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Sanjay’s Super Team – The Pixar Short of The Week

Pixar Short of the Week, Sanjay Patel, Sanjay's Super Team, Short Film, Shorts

Posted by Simoa • January 12, 2019

“Sanjay’s Super Team” emerged the victor in this week’s poll, which I’m very happy about! I’ve been waiting to delve back into this short ever since we launched our short film series. Premiering before The Good Dinosaur in 2015, it was met with unanimous praise and approval.

Inspired by director Sanjay Patel’s childhood, this mostly true story wasn’t, at first. Patel was actually very reluctant to make it a personal film, but some encouragement from both his father and John Lasseter prompted him to shine the spotlight on his younger self. “Sanjay’s Super Team” is not only Pixar’s first film with a nonwhite protagonist, but the first to feature a non Western culture as well.

There are two rituals being practiced in this short. One is sacred while the other is a distinctly American pastime. Sanjay and his father sit on opposite sides of the room which further illustrates the contrast between their two activities. Note how the television and prayer box are the same shape, the antennae mirroring the incense sticks. Also note how Sanjay is on the left (West) side, while his father is on the right (East) side.

The boy runs to the television set and gleefully begins watching his favorite superhero cartoon. His father is quiet as he kneels before his prayer box. He rings a bell which signals to Sanjay that it’s time to pray. The boy ignores him and instead raises the volume on the TV. But his father has the remote, and he turns the TV off and takes away his son’s action figure too. A thoroughly uninterested Sanjay joins his father, sighing about the whole ordeal. He sneaks the toy back from under his father’s nose and its cape accidentally catches fire from the flame in the oil lamp. Sanjay ends up blowing out the flame and is transported to a cavernous temple. Sanjay is all alone in this dark, cold place, until a monster unfurls from the giant oil lamp in the center of the temple, a creature made of darkness. The monster proceeds to destroy the temple. Sanjay lights the oil lamp, and three Hindu gods come to life: Vishnu, Durga, and Hanuman.

Now the temple is filled with both light and warmth. The deities evoke tranquility in the midst of chaos. They attempt to quell the monster’s attacks, but only succeed momentarily. It’s up to Sanjay to restore peace, and he does so by smashing his action figure against the oil lamp. The reverberating echoes, not unlike the ringing of his father’s bell, calm the monster and he departs peacefully. As the older Patel remarked, the monster is a metaphor for little Sanjay’s own chaotic energy. His father also wanted him to be calm. And when little Sanjay is finally still, he reaches enlightenment, much like the monster who ceases his destruction of the temple.

Sanjay receives a blessing from Vishnu, along with his repaired toy, and returns home. His father allows him to watch TV again once he sees that the boy has no interest in his customs. But Sanjay now has a much better understanding – and appreciation – of his father’s religion and beliefs.

Although “Sanjay’s Super Team” lacks dialogue, it’s a symphony of sounds, as well as light and color. Mychael Danna’s score achieves an epic and adventurous sound, that blends in seamlessly with the chimes of both bells and light. The short’s bold designs and lighting also sets it apart from other Pixar features. The light behaves much differently than it would normally. There’s a glossy sheen to the light and textures within the temple, making the deities almost appear translucent.

There’s also a gracefulness to the short, evident in the movements of the deities. That was a result of studying Indian dances, such as Bharatanatyam, Odissi, and Kathakali.

But there’s gracefulness in the narrative too. The story grew from Patel’s own experiences of ignoring his family’s culture and instead gravitating to an American one. He didn’t want to be different at all. “I wanted my name to be Travis, not Sanjay.” So the short’s conclusion, in which he envisions the deities as his own superheroes and proudly shows his artwork to his father, is especially touching. Sanjay realizes that he can unite his passions and his father’s traditions, that he can embrace his Indian heritage and his American one.

“If I could, I would go back to the 1980s and give my younger self this short. I want to normalise and bring a young brown boy’s story to the pop culture zeitgeist. To have a broad audience like Pixar’s see this … it is a big deal.”

“Sanjay’s Super Team” is not only a gift for Sanjay Patel’s younger self, but for the audience as well.

Fun facts:

  • Sanjay doesn’t have an age – at least his older counterpart doesn’t know how old he actually is!
  • The kid art in the end credits was drawn by the children of Pixar employees.
  • Vishnu, the blue deity, represents Sanjay’s father. He’s known as the preserver, and that’s what Sanjay’s father did with his traditions.
  • Vishnu’s blue color is also central to the short, as the flame is blue and so are Sanjay’s pajamas.
  • The motel that Patel’s parents managed is also the same one in the short.

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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.

SANJAY'S SUPER TEAMSANJAY'S SUPER TEAM

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.

SANJAY'S SUPER TEAM

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.

INSIDE OUT

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

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).

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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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Review: Sanjay’s Super Team and The Good Dinosaur

Pete Sohn, Review, Sanjay Patel, Sanjay's Super Team, Short Film, The Good Dinosaur

Posted by Simoa • November 24, 2015

Remarkably brief, “Sanjay’s Super Team” weaves together a story so unlike anything Pixar has ever produced. Quite a feat considering that it’s a short film. It probably would have made a better pairing with Inside Out back in June, because the volcanoes and prehistoric world of “Lava” would have suited The Good Dinosaur better. Nonetheless, “Sanjay’s Super Team” is a real, wondrous delight.

Based on a true story from director Sanjay’s Patel’s childhood, it involves a prayer ritual with his father. Sanjay is dressed up like one of his favorite cartoon superheroes, and has little interest in his father’s tradition. He wants to watch the caped heroes on TV, but his father calls him for prayer. Sanjay reluctantly joins him, bringing his action figure along. Sanjay soon becomes immersed in his father’s prayers, imagining himself with the three Hindu gods. They become even more heroic than the cartoons he loves so much.

In the small cabinet where Sanjay’s imagination and the deities come alive, it’s a vibrant world. The gods glow in translucent shades of blue, pink, and green. It’s a great contrast to the rather drab and ordinary world of the family living room. Even if you don’t practice the Hindu faith, the story is universal. Sanjay learns to appreciate and take pride in his culture. The photographs featuring Sanjay Patel with his father at the short’s conclusion may also make you feel a little misty eyed.

And now for the main feature!

65 million years ago, dinosaurs never went extinct. That’s the initial premise of The Good Dinosaur, but rather than show the immediate aftermath of the asteroid passing, the story takes place millions of years later still. The dinosaurs continued to evolve and now they’re farmers. It’s a concept that would lead you to scratch your head, but an original, intriguing one that surrounds a familiar story. TheGoodDinosaur5612ef11d27c8
A newly growing Apatosaurus family are the farmers here. Poppa (Jeffrey Wright) and Momma (Frances McDormand) are expecting three baby dinos to hatch from their eggs. First is Libby, who is mischievous from the moment she hatches. Buck is second, breaking through his egg feet first and charging about. One of the film’s early funny moments centers on Buck finding a stick and gleefully whacking things with it, like his father’s leg and the last, unhatched egg. This egg is the largest of the three and houses a baby dinosaur much smaller than Libby and Buck and already much more timid. This is Arlo. Right away his entry into the world clues us into a key idea: the world is much too big for little Arlo.
Soon Arlo (Raymond Ochoa) grows, and along with Libby (Maleah Padilla) and Buck (Marcus Scribner), works on the family farm. Each is assigned a task. Libby and Buck excel in their respective roles, but not Arlo. He’s always messing up his chores (along with everyone else’s), and he scares too easily. This fact is not lost on Buck. It seems that Arlo is never going to make his mark. Literally, it’s an imprint or paw print made on the silo built by Poppa to store their food. Libby and Buck along with Momma and Poppa have made their marks on the silo and in the more figurative sense.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR - Pictured (L-R): Momma, Poppa, Arlo, Buck, Libby. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Poppa aims to help Arlo make his mark and get through his fear. Poppa loves Arlo tremendously and believes in him too. When the young dinosaur is too scared to try or see past his fear, Poppa encourages him. He can sense Arlo’s potential. “You’re me and more.” is a beautiful line that really stands out. It’s meant to give the young dinosaur confidence. It also solidifies Poppa’s love for Arlo and his belief in him.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR - Pictured: Spot.

After Poppa, Arlo forms his most meaningful relationship with a feral human boy named Spot (Jack Bright). The two meet under less than ideal circumstances and Spot frightens Arlo at first. Though tiny, he’s ferocious, but adorable too. Spot moves like an animal and as director Pete Sohn said, “It’s really fun to push Spot’s canine quality. We want it to be clear that he reacts like an animal in the beginning, but there’s a boy deep, deep down.” Though he belongs to the wild, Spot is very much a regular, rambunctious little boy.
Arlo meets more friends and foes along the way. The T-Rexes are the most impressive of the bunch, friendly and fearsome. These rexes are ranchers who herd longhorns and they agree to help Arlo find his way, but not before he gives them a hand with their lost herd. What’s so inspired about the rexes is that they move like cowboys but in a believable way. Those famous little arms really do resemble cowboys in their movements. The rexes help Arlo overcome his fear while also letting him know that fear isn’t the worst thing. And they’re such a funny, memorable group. Butch is the father, voiced by Sam Elliot, and speaks in a rich baritone voice that recalls steely cowboys in westerns. It’s quite a perfect match. Anna Paquin as Ramsey, Butch’s daughter, is totally convincing with her twang. AJ Buckley as Ramsey’s brother Nash is also excellent.

A TRIO OF T-REXES - An Apatosaurus named Arlo must face his fears (and three impressive T-Rexes) in Disney•Pixar's THE GOOD DINOSAUR. Featuring the voices of AJ Buckley, Anna Paquin and Sam Elliott as the T-Rexes, THE GOOD DINOSAUR opens in theaters nationwide Nov. 25, 2015. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The score by Mychel and Jeff Danna is fantastic, giving the movie its western sound to match the look.

Like most Pixar films, The Good Dinosaur is a buddy picture about two unlikely buddies. The progression in Arlo and Spot’s eventual friendship happens in such an organic way. Spot as the human takes on the role of dog, and just like a dog, he’s fiercely loyal to Arlo. The latter too becomes a protective “owner.” Both support each other and learn quite a lot. Spot doesn’t speak, so there are moments within the film with absolutely no dialogue. One scene in particular, with its wordless poignancy, will have you reaching for tissues.
The Good Dinosaur is also about self-discovery. Arlo is making two journeys; one back home and one to find himself. It sounds cliché, but the script by Meg LaFauve pulls it off. Arlo is able to tap into that unknown potential Poppa wanted to draw out. This is his journey from timidity to confidence. Arlo gets to prove himself and show that he is indeed made of so much more.
The story here isn’t particularly groundbreaking, but it is deceptively simple. A boy and his dog, a journey of self-discovery, and learning to see through fear – these three main ideas play out against a backdrop of stunning visuals. The real strength of The Good Dinosaur lies in the artwork and designs. Wide shots feature the most breathtaking, expansive scenery. Jaw dropping is another apt descriptor.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR (Pictured) The T-Rexes. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR - Pictured: Arlo. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Early on, Sohn stressed the fact that nature was another character, an antagonist. This world is perilous, filled with frightening beauty. “We didn’t want it to feel like a walk in the park. This world feels big – even to a dinosaur.” Arlo actually figures so small in the foreground that the size of the world is quite overwhelming. It’s rather striking that such a huge, unpredictable landscape could lend itself to moments of stillness and silence. There are sequences that allow you to just take in the scenery, admire simple but gorgeous details on leaves and the glassy surface of a lake.
A film about dinosaurs and a small boy who acts like a dog could easily turn trite in the hands of lesser filmmakers. But The Good Dinosaur is somewhat unexpected. The jokes and gags aren’t ever forced. There’s even one surreal sequence that sent the audience at my screening into hysterics. And who could forget, “This is Dream Crusher. He makes sure I don’t have unrealistic goals.”?
We may never know what Bob Peterson’s original film looked like, but I’m confident that Pete Sohn and his crew gave us another stellar Pixar feature. This film is a sleeper hit. I wouldn’t be surprised if people overlooked or ignored it in favor of Inside Out. Their loss, really. This is such a tender, moving film, one that examines the love between two friends and shows just how vulnerable and sensitive little boys and dinosaurs can be. The Good Dinosaur is indeed good, and more.

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First look at “Sanjay’s Super Team”!

Sanjay Patel, Sanjay's Super Team, Short Film

Posted by Simoa • October 14, 2015

The great thing about two Pixar films in the same year means four films in total. Audiences also get treated to a short film preceding the full length feature. If you’re excited for The Good Dinosaur, we guess that your excitement is doubled for “Sanjay’s Super Team.” We got to see some really incredible art work last month, and now thanks to Yahoo! Movies, we’ve got an exclusive clip which you can watch below.

Sanjay1

What I really love about this short clip is the juxtaposition of the art styles. The cartoon Sanjay is watching has a classic, hand drawn appeal, while he and his father are glossier and CG. But they’re still different from the usual Pixar style. We also get a lot of story in just under 40 seconds. The entire short clocks in at seven minutes, and everything that we’ve seen so far proves it’ll be a visual and narrative wonder.

Director Sanjay Patel has expressed his enthusiasm in telling a story that most mainstream Americans- Pixar’s target audience- aren’t familiar with. This is the first time Pixar has told the story of a nonwhite protagonist. To be able to blend that with religion and fantasy is definitely super.

“Sanjay’s Super Team” will premiere alongside The Good Dinosaur on Thanksgiving this year.

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Two gorgeous new stills unveiled for “Sanjay’s Super Team”!

Sanjay Patel, Sanjay's Super Team

Posted by Simoa • July 6, 2015

Even as Inside Out dazzles in its theater run, buzz has been steadily building for Pixar’s second 2015 feature, The Good Dinosaur. The short that’s paired with the latter film is similarly intriguing. “Sanjay’s Super Team” represents a bold departure for Pixar both visually and thematically. Inspired by director Sanjay Patel’s childhood, the short explores his relationship to the Hindu religion his father devoutly practiced, but which he felt less than enthusiastic about. USA Today has shared two new images from the short along with further details on the plot and story.

Sanjay1

Sanjay2

It’s definitely a striking and lush visual style previously unseen in Pixar films. Producer Nicole Paradis Grindle describes it as originating from a “very different cultural place than all the other stories we’ve told before. And for kids who come from these backgrounds to see themselves on screen, it’s exciting for us.”

“Sanjay’s Super Team” will rely on no dialogue, but Mychael Danna, the Oscar winning composer for Life of Pi, supplies the music.

We can’t wait to see and hear the finished product! “Sanjay’s Super Team” will open alongside The Good Dinosaur on November 25th.

 

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‘Sanjay’s Super Team’ marks two firsts for Pixar

Sanjay Patel, Sanjay's Super Team, Short Film, The Good Dinosaur

Posted by Simoa • April 29, 2015

For the first time, Pixar has two original films that will be released this year. The Good Dinosaur will follow Inside Out in November, and with it, a brand new short.

‘Sanjay’s Super Team’ will be the first Pixar film starring a character of color. Director Sanjay Patel drew on his childhood experiences to create the 7 minute short, which chronicles a Hindu prayer ritual with his father.

It’s also the first time religion is the subject in a Pixar film. The short concerns Sanjay daydreaming about the Hindu gods as ancient superheroes, not unlike Marvel’s The Avengers. As Rebecca Keegan of the LA Times writes: “As the daydream progresses, the color, light and animation of the film grows increasingly dazzling and cosmic, and Sanjay grows closer to understanding his father’s inner world.”

 

Patel is the third Asian American director at Pixar, joining Ronnie del Carmen, co director of Inside Out, and Pete Sohn, director of The Good Dinosaur. He was candid in describing the difficulties of embracing his Indian heritage as a boy and even into adulthood. Nevertheless, Pixar chief John Lasseter was enthusiastic about “celebrating the personal side of the story.” This could be the beginning of a shift at Pixar with more racially diverse casts and directors helming their future projects. That of course is an exciting prospect, and Patel explains why.

 

“If I could, I would go back to the 1980s and give my younger self this short. I want to normalize and bring a young brown boy’s story to the pop culture zeitgeist. To have a broad audience like Pixar’s see this … it is a big deal. I’m so excited about that.”

‘Sanjay’s Super Team’ will premiere at France’s Annecy International Film Festival in June, before it comes to theaters nationwide with The Good Dinosaur on November 25th.

 

 

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