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How Pixar Employees Utilized Their Archives for The Incredibles 2

Behind The Scenes, Brad Bird, Incredibles 2, Pixar, Pixar Archives, Pixar Employees, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Nia • May 31, 2018

During my most recent visit to Pixar for an Incredibles 2 press event, which was a massive thrill in itself,  I was given an exclusive tour of their new archive facility. And it was definitely the cherry on top of a very fabulous two days at the studio. Inside the archives I learned how Brad Bird and his team went back in time to research the designs and characters for the Incredibles 2.

© 2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Pixar itself is a magical place, and I don’t have enough room in this post to write about how it meant to visit the studio for the first time (stay-tuned for an upcoming post about just that), but the archives are really something special.

Just think of your favorite Pixar film and then think about all the hard work that went into making it. All of the designs that were created in the 3+ years of developing the film are all archived in their new 15,000 square foot facility.

Originally the building was just a raw cement warehouse, but the folks at Pixar spent a few years making it perfect and customizing it to accommodate all of the designs. The facility is now a working space where employees from Pixar can come to visit and pull designs for their research.

The archives is so big that it could get a little creepy when you’re there by yourself; every time someone enters through the main door there’s a cute little doorbell that rings, which alerts whoever’s working that someone has entered the premises. *Cue dramatic music*

I wanted to spend days, hours, WEEKS in that building looking at each and every piece of art work but alas, I only had less than an hour inside.

Archives Manager, Juliet Roth, led the tour and has been with Pixar for 15 years. Everyone who works in the archives has a master’s degree in library science with an archive focus, or something similar. According to Juliet, “this is as much my job as a story artist is an artist that draws storyboards, we work really closely with the art and story teams in production, that’s where the majority of the materials are coming from. We also collect scripts from editorial, some animation drawings, and we also have a historical collection; which is more about the history of Pixar as a company, sort of what is culturally unique. What makes Pixar Pixar?”

(Photo by Marc Flores)

So, what does the Pixar Archives house exactly? And how did going back through the old designs help the artists prepare for the Incredibles 2?

  • The archives hold molds and maquettes of some of your favorite characters, like Mr. Incredible; some are full body while others showcase a range of emotions and expressions for the animators to study as they work. Artists were able to come into the archives and use these old designs as a starting point when re-creating the characters for the sequel. “They make the sculpts so they can sit on the animators desks and they can reference it as they’re animating all the smile lines, teeth and tongue and eye shapes, so we have a lot of them for all the main characters in The Incredibles. You can draw a character all you want, the drawings are really wonderful, but there’s nothing like bringing a character to life in 3 dimensions.”
  • The archivists work with the production team to integrate themselves into their pipeline. Once a design has served its purpose in production, such as going through art reviews and being approved by the director, it slowly makes its way into the archives. But it doesn’t stop there: the archivists spend time with the team, making sure the artists hand off important information, such as the context of the artwork that was created. It’s even important to know about the characters who didn’t make it in the final film or a character who might’ve started off as the villain but ended up the hero; whatever it is, they like to get the contextual information because the archivists are the “information experts in the future.”
  • The archives also hold all the concept art that was created during The Incredibles and the rest of Pixar’s feature films. In relation to the world of the Incredibles we saw heaps of collages from the first film, pieces assembled from copious magazines and other materials created for character and costume designs; there were also color scripts from Lou Romano; background roughs, character sketches, and original Tony Fucile model packs, which is basically a blue print of the main characters; Ralph Eggleston and Lou Romano gouache paintings; different versions of Edna Mode’s concept art, in each one you could see her attitude, despite it being completely different to what made it on film; and finally the tour included Tony Fucile’s Edna designs and expressions. It was pretty neat seeing what Edna could have looked like and how all of these different artists initially pictured her in their minds.

    (Photo by Marc Flores)

    (Photo by Marc Flores)

  • Ralph Eggleston and his team came to the archives prior to starting their work on the sequel 3 years ago. Eggleston was trying to work out designs for the Incredibles 2, particularly for all of the background characters. Since they had done so much work on the first film with unused characters and villains, they decided it was a good place to start and pull from, maybe even re-using old designs. You’ll definitely see a lot of the initial forgotten supers and background characters in the Incredibles 2 next month.

    (Photo by Marc Flores)

    (Photo by Marc Flores)

Some other fun things I found in the Pixar archives worth noting:

  • The building houses a collection of press clippings from the early days of Pixar, including clips from when Pixar was first founded and when Steve Jobs bought it; those artifacts go back to Juliet’s earlier quote of “what makes Pixar Pixar?” That thought alone blew my mind because the posts I write for Upcoming Pixar, and even this post, *might* somehow end up in the archives one day.
  • Before Pixar started making movies they sold software and hardware and they made some commercials; like the dancing Life Savers holes in Babies and the boxing Listerine in Boxer, which were both Pixar’s claim to fame before Toy Story. They had copies of the original software and items from the commercials mentioned on display. Those items all come from Pixar’s “historical collection.”
  • They even saved original crew gifts from the wrap parties of each feature film; for the first Incredibles they had given out t-shirts. I asked for a shirt but unfortunately they were out of stock.
  • The walls of the archive facility were decorated with original concept art from Brave, Up, Monsters Inc., and an even original character line-ups from Inside Out.
  • At the end of the building there were display cases that showcased a squash and stretch maquette of Sulley from Monstes Inc., samples of different Sulley concept art, a maquette of Woody’s original character design which was a ventriloquist dummy, and a maquette of Buzz Lightyear AKA Lunar Larry’s original design. There was even a printed card that showed a bunch of potential titles for Toy Story, my favorite being Toys in the Hood. The best part was seeing some of the bronze statues the employees at Pixar get after being there for 5, 10, 20 years, etc.

    (Photo by Marc Flores)

You could get lost in the Pixar archives and honestly, if that happened to me I’d be content living inside the building for the rest of my life. Although it was only a tour, I could see how important the archives are to the employees at Pixar and the company’s legacy. It’s amazing that the everyone at the company has a place like the archives to escape to, where they can venture into the past to study previous films and pull designs for research. It not only makes them stronger artists, but it makes the content coming from Pixar even more important and relevant. The more Pixar grows, the more designs and artifacts the archivists have to help continue to build the company’s legacy.

Don’t forget to grab your tickets to the Incredibles 2, which comes to cinemas on June 15th. Only 15 more days to go!

P.S. Do you have your super-suit packed and ready to go?

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It’s Incredibles Day! Here’s How Pixar Are Celebrating

Incredibles 2, Merchandise, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • May 14, 2018

Happy Incredibles Day! Incredibles 2 is just a tad over a month away – Pixar are building the excitement by releasing more and more teasers, merchandise, and offers, and even announcing today (May 14th) as Incredibles Day. So what exactly does Incredibles Day entail?

1. Later today, Pixar will be streaming a liveshow on YouTube

This liveshow will be taking us inside Pixar, and we’ve been promised a “super sneak peek at new swag, activities, obstacles, and more.” The video will be being led by actress Ashley Eckstein. It’ll be starting at 4PM Pacific time. Watch below:

2. There’s an exciting Twitter giveaway going on!

If you live in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco or Philadelphia, and you’re a fan of The Incredibles (which we’re sure you are), then follow the Twitter link below to enter the giveaway and be in with the chance of receiving a surprise today!

The surprises on offer are special edition posters, collectable merchandise, a pair of tickets to see Incredibles 2 in IMAX, or even a trip for two to the Incredibles 2 premiere in LA – flights included! The flights are being provided by Alaska Air, the company that Pixar teamed up with to create their super Incredibles themed plane.

3. Vintage Toy Ads have been released for Frozone, Elastigirl, and Mr Incredible toys (and they’re amazing)

Pixar have posted retro commercials for their new Incredibles toys and they’re beyond entertaining to watch. They even have theme songs! Watch them below:

 

We hope everyone’s Incredibles Day turns out super! If you were lucky enough to win a surprise in the Incredibles 2 Twitter giveaway, be sure to let us know what you won on our own Twitter! (@upcomingpixar)

In case you missed it over the weekend: Pixar also recognised Mother’s Day with an Elastigirl TV Spot, jam packed with clips of her being a more-than-incredible mom. Here’s the video below:

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Our Favorite Pixar Movies Are Taking Flight!

Incredibles 2, Pixar, Toy Story, WALL-E

Posted by Joanna • May 5, 2018

You may remember that last year, in the run-up to the release of Coco, Pixar teamed up with Southwest Airlines and unveiled a Coco themed airplane, and it seems like this is becoming somewhat of a trend.

To celebrate the opening of Toy Story Land in Shanghai, China Eastern Airlines worked with the Shanghai Disney Resort to create an entirely Toy Story themed plane. The outside is boldly painted with a giant Buzz Lightyear. Let’s hope his flying is flying rather than “falling with style” this time! It took its first flight at the end of April.

© Disney

And it’s not just the outside that’s been adorned with Toy Story characters and references – the inside really goes the extra mile. The ceiling is decorated with those familiar Toy Story clouds, and all the seats have one of the many popular characters on them, including Woody, Jessie, Rex, Trixie, and even Lotso (Lotso is a big thing in China – who knew?). Passengers are even served Toy Story themed refreshments, offered Toy Story themed headphones, and given commemorative Toy Story boarding passes to take away as a souvenir.

© Disney

But Toy Story isn’t the only Pixar movie franchise that has been upgraded to first class – today, Pixar revealed the all new Incredibles 2 Alaska Air plane! To celebrate Alaska Airlines Aviation Day, the plane was unveiled today in Seattle and it couldn’t look more super.

“These characters are among the most celebrated characters in the Pixar family. After waiting 14 years to see them on the big screen again, fans will love seeing them on their Alaska Airlines plane, too.”

(Incredibles 2 producers Nicole Grindle and John Walker)

Pixar also posted timelapse footage, showing how the Incredibles 2 plane came to life. Watch it below:

If you look closely, you’ll see a very concerned raccoon on the tail of the plane, almost as if it’s holding on for dear life. This raccoon has been hinted as being Jack Jack’s arch nemesis in the eagerly awaited Incredibles sequel.

It’s amazing, and oddly inspiring, to think that these planes are making flights in our skies at the moment – the sky’s the limit! Or is it? Here’s some news that’s a bit more cosmic in ambition: NASA have named two of their satellites after WALL-E and EVE, the lovebird robots from 2008’s WALL-E. They’re to be launched into space this weekend, on course for Mars!

The satellites are maybe a bit of a one-off thing, but it seems likely that Pixar themed airplanes will be something we’ll see again in the future! Let us know if you’re ever lucky enough to book a flight on one of them.

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‘Bravo, Edna’ – New Incredibles 2 Teaser

Incredibles 2, Pixar, The Incredibles 2, Trailer

Posted by Joanna • April 9, 2018

You may not have had the chance to watch the new teaser that Pixar released last week for the upcoming Incredibles 2 – this one heavily features the ‘iconic’, ‘explosive’ Edna Mode (no complaints here), and proves that our favourite superhero fashion designer is just as eccentric as ever. Watch the new teaser below:

Edna Mode was a firm favourite in the original The Incredibles, voiced by director Brad Bird. Aside from hearing famous fashion stars such as Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Andre Leon Talley singing Edna Mode’s praises, this teaser also provides us with some new, never-seen-before clips. These mainly take place in Edna’s stylish abode, and she appears to have created a brand for herself – the ‘Mode Collection’.

We’re also shown part of a scene between Helen and Bob Parr – Helen, or Elastigirl, is trying on a supersuit that is shocklingly not designed by Edna Mode. Understandably, the supersuit isn’t really up to par, and definitely not up to Helen Parr’s standards.

“Edna designed this?” “No! Some guy named Alexander Galbaki.”

We’re looking forward to seeing more Incredibles 2 content as the release date (June 15th) inches ever closer.

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Pixar’s 7 upcoming movies – everything we know about them so far

Dan Scanlon, Pixar, Suburban Fantasy Film

Posted by Joanna • March 6, 2018

Amidst all the excitement for the Academy Awards, you may have missed the news about Pixar’s schedule for their future movie releases. On March 1st, Disney announced the release dates for over 40 movies, including 7 new Pixar moviesSome we already know about, and some remain complete mysteries.

These next 7 Pixar movies will be released over the course of 4 years, 2018-2022. Have a look at the announced release dates below:

June 15 2018: Incredibles 2
June 21 2019: Toy Story 4
March 6 2020: Untitled Pixar Film
June 19 2020: Untitled Pixar Film
June 18 2021: Untitled Pixar Film
March 18 2022: Untitled Pixar Film
June 17 2022: Untitled Pixar Film

Now, we already know about Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 of course, but there’s very little information on the Pixar movies beyond 2019. It’s amazing to think that in exactly two years on this very day (March 6 2020), Pixar are planning to release a movie that we might know nothing about.

At last year’s D23, we did learn about a brand new, original Pixar movie directed by Monsters University‘s Dan Scanlon – “The Untitled Pixar Film That Takes You To A Suburban Fantasy World“. This film will take place in a world where unicorns and dragons are the norm – Scanlon describes it as “a mixture of the fantastic and everyday”. As this is the only Untitled Pixar Film that we have even a fraction of information on, it feels safe to assume that this intriguing film will occupy one of the 2020 spots.

The Untitled Pixar Film That Takes You to a Suburban Fantasy World was first announced at the 2017 D23

Both Pete Docter (Monsters Inc, Up, Inside Out) and Brian Fee (Cars 3) have been reported to be working on original films, but beyond that, this new movie schedule is full of mystery and our minds are already racing. Pixar are clearly feeling confidently ambitious by planning on releasing two movies in both 2020 and 2022. It’s also interesting to note that no Pixar movie has ever been released in March before, and now two March movies are on the table. Perhaps this is a sign of a change in marketing strategies, or just a byproduct of the release schedules for competing movies throughout the year. Should we expect to see more sequels on the horizon? If so, which films would be most likely to gain an addition to their franchise? And if Pete Docter and Brian Fee are indeed working on new, original films, what amazing worlds are they going to transport us to?

We’re stepping into the unknown now, and it feels great.

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Los Angeles to celebrate ‘Coco Day’ on February 27th

Coco, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • February 26, 2018

Tomorrow, February 27th, is a day that’s been marked down in Pixar fans’ diaries for a while now – it’s the day Coco will finally be released on Blu-ray and DVD. But now there’s even more reason to look forward to this date: Los Angeles is declaring Tuesday as ‘Coco Day in L.A.’, celebrating the film’s incredible worldwide success and its representation of the Latino community.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo, First District, is to declare ‘Coco Day in L.A.’ at the Los Angeles City Hall tomorrow morning. The ceremony will start at 9am, and director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla K Anderson, and Anthony Gonzalez (who lent his voice to the Coco protagonist Miguel) will be in attendance. The Mariachi Divas will also be performing “Un Poco Loco” and the award-winning “Remember Me“.

It’s not often that a movie has such a positive effect on the world that within months of its release, it has its very own day of celebration. But Coco is an instant classic that is sure to be remembered for many years to come, not just because of its resonating story and characters, but because of its wonderful representation of Latino culture. It is a movie that is incredibly deserving of all the success that has come its way. So, Happy (almost) Coco Day! How will you be celebrating?

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Incredibles 2 – posters, sneak peaks, and a ‘special look’ coming on the 14th

Incredibles 2, Pixar, Poster

Posted by Joanna • February 11, 2018

“It’s been too long, dahlings.”

Incredibles 2 is set to release on June 15th, over thirteen and a half years after the original The Incredibles came to theatres in November of 2004. Now that a sequel is on the very conceivable horizon, excitement is really mounting, especially with the promise of new trailers, posters, and sneak peaks.

Brand new Incredibles 2 posters have been cropping up for the New York Fashion week, and it just wouldn’t be right if none of them featured the iconic Edna Mode.

The other poster features Bob Parr ironing out his super suit – ironic since it seems that the plot of the long-awaited sequel appears to see Helen experiencing most of the action whilst Bob is left at home with Jack-Jack (although no doubt this will be more action-packed than expected).

If you’ve been keeping up with the 2018 Winter Olympics, you may have been surprised to see some cameos of our favourite family of supers. You can watch some of their brief appearances below:

They’re also teasing a ‘special look’ that will be shown on Wednesday, February 14th during the coverage of the Winter Olympics. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that some brand new clips will be shown, along with some plot details. I have a feeling the Winter Olympics might notice a significant spike in viewer numbers…
If you’re not so keen on watching winter sports or aren’t able to watch the ‘special look’ as it airs live, then don’t worry – we’ll keep you updated!

A quick update: Pixar have released another Incredibles 2 poster.

Not your everyday laundry basket.

Michael Giacchino also tweeted a video of director Brad Bird and himself teasing some work on the score of Incredibles 2. Giacchino wrote the score for The Incredibles, in addition to many other Pixar movies (most recently Coco) – there’s no doubt that this new score will be just as punchy and affecting as the original. Brad Bird also appears to be wearing a t-shirt featuring Jack Jack exhibiting some of his many superpowers! You can watch the video below:

Final update: It’s the day before the ‘special look’ is due to air during the Winter Olympics, and Pixar have just released another teaser poster.

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Coco takes center stage at the 2018 Annie Awards

Annie Awards, Awards, Cars 3, Coco, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • February 4, 2018

A huge congratulations is in order for all the talented Pixar employees who helped make Coco a reality – it took center stage at the Annie Awards ceremony last night by picking up 11 trophies!

Coco has been wowing audiences around the world since its release in Mexico last October – it has since picked up the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature, and has been nominated for an impressive number of awards. The whole Coco crew had already done themselves proud by receiving 13 nominations at the 2018 Annie Awards, but going away with 11 wins (including Best Animated Feature) at the ceremony last night was truly well deserved. Here are all of Coco‘s winning categories:

Best Animated Feature
Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production
Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Editorial in an Animated Feature Production

You can view the full breakdown on the Annie Awards site.

Amongst those accepting the trophy for Character Design was Daniela Strijleva (who created this incredible concept art for Héctor and his many disguises).

Anthony Gonzalez, at only 12 years old, won the Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting award for voicing the charming, kind-hearted protagonist Miguel. Adrian Molina was amongst those credited for not only the writing award, but also the music and directing awards.

Cars 3 was also nominated for 2 awards (Best Animated Feature and Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production) but failed to pick up any trophies, with Coco really shaping up to be the stand-out Pixar movie of 2017 (or indeed the stand-out movie of 2017).

The next big awards ceremony will be The Academy Awards – exactly one month away (4th March 2018) – in which Coco has been nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. We have a lot to say on the subject of the Oscars so stay tuned! As always, we’d love to hear your predictions.

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Coco came into my life at just the right time

Coco, in depth, Opinion Piece, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • January 17, 2018

(Coco spoilers ahead).

Has a Pixar movie ever been released at just the right time for you?

I finally saw Coco last Saturday – I saw it on my own in a quiet cinema, quiet enough for me to be the last person in the theatre by the time the credits were coming to an end. The final scenes of Coco resonated with me so much that I didn’t stop crying until the Pixar logo appeared again to signal the end of the movie. Usually I wouldn’t class ‘crying alone in public’ as a positive experience, but this was. It was cathartic; I could feel Joy and Sadness holding hands in my head. I think I found Coco so particularly poignant and affecting because I can relate to its themes so strongly – it feels like the movie came out at just the right time for me and has helped me confront my emotions.

This isn’t the first time I’ve felt that a Pixar movie has come into my life at just the right moment. I remember seeing Toy Story 3 with my close group of school friends when we were just entering our final year of school and starting to apply for universities. Monsters University reminded me amidst all my exams and assignments that succeeding academically isn’t all that life is. After graduating, I felt small and scared and powerless, but The Good Dinosaur encouraged me to accept my fears and face them with my head held high. I saw Cars 3 on its release date just a few hours after passing my driving test.

In Coco’s finale, Miguel sang to his great-grandmother Coco and managed to reach her. Fittingly, by hearing ‘Remember Me’, Coco’s memories of her father came flooding back, and her and Miguel were blessed with a moment of real connection and understanding. As someone who is currently losing her own grandmother to Alzheimer’s and dementia, this hit me hard. My granny can be sat in a room overflowing with her family, but look dreadfully alone and unsure. Most conversations with her are her retellings of old family stories which are slowly becoming jumbled and confused. If you ask her how her week was, you can see the frustration on her face as she fails to grasp onto slippery memories that never seem to be in the right place.

Miguel singing Mama Coco ‘Remember Me

But if you give my granny a book of poems, she reads them beautifully – she speaks with the confidence and character that I remember her having when I was younger. She doesn’t stumble over her words; she doesn’t have to struggle to remember anything. She just reads them, because they’re familiar to her. And suddenly I’m reminded of days I spent with her learning how to bake, spending summers, birthdays and Christmases with her, and listening to her (always expertly told) stories about our family going back generations. Miguel singing his great-grandmother Coco ‘Remember Me’ had the same effect as me handing my granny a book of poems. When Miguel succeeded in connecting with Coco, I felt that same wave of joy and relief as if I had just connected with my own grandmother and helped her break free temporarily from the haze and confusion of dementia. Coco came into my life at just the right time because it has encouraged me to try to have more of these meaningful moments with my granny while I still have the chance. And it’s reminded me that while my granny is slowly becoming lost, she’ll live on through our own memories and stories.

Sketch of Miguel and Mama Coco by co-director Adrian Molina

So is it just luck? Was I just lucky to have these movies to encourage me at the times I most needed them? I don’t think so. I think Pixar have a talent for creating movies that are naturally relatable and naturally strike a chord with people from all stages of life. It’s incredible that Pixar movies can feel so personal even though they’re made by thousands of people, for thousands of people. But by keeping the heartfelt messages at the very cores of their movies, they manage it.

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Coco – digital and Blu-ray release dates revealed

Blu-Ray, Coco, DVD, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • January 12, 2018

Coco has been making its voice known around the world since its initial release last October – it has since earned an impressive number of accolades, from leading the way in the Annie Awards nominations (with 13 in total), to most recently winning the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film and the Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (Remember Me).

Soon, we’ll be able to watch this award-winning movie at home. Pixar just revealed the dates for its digital and Blu-ray releases in the US. Coco will be available digitally and on Movies Anywhere on February 13th, two weeks before you can pick up the Blu-ray on February 27th. You can watch the trailer Pixar released alongside this news below:

The Blu-ray and digital releases will include a number of bonus features as usual – we can all look forward  to hearing the filmmaker commentary with directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson. We can learn about the background of Coco through multiple featurettes, and gain an even better insight into Pixar’s film-making process with some deleted scenes introduced by Unkrich and Molina.

We have just over a month to wait until we can have the luxury of being able to watch Coco as many times in a row as we want… You can pre-order right now.

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