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.