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions; Composer: Laurent Perez del Mar
  • “The Secret Life of Pets,” Illumination Entertainment, Composer: Alexandre Desplat

Production Design in an Animated Television Broadcast Production

  • “Adventure TIme,” Episode: Bad Jubies; Bix Pix Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Frederator Studios; Production Design: Jason Kolowski
  • “Pearl,” Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures; Production Design: Tuna Bora
  • “Puffin Rock,” Episode: The First Snow, Cartoon Saloon, Dog Ears and Penguin for Netflix; Production Design: Lily Bernard
  • “Rain or Shine,” Google Spotlight Stories/Nexus Studios; Production Design: Robin Davey
  • “The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show,” Episode: The Wrath of Hughes, DreamWorks Animation Television; Production Design: Kevin Dart; Production Design: Sylvia Liu; Production Design: Chris Turnham; Production Design: Eastwood Wong

Production Design in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Production Design: Nelson Lowry; Production Design: Trevor Dalmer; Production Design: August Hall; Production Design: Ean McNamara
  • “Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation; Production Design: Raymond Zibach; Production Design: Max Boas
  • “The Little Prince,” Netflix and On Animation Studio; Production Design: Lou Romano; Production Design: Alexander Juhasz; Production Design: Celine Desrumaux
  • “Trolls,” DreamWorks Animation; Production Design: Kendal Cronkhite; Production Design: Tim Lamb
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Production Design: David Goetz; Production Design: Matthias Lechner

Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “Atomic Puppet,” Episode: Sick Day, Mercury Filmworks, Gaumont Animation, Technicolor; Storyboard Artist: Kyle Marshall
  • “Disney Mickey Mouse,” Episode: Road Hogs, Disney Television Animation; Storyboard Artist: Heiko Von Drengenberg
  • “DreamWorks Trollhunters,” Episode: Win, Lose or Draal, DreamWorks Animation Television; Storyboard Artist: Hyunjoo Song
  • “Milo Murphy’s Law,” Episode: Going the Extra Milo, Disney Television Animation; Storyboard Artist: Dan Povenmire; Storyboard Artist: Kyle Menke
  • “The Adventures of Puss in Boots,” Episode: Prey Time, DreamWorks Animation Television; Storyboard Artist: Ben Juwono

Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Finding Dory,” Pixar Animation Studios; Storyboard Artist: Trevor Jimenez
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Storyboard Artist: Mark Garcia
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Storyboard Artist: Normand Lemay
  • “Trolls,” DreamWorks Animation; Storyboard Artist: Claire Morrissey
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Storyboard Artist: Dean Wellins

Voice Acting in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “BoJack Horseman,” Episode: Multiple Episodes; Tornante Productions, LLC for Netflix; Alison Brie as Diane Nguyen
  • “Open Season: Scared Silly,” Episode: Open Season: Scared Silly; Sony Pictures Animation; Will Townsend as Mr. Weenie
  • “Splash and Bubbles,” Episode: #102 I Only Have Eyespots/Double Bubbles; The Jim Henson Company and Herschend Entertainment; Puppeteer Leslie Carrara-Rudolph as: Bubbles
  • “Star Wars Rebels,” Episode: #3-05: Hera’s Heroes, LucasfilmLtd. / Disney XD; Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn
  • “The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show,” Episode: Ponce de León; DreamWorks Animation Television; Carlos Alazraqui as Ponce de León

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Art Parkinson as Kubo
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Auli’i Cravalho as Moana
  • “Storks,” Warner Animation Group; Katie Crown as Tulip
  • “Trolls,” DreamWorks Animation; Zooey Deschanel as Bridget
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde

Writing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “Bob’s Burgers,” Episode: The Hormone-iums, Bento Box Entertainment; Writer: Lizzie Molyneux; Writer: Wendy Molyneux
  • “Gravity Falls.” Episode: Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls, Disney TV Animation; Writer: Shion Takeuchi; Writer: Mark Rizzo; Writer: Jeff Rowe; Writer: Josh Weinstein; Writer: Alex Hirsch
  • “Puffin Rock – The First Snow,” Episode: 59; Cartoon Saloon, Dog Ears, Penguin Random House; Writer: Davey Moore
  • “The Simpson,” Episode: Barthood, Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox Television; Writer: Dan Greaney
  • “The Simpsons,” Episode: The Burns Cage; Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox Television; Writer: Rob LaZebnik

Writing in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Writer: Marc Haimes; Writer: Chris Butler
  • “My Life as a Zucchini,” GKids; Writer: Céline Sciamma
  • “The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions; Writer:Michael Dudok de Wit; Writer: Pascale Ferran
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Writer: Jared Bush; Writer: Phil Johnston

Editorial in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “All Hail King Julien,” Episode: King Julien Superstar!; DreamWorks Animation Television; David Craig, Jeff Adams
  • “Bob’s Burgers,” Episode: Sea Me Now; Bento Box Entertainment; Mark Seymour, Chuck Smith, Eric Davidson
  • “Disney Mickey Mouse,” Episode: Sock Burglar, Disney Television Animation; Illya Owens
  • “Gravity Falls,” Episode: Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls, Disney TV Animation; Kevin Locarro; Andrew Sorcini; Nancy Frazen; Tony Mizgalski
  • “Star Wars Rebels,” Episode: #2-24: Twilight of the Apprentice; LucasfilmLtd. / Disney XD; Joe E. Elwood, Alex McDonnell

Editorial in an Animated Feature Production

  • “April and the Extraordinary World,” GKids, Nazim Meslem
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika, Christopher Murrie
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation Studios, Jeff Draheim
  • “Sausage Party,” Columbia Pictures, Annapurna Pictures; Kevin Pavlovic
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Fabienne Rawley, Jeremy Milton

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In depth: Finding Dory, sequels, and Pixar heroines

Cars 2, Cars 3, Finding Dory, in depth, Monsters University, Pixar, Pixar Heroines, sequels, The Incredibles 2, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • June 29, 2016

This post is the first in a new feature on Upcoming Pixar where we offer a closer look at Pixar films.


Dory – everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang. She’s so beloved that she nearly swims away with Finding Nemo. Nearly, but not quite. One reason why that film is such an unparalleled Pixar entry is because Dory as the scene stealing, ebullient comic relief doesn’t ever overshadow Marlin. We still care about him even though he’s not immediately lovable. (Or arguably, lovable at all).

Now Dory has a movie of her very own. She’s not stealing any scenes because they all belong to her.

In retrospect, focusing the sequel on Dory makes a lot of sense. Andrew Stanton crafted an emotionally resonant story with talking fish that was based on his own observations of fatherhood. That story was finished for the most part. But a new one centered on the silly, eccentric, and carefree secondary character held an ocean of possibility.

Of course, Dory isn’t the first goofy Pixar sidekick to become a protagonist in her own film. Mater was the first in Cars 2. But Finding Dory, unlike Cars 2, was enthusiastically accepted by most. While I do enjoy the latter film, I can understand why others have never been thrilled about a Mater centric movie. Cars 2 was disappointing to many because there was nothing meaningful underneath the hoods. Pixar films can just be fun diversions, but that’s a post for another day. But to everyone’s collective relief, the emotional stakes are higher in Finding Dory. Dory’s presence in Finding Nemo makes that film all the more poignant because her silliness contains pathos. She’s not just the hilarious sidekick.

“Please don’t go away. Please? No one’s ever stuck with me for so long before.”

“And…and I look at you, and I’m home! Please…I don’t want that to go away. I don’t want to forget.”

Is it any wonder that Andrew Stanton felt “very worried about Dory and couldn’t stop thinking about how she needed closure”?

Stanton didn’t work on the sequel right away. It wasn’t until 2011, eight years after Finding Nemo, that he began to consider it. And it clearly took more time to tackle the story before it was officially announced and released into the ocean five years later. This is the usual way sequels are handled at Pixar, with the exception of Toy Story 2. That film had to be salvaged on a tight deadline which makes it all the more impressive.

For all the worry about “Pixar’s decline” and reliance on sequels, critics and fans should rest assured. Finding Dory may not be as seamless as its predecessor, but its story is still meaningful. Art continues to challenge, technology continues to inspire.

Finding Dory should assuage worry in the same way Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 did. But the Cars sequels and Toy Story 4 represent too big of a worry. Apparently, Pixar isn’t allowed any missteps. We’ve already seen this with Brave, Monsters University, and more recently, The Good Dinosaur. Those are films that I love dearly. While Finding Dory should remind everyone that Pixar is still in robust shape, creating a sequel that retains the emotional power of its predecessor, that still isn’t enough for most.

But why is Finding Dory so significant, even if it is a dreaded sequel? For starters, it’s only the third Pixar film to feature a female protagonist. A supporting female character with a murky background became much more substantial. Dory was hilarious and heartbreaking in the first film. She still is, but now she’s achieved closure. Her story was given so much love and attention that the sequel, in retrospect, is all the more necessary. And sequels are rarely ever necessary according to the general public.

Then of course, is what her short term memory loss represents. It’s not merely there for laughs.

“I was using her disability to represent everybody. It works for anybody, because nobody is perfect. Everybody has a flaw that they maybe mislabel as such.”

-Andrew Stanton

Her disability doesn’t hinder her from being kind, generous, and friendly. It doesn’t hinder her from demonstrating empathy or discovering other forms of strength. And probably less important, or maybe even more so, is that Marlin and Nemo, along with new friends Hank, Destiny, and Bailey, do not pity Dory. They recognize all the wonderful things she is capable of, not despite her disability, but precisely because of it. They see her, first and foremost, as a friend they love and care about. She recognizes the same and encourages them despite their own limitations. This is a sequel where the characters either overcome their disabilities or still thrive even if they aren’t cured of them. That kind of message is vital for all ages, but especially for the youngest who do make up a large portion of Pixar’s audience.

tumblr_mjzmteGdWm1s714eko1_500When Stanton first revealed how Dory’s disability would be treated (in this excellent interview with Collider), I was reminded of “Toy Story of TERROR!” That short film, like Finding Dory, made a vivacious supporting female character the lead. Jessie’s role in Toy Story 2 functions the same way as Dory’s in Finding Nemo. She adds more emotional weight. In “TERROR!”, Jessie overcomes her claustrophobia in order to save the day. Many fans even praised the sensitive way her panic attacks and anxiety were depicted.

“Jessie never gives up, Jessie finds a way.”

Compare that to Dory’s unflagging optimism in Finding Nemo, along with her insistence that there’s always another way in the sequel. These are two female characters who confront or embrace their weaknesses and disabilities. They refuse to give up even when they’ve seemingly exhausted all their options.

Jessie and Dory assist the male hero but they are well rounded supporting characters in their own right. Jessie was introduced in a sequel while Dory was re-introduced in one of her own. Holly Shiftwell in Cars 2 was Mater’s romantic interest, but she was also a highly skilled secret agent. Whether The Incredibles 2 features any prominent new female characters remains to be seen. Could Helen and/or Violet be protagonists this time around? They’re still compelling even as secondary characters. Cruz Ramirez in Cars 3 is a crucial character, but she’s supporting Lightning McQueen. No doubt she’ll be fun to watch and we should hope for a positive, non stereotypical representation of her Hispanic background.

tumblr_mzxuikdFDd1s5wuldo1_500Now onto Toy Story 4. Woody will be reunited with Bo Peep in a love story. Bo Peep is really the only female character in a Pixar film who is merely peripheral. She had less screentime in Toy Story 2 because, as a porcelain lamp, it wasn’t logical that she’d be able to travel with the other toys around the tri-county area. Her absence in the third film was also a logical choice for the story. It was meant to show that losing friends is inevitable, but also made sense because Molly wouldn’t have assigned Bo Peep any sentimental value and held onto her like Andy did with his toys.

Bo Peep isn’t a dynamic character, but that’s not an issue. She may be on the sidelines, but so are Slinky, Rex, Hamm, and Mr. Potato Head. They’re all colorful, interesting characters, but the motivations and character arcs are reserved for Woody and Buzz.

We don’t know what to expect from Toy Story 4 just yet, but given Pixar’s track record, I think it’s safe to assume that Bo Peep will be an even stronger character in this upcoming installment.

For those who scoff at sequels and Pixar’s recent proliferation of them, their future does appear bleak. It’s much easier to look at Cars 2, Monsters University, Cars 3, and Toy Story 4 as proof positive of Pixar’s decline than to look past those films and remain eager about what else is yet to come. What’s ironic is that no one harbors this kind of pessimism for The Incredibles 2. Doesn’t that film have just as much potential as the others to be unspectacular? The general consensus of course is that The Incredibles 2 is the only sequel capable of being good. But Finding Dory and the Toy Story sequels have proven that to be untrue. Even if Cars 2Monsters University, and The Good Dinosaur are regarded as weak efforts, that still doesn’t mean that Pixar’s creative quality has declined.

I prefer to take an optimistic view of Pixar’s sequels because of the roles Pixar heroines, old and new, get to play. Despite popular beliefs to the contrary, I know there are more original films in the works. Coco is just the only one that’s been announced.

Good stories exist in Pixar’s original films and their sequels. Personally, I have yet to watch a bad Pixar film. Others don’t agree and that’s fine too. I’m not worried about Pixar making a bad film, because as I’ve seen, they’re still making good ones.

Pessimism is tempting, but as Dory says, there’s always another way.

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Pixar’s 30th

30 Years of Pixar, Pixar

Posted by Simoa • February 3, 2016

On February 3, 1986, Pixar as we know it was born! Today marks 30 years of excellence.


From humble beginnings as a computer graphics company, Pixar, nestled in Emeryville, California, is now a world renowned animation studio.

“The little studio that could” has been making huge leaps in both art and technology. It has blended math and science with the magic of storytelling. Through risk, innovation, and unparalleled imaginative flair, the films of Pixar have made a significant impact on pop culture. It has become synonymous with quality, timeless entertainment that everyone can fall in love with.

If you’d like to share what Pixar means to you, please email us at upcomingpixar [at]

Happy 30 years to Pixar, and here’s to 30 more!


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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.



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.


"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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Pixar in 2015

Inside Out, Lava, Pete Docter, Pete Sohn, Pixar, Pixar in 2015, Sanjay Patel, Sanjay's Super Team, The Good Dinosaur, Toy Story, Toy Story 20th, Upcoming Pixar

Posted by Simoa • December 29, 2015

2015: the first year with two Pixar releases, significant especially when you consider their yearlong absence following 2013’s Monsters University. But the two feature length films – Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur – represent a lot on their own besides Pixar’s return to the silver screen.

InsideOut53a470f0039ddPixar’s short films this year were significant too. “Lava”, a tribute to the Hawaiian islands and music from director James Ford Murphy, premiered with Inside Out this summer. Though seven minutes long, it’s Pixar’s first full fledged musical. Pixar’s anthropomorphic characters have long been personified since Luxo, but no Pixar character, human or otherwise, has ever sang before! It’s almost unavoidable to compare this short to “The Blue Umbrella”, which also concerns two living objects finding love, but the love story in “Lava” is on a grander scale. The short’s subject matter is somewhat divisive, but it does provide breathtaking visuals. Can we expect more Pixar musicals? Seems likely!

“Sanjay’s Super Team” however, is unlike anything Pixar has yet produced. In the visual department, it’s a sumptuous blending of 2D and 3D with eye watering colors and excellent character designs. Still images prove to be as dazzling as the film in motion.


It’s not only the gorgeous art style that makes this short film so phenomenal. This is the first time a Pixar film has featured a person of color. If “Lava” could signal more musicals, “Sanjay’s Super Team” could do the same for more diverse characters and perspectives in Pixar films. John Lasseter has said as much about broadening the studio’s canon. Most notably, director Sanjay Patel, joining Peter Sohn as the first nonwhite directors to helm Pixar features, drew on his childhood experiences to tell this story.


This is a deeply personal, heartfelt story about little Sanjay’s struggles to distance himself from his father’s customs. It also mirrors the struggles of adult Sanjay, who was initially reluctant to show something so personal, but who was convinced in the end by his father and Lasseter. The short’s seven minute run-time produces an expertly crafted narrative with glimpses of the Hindu faith. The audience may be strangers to Hinduism, but we can understand Sanjay eventual appreciation of his father’s inner world and how both father and son bond at the short’s conclusion. And for us first generation American kids, the short film is especially meaningful. “Sanjay’s Super Team” is truly a bold step in the right direction.

Click through to read the wonderful responses!

Click through to read the wonderful responses!

2015 also marks 20 years of Toy Story, the first full length Pixar creation as well as the first computer animated film. We recently asked our readers to share their memories of the film; an exercise in nostalgia. But nostalgia aside, Toy Story brims with a timeless appeal. A revolutionary success in 1995, expanding the boundaries of animation and technology, it’s as beloved today as it was twenty years ago.

Earlier this month, Toy Story at 20: To Infinity and Beyond aired on ABC. Strikingly, none of the Pixarians expected the movie to ever become as big as it did. There were constant roadblocks to success and they had to take untested leaps of faith in order to create the movie they believed in. Toy Story and Pixar are world renowned today. That both came to be because of naive risk-takers is inexpressibly inspiring.

The third installment also celebrated five years back in June. Toy Story 3 was the impeccable finale to a trilogy about a motley band of toys and the boy who loved them. Us 90s kids, particularly the ones looking ahead to college, could see ourselves in Andy. Woody, Buzz, Slinky, Rex, Hamm, Potato Head, Jessie…those were our toys. The third film was a bittersweet goodbye to childhood, but not to Woody and the gang.

June 18th was Toy Story 3‘s fifth year anniversary date. Inside Out was released in theaters the following day.

poster 3A film that ventures into the mind of a preteen girl is a tall order, especially when the filmmaker is a man. But Inside Out was borne out of Pete Docter’s desire to better understand his daughter.

The film is really framed as a struggle for parents. Joy, exuberant and star shaped, dominates Riley’s Headquarters. Her number one priority is to keep Riley happy at all times, which ultimately unravels in the wake of chaos from major life transitions. Joy’s attempts to push Sadness away not only speak to parents wishing to shield their children from pain and Sadness, but to everyone who does the same.

This is perhaps the first film, animated or otherwise, that places less importance on attaining happiness, and more on learning to embrace Sadness. It’s such a simple idea; it’s OK and even necessary to be sad. But too often we struggle in vain to never feel sad at all times.

INSIDE OUTInside Out could prove to be as revolutionary as Toy Story, if not more so. This is a remarkably inventive concept; one that further proves animated films can indeed have depth and still be entertaining. And just like the 1995 film, neither Pete Docter nor anyone else expected it to resonate as it has. Could they have known that those struggling with mental illness would be able to use the film to explain the conflicting array of their own emotions? Or that it could be used to help children identify their emotions and learn that the negative ones are beneficial too?

Imagine if your emotions cared about you. (Oh Anger, you do care!) Imagine that your emotions are these distinct personalities made up of glowing particles that help you navigate the world. Imagine you have Personality Islands that power you up, explain your passions and longings. Imagine all the bright, clever silliness of an elaborate Pixar world juxtaposed against a somber coming-of-age tale.

INSIDE OUT - Pictured: Joy. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

INSIDE OUT - Pictured: Joy. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Growing up is often devastating. The equilibrium of Riley’s mind gradually collapses – she loses Joy, interests, and friends. Her islands of personality literally crumble and fall away, disappearing forever into the yawning abyss of the memory dump. Suddenly Riley isn’t the same little girl anymore. What a bleak vision of adolescence. But though the process of growing up is painful, messy, and requisitely sad, the rewards are abundant. Riley’s mind does repair itself after all. Through adversity, her inner life is strengthened.

Inside Out is important for its focus on a young girl. Riley isn’t ever boxed into any wrongheaded notions of femininity or lack thereof. She’s just allowed to be a person who’s also a girl. There were skeptics when the film’s premise was announced, those who believed that a film focusing on a girl’s feelings would reinforce cliché stereotypes. But the film proved those skeptics wrong. The mundane realties of a preteen girl on the brink of leaving childhood are given weighty consideration. Mindy Kaling, providing vocal work for the fabulous Disgust, put it best: after reading the script, she tearfully told Docter and producer Jonas Rivera that making a film that says it’s OK for girls to be sad about growing up is profound.


And it passes the Bechdel Test by placing Joy and Sadness at the center; two female characters fighting to protect a young girl. Two female characters who are both flawed, yet earnest and nurturing. The film also offers a quiet, yet resounding affirmation that girls, and everyone, but girls especially, can feel a multitude of ways. And to think this came from Pixar, the boys studio.

Inside Out is arguably Pixar’s most ambitious project since 2009’s Up, which was also directed by Pete Docter. Like Up and Docter’s other film Monsters, Inc., it achieves a seamless balance between absurdity and heartbreak. It’s really nothing short of astonishing. The technical aspects are a marvel, it being the most vast, complicated set that’s yet existed in a Pixar film. That’s to say nothing of the actual story which accomplishes a major feat. It shows us something we all know but have never seen, and it’s a fun, exciting, emotional journey.

On opening day, AMC Theaters screened a brief video in which Docter thanked audiences for watching the movie. It was such a humble, surprising gesture. The video isn’t available to watch online unfortunately, but here’s what Docter had to say:

“Movies, like the ones we make at Pixar, are made by people. And the reason we make them is to talk to folks, to share something about our own experiences of life and to pass that feeling onto others. But that doesn’t happen unless there’s someone out there to listen. I feel so lucky to make movies, and on behalf of everyone at Pixar and Disney, we want to thank you for coming to watch our work. Movies have the ability to take you to different worlds, make you laugh or cry, and remind you you’re alive. None of this would happen without you. Thank you for coming, and we hope you enjoy the film.”

This is the first time a Pixar director has done something like this, and it made Inside Out screenings all the better. Thankfully it wasn’t the last time, as Pete Sohn also introduced The Good Dinosaur to audiences when that film premiered in November.

Sohn described growing up as a child of Korean immigrants and how that helped to inform Arlo’s story. His mother’s TheGoodDinosaur5612ef11d27c8English was limited. When he went to the movies as a child with his mother, Sohn often had to whisper translations of what was happening onscreen to her. But this wasn’t the case with most animated movies. In movies like Dumbo, neither words nor translations were needed. Animation is a universal language that everyone can understand. Sohn wanted to recreate that kind of wordless beauty for this film. He wanted to show how two characters could communicate without speaking the same language and how poignant that communication could be. And in The Good Dinosaur, Spot’s inability to speak only lends more authenticity to the primal bond – and love – that he shares with Arlo.

It’s definitely not an exaggeration to say that people were expecting The Good Dinosaur to fail. Its troubled production history worried a lot of people, particularly because veteran Pixar filmmaker Bob Peterson was unceremoniously removed from the director’s chair. While fans were concerned and saddened, they were confident that a good movie could still emerge. Others were far more cynical, certain that moving the film from its original May 2014 release date to November 2015 spelled disaster. The first year without a Pixar movie? Here Pixar was failing in a very public way, and some people felt it was justified comeuppance.

The Good Dinosaur isn’t the first Pixar movie to be scrapped halfway through production and to switch directors. It’s been done twice before with stellar results (Toy Story 2 and Ratatouille). Even Brave and Cars 2 were worthy if flawed efforts. But there are those who think the film did fail, especially since its story was so simplistic, threadbare even, compared to Inside Out’s voluminous narrative.

But here’s something people don’t seem to realize: Pixar shouldn’t be expected to reinvent storytelling with every single film. Leave the ambitious flair to Inside Out; the second Pixar feature of 2015 does something quite different, even if it isn’t groundbreaking. (And in less noticeable ways, it actually is).


The Good Dinosaur’s premise is original. Dinosaurs never went extinct. And that’s not all. The herbivores evolved into farmers while the carnivores like T-Rex are now ranchers. The movie even turns into a western halfway through! In this delightfully bizarre setting, an uncomplicated story begins to evolve. Given the movie’s prehistoric timeline, the straightforward storytelling makes sense. The Good Dinosaur eschews glossy modern appeal to tap into something so much more earthy and primitive.

The movie isn’t primitive simply because dinosaurs still roam the earth. It’s that barrier between languages that makes it so. It isn’t wordy, which is so refreshing. Arlo and Spot start off as enemies. Pixar films are usually about the unexpected friendship between two characters and it’s a trope they pull off extremely well, because the results are different every time. But the stakes are higher in this film because of that language barrier and the harsh world that Arlo and Spot inhabit. They depend on each other for survival, but it grows into something more. Understanding begins to blossom between them in ordinary and profound ways. They become each other’s surrogate family although the world would discourage it. Even if the time and the story are unsophisticated, there are still some potent, timeless takeaways to be had.

This film is a study in brilliant contrasts; cartoony dinosaurs juxtaposed against hyper real, painterly animation; unvarnished story juxtaposed against magnificent artwork; a huge, frightening world that is tranquil and still. There are quiet moments within even as the danger threatens our timid dinosaur hero and his ferociously endearing human boy (two characters who are brilliant, surprising contrasts as well).


And yet, for all its oddity, The Good Dinosaur is grounded in realism and emotional clarity. Nature is pristine and gorgeous, but also a formidable foe that must be reckoned with. Arlo and Spot bond over their loss of family without ever needing words.

Here’s a movie with talking dinosaurs and a wild boy that doesn’t resort to scatological humor in order to hold the attention of the youngest audience members. Here’s a movie with talking dinosaurs that’s possibly the most sensitive, tender story Pixar has told since their first film twenty years ago.

To borrow from Poppa, sometimes you gotta get through your expectations to see the beauty on the other side.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage of Pixar’s awesome year. Check back here for what’s ahead as we leave 2015!

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Happy 20th Anniversary, Toy Story!

Ed Catmull, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Pixar, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 20th, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4, Upcoming Pixar

Posted by Nia • November 22, 2015

In celebration of Toy Story‘s 20th anniversary, we asked our readers to tell us how important the film is to them. Here are some of the most touching responses that will make you want to re-watch the film and hold your childhood toys close. Please note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

toy story 20th

“My daughter has always been a true and dedicated fan of Toy Story, and has also gone through several bouts of chemo with Woody and Buzz comforting her.”

My daughter was 4 years old when Toy Story came to be. She had already gone through surgeries, chemo, and was starting on radiation when she was mesmerized by Woody and Buzz. My daughter has always been a true and dedicated fan of Toy Story, and has also gone through several bouts of chemo with Woody and Buzz comforting her. She turned 24 last year. In fact, when we booked a Disney Cruise in September, I asked DCL if there was anything they can do for her. Low and behold, she was treated with a private session with her two favorite characters! I’ve never seen her smile that big. – Susan and Kayla Gordon

“Toy Story has always been my favorite childhood movie, and it eventually became the film that convinced me to be an animator.”

I could write a book about how Toy Story has impacted my life. I like to joke that the day the film was released in theaters was the best day of my life. Toy Story has always been my favorite childhood movie, and it eventually became the film that convinced me to be an animator. I have very fond memories of my Toy Story toys, from playing with little Buzz and Woody figures with my older sister, to my dad dressing up one of my other Buzzes in Barbie clothes to act out the Mrs. Nesbitt scene. I’m now in my second year of art school, and the more I learn about the history of animation, the more I see how Toy Story rocked the industry. It was a groundbreaking marriage of technology and art, and the foundation of many of the films we cherish today. The production of Toy Story itself is a story of having a dream and not giving up on it, no matter how much others try to convince you that it’ll fail. This is what inspires me to pursue my own dream of making films someday.  – Allie

“Every time I watch the original Toy Story it’s like visiting an old friend, and the movie brings me back to my childhood.”

I can’t remember a time where I didn’t treat my toys as if they were real (I was three years old when the original came out). I probably owned some small toys from the movie, but the one I interacted with the most was the computer game. Generally speaking, I loved playing all the storybook computer games from the ’90s Disney movies, and Toy Story was one of my top favorites.


The films itself hold a special place in my heart, and though I don’t remember the first time I saw the original and its sequel, they both came out around pivotal moments of my life. The first one came out two months before my first sister was born (the first time I’d become a sibling), and the second one came out seven months before my second sister was born. And the third one came out at exactly the right time: I had just graduated from high school the day before its release, and Andy saying goodbye to his toys sadly reminded me that I’d have to do the same in the next two months as I was moving to another state, away from the friends I grew up with.


Every time I watch the original Toy Story it’s like visiting an old friend, and the movie brings me back to my childhood. I may have outgrown playing with the toys I used to love, but the fond memories are still there. – Keisha

“Sharing Toy Story with my Dad is one of my best memories I have with him as a child.”

I was 8. I have a lot of clear and random memories regarding the film. I went to see it in the theater with my dad and I loved it, which was surprising because as a child I was deathly afraid of toys coming to life to the point that I had vivid and chronic nightmares. Toy Story was the movie that spun it all around for me, it made me stop fearing the idea and my nightmares literally stopped.


I love Woody more, but for some reason I really wanted a Buzz Lightyear so badly that my dad went to three or four Burger Kings to find one of the promotional plush toys they had. We couldn’t afford the actual replica toys that came out in the stores. I’ll always remember the night he brought it to me as a surprise. Buzz and I were inseparable for months after that. Sharing Toy Story with my Dad is one of my best memories I have with him as a child. – Atta Lynne

Toy Story played a very large part in my childhood.”

It was the film I watched repeatedly when I was young. Once Toy Story 2 came out, it had become my favorite movie. Toy Story 3 was probably the biggest event of 2010 for me and I also had quite a few toys at that point. With the 4th film coming and all the shorts, Toy Story will continue to remain a big part of a life for a long time. – JKOP

“May the toys continue to embrace more kids and adults for generations to come.”

I was just a baby when the first Toy Story came out. But, I loved it when I first saw it on home video and I still love it today. I have all the movies (and the TV specials on Blu-Ray and DVD), I still have a lot of the toys (the main ones like Woody and Buzz I haven’t stored away yet), and I just love this trilogy! May the toys continue to embrace more kids and adults for generations to come! To infinity and beyond! – Josiah Mielke

“My parents decided to try and spark some interests by putting on movies for me. I’d only watch one the entire way through: Toy Story.”

It all started when I was around 11 months old. I allegedly didn’t do much, I crawled around a bit, I slept, not much else. My parents decided to try and spark some interests by putting on movies for me. I’d only watch one the entire way through: Toy Story.


And so, that started a very long cycle of re-watches for years and years. Because of that, Toy Story had such a big influence on me. It’s what made me want to become an animator, made me want to work for Pixar, sparked my hobby in filmmaking, heck, it’s one of the main reasons I started talking.


In fact, anytime I go to the Disney parks, I always try to meet the Buzz Lightyear character. Unfortunately, DLP don’t really “get” the Toy Story hype, but luckily, I have met him twice; once in 2006 and once this year, in 2015. Even this year, the ride I went on most was Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.


As I write this in bed, I have a giant TS3 poster looming above me, and the Toy Story characters from Disney Infinity close by. – Noah Carolan

“Toy Story and its characters are really my oldest and closest friends, and without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

What does Toy Story mean to me? Well, where do I even begin? For starters, it was the first movie I ever fell in love with. My Toy Story experience began early, like a lot of people my age. I was 13 months going on 14 months. When my dad came home with the VHS for Toy Story, I was hooked. I don’t remember this, but my mom has told me every time she popped the film in the VCR, she knew she had about an hour and a half of free time because I was just mesmerized.


Just a few weeks ago, I decided to sit down and re-watch the trilogy. I’d really forgotten just how amazing all of those films are. I still laughed at the jokes, even though I know them all by heart. I still cried at the end of Toy Story 3, even though I knew what was coming. I referred to the movie marathon as “catching up with old friends” on an Instagram post I made. Toy Story and its characters are really my oldest and closest friends, and without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. So, thank you to everyone who has ever worked on these films, for crafting something that people from 1 to 99 can watch and still laugh, cry, and connect with in a way not many other films can achieve. Thank you Toy Story. May you continue to inspire people for infinity and beyond. – Forster Keenoy

“20 years later, Buzz is still my favorite character and I’ve still got Disney magic in my heart.”

I’ve been a hardcore Pixar fangirl ever since I was little. I wasn’t like most Disney-loving girls my age (i.e. I favored Buzz Lightyear over Disney Princesses).


Every time I watched a Pixar movie I was enchanted. And all three times we went to Disney World, I went Pixar crazy. I loved riding Buzz’s Space Ranger Spin, playing Toy Story Mania, dancing in Block Party Bash, and meeting the Pixar Pals.


20 years later, Buzz is still my favorite character and I’ve still got Disney magic in my heart. All three Toy Story movies bring back lots of good memories. Thank you Disney and Pixar. To infinity and beyond! – Buzzfan120

Thank you to all of the storytellers at Pixar who have brought magic to our lives. Here’s to the future and the great stories to come.

With love,

Upcoming Pixar.

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The Science of Pixar

Art, Behind The Scenes, Pixar, Science Behind Pixar

Posted by Simoa • August 9, 2015

Buzz1Back in June, Boston’s Museum of Science opened The Science Behind Pixar, an interactive exhibit that gives guests the chance to learn about the math and science in Pixar films. I was lucky enough to attend this weekend, and it was quite an enriching experience!

The exhibit was set up to focus on each aspect of Pixar’s production and animation process. There are sections devoted to modeling, rigging, animation, lighting, surfaces, simulation, and more. It’s all presented in a unique, eye catching way. Visitors not only get to see how the films are created firsthand, but it’s also hands on. Since the Science Behind Pixar deals with STEM concepts (science, technology, engineering, math), it was all informative and educational, but like Pixar films, it was also a lot of fun. Those who may not be interested in math or science could find their opinions changed when visiting. The same was true for Colin Thompson, a Pixarian who is responsible for painting surfaces. He was never a fan of math in school, but changed his mind when he saw how it could be applied in a fun, useful way at Pixar.


Thompson is just one of many Pixarians sharing their experiences of working at Pixar and what their jobs entail. Video of Pixarians are stationed throughout the exhibit, and these can be played alongside the actual sets. One familiar face is Jerome Ranft, a sculptor at Pixar.


Early Finding Nemo color scripts, by Pixar veteran Ralph Eggleston.

The artwork is impressive as ever. Seeing Eggleston’s work above, as well as others, stays true to that famous John Lasseter quote: “Art challenges technology. Technology inspires the art.” The Science Behind Pixar is the perfect blend of both. It not only seeks to educate, but also to inspire wonder.

This exhibit will remain in Boston until January of 2016 and other cities will soon be added to its five year tour.

Official website

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Pixar heads to D23 in August with its very own booth + more!

D23, Disney, Events, Pixar

Posted by Simoa • June 25, 2015

d23 logoDisney’s D23 expo is returning to the Anaheim Convention Center this August, and with plenty of Pixar awesomeness in tow! With exclusive sneak peaks at upcoming films, a wealth of informative panels, and favorite filmmakers/celebrities, D23 is definitely the ultimate Disney fan event. Pixar will have its first ever booth at the expo, along with some “provocative panels”, and a John Lasseter Hawaiian shirt exhibit. Check out the full list below.

Buzz float

BURBANK, Calif. – June 25, 2015 – Buzz Lightyear will welcome visitors to D23 EXPO 2015 as Pixar Animation Studios celebrates the 20-year anniversary of Toy Story, among a host of exciting presentations, demonstrations and panels that pay homage to Pixar’s past while looking ahead to its roster of exciting new films. The fearless space ranger, who appeared in Pixar’s groundbreaking CG-animated feature-film debut Toy Story in 1995, as well as Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010), has taken flight in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® six times as a giant character helium balloon, measuring 67.7-feet long, 39.9-feet wide and 34.3-feet tall. This summer, the Disney•Pixar Buzz Lightyear balloon travels to the West Coast for the first time ever, welcoming guests to D23 EXPO 2015 as it soars outside the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. D23 EXPO 2015 takes place through August 16.

Every Story Is a Journey: The Upcoming Films of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios

Friday, August 14, 3:00 pm  – Hall D23

After meeting the Emotions inside the mind of an 11-year-old, taking a trip to San Fransokyo where a boy genius and his robot save the world, and falling in love with a queen with icy powers who wants to “let it go,” come see where Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios plan to take you next. In what has become a D23 EXPO must-see, host John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, presents “Every Story is a Journey.” Filmmakers will unveil never-before-seen footage from Pixar’s upcoming The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory and Disney Animation’s Zootopia and Moana. The event will include surprise announcements, musical performances, and appearances by the films’ star voice talent. Cell phones, cameras and all recording devices will be checked for this presentation.

In Conversation with the Filmmakers and the Emotions Behind Inside Out

Friday, August 14, 2015, 11:30 am – Stage 28

Get the inside story on the making of Pixar’s latest summer release Inside Out. Hear from Academy Award®-winning director Pete Docter (UpMonsters, Inc.) and producer Jonas Rivera (Up) as they reminisce and share their personal stories of creating a world that everyone knows, but no one has ever seen.

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Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera at the 2013 D23 expo.





Pixar Secrets Revealed! Hear the Stories They Didn’t Want You to Know!

Saturday, August 15, 2015, 3:00 pm – Stage 28

Ever wonder where your favorite Pixar stories began? Hear the stories you don’t know about the classic films that you love. Pixar senior development executive Mary Coleman hosts this experience, welcoming the storytellers behind some of Pixar’s most successful films, including Darla K. Anderson (A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc.Cars, Toy Story 3), Mark Andrews (The IncrediblesRatatouilleBrave), Ronnie del Carmen (Up, Inside Out) and Dan Scanlon (CarsToy Story 3Monsters University), as they talk about the twists and turns of crafting a narrative and share some of the crazy story ideas that didn’t make the final cut.

Toy Story: 20 Years Later, the Original Crew Looks Back

Saturday, August 15, 2015, 4:30 pm – Stage 23

From flipbooks to feature films, animation has taken audiences to fantastical new worlds, far beyond the limits of any real-world setting. Pixar Animation Studios has been at the forefront of this evolution, blurring the line between art and technology and bringing beloved characters to life with heart and humor. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of 1995’s Toy Story, the first computer-animated feature film, join members of the original crew, including filmmakers John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, Galyn Susman, Ralph Eggleston, Sharon Calahan, Eben Ostby, Bob Pauley and Bill Reeves as they share their stories and the challenges they faced along the way.


Animation – Show Floor Exhibition

For the first time ever, Pixar Animation Studios is creating a show-floor experience at D23 EXPO. Pixar teams up with Walt Disney Animation Studios for an unforgettable adventure that showcases magic from both animation studios, featuring live demonstrations, presentations and autograph signings with top filmmakers, free giveaways and interactive displays. With highlights from films like Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Zootopia, Finding Dory and Moana, animation fans will get the inside scoop on their favorite films and characters. 

Say Aloha to John Lasseter’s Film-Themed Hawaiian Shirts

Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios John Lasseter takes Disney and Pixar animation to heart—literally. For nearly every film—from Finding Nemo and Wreck-It Ralph to Frozen and Inside Out, Lasseter has commissioned an exclusive movie-themed Hawaiian shirt. And those who know the Oscar®-winning storyteller know that he loves his Hawaiian shirts—and dons one for almost every occasion. Animation fans will see their favorite film characters “materialize” before their eyes in this colorful collection, which will be exhibited on the show floor.

Fans can take home their own shirt, thanks to Disney Store at D23 EXPO. This D23-exclusive Reyn Spooner-design features characters from all the feature films produced under the creative guidance of Lasseter. The simple, appealing collage joins many of Disney’s and Pixar’s most beloved recent characters on one wearable canvas. The shirt will retail for $99.95.

There’s so much to be excited about! The D23 expo will be held from August 14-16.

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