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Coco Day in Los Angeles

Adrian Molina, Coco, Darla K. Anderson, Lee Unkrich

Posted by Nia • February 28, 2018

Well, it’s official: February 27th is Coco Day in Los Angeles. Yesterday the City of Angels honored Pixar’s 19th film at a ceremony in City Hall by L.A. City Council Member Gil Cedillo. The honor was not only inspired by the most recent DVD/Blu-Ray release of the film, but the fact that Coco is the first animated film to feature nearly an entire Latino cast. Most of the ensemble has roots in Los Angeles, which made the ceremony very special for some.

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

The honors were respectfully given to Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson, the Director and Producer of Coco, and these members of the cast were also there to celebrate the success of the film and show their support to the local Latino community: Anthony Gonzalez (Miguel), Renee Victor (Abuelita), Gabriel Iglesias (Clerk), Alfonso Arau (Papa Julio), Selene Luna (Tia Rosita), Lombardo Boyar (Mariachi/Gustavo), Blanca Araceli (Emcee), Dyana Ortelli (Tia Victoria) and Carlos Moreno Jr.

Anthony Gonzalez and the The Mariachi Divas even treated those in attendance with some fan-favorite songs from Coco: “Un Poco Loco” and the Oscar-nominated “Remember Me.”

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Coco is the first Pixar film to be given a day of celebration and it’s so obvious why – between the depiction of the Latino culture and Day of the Dead, on top of the heartfelt story tackling death and fulfilling your dreams, it’s no wonder that Coco soared it’s way into the hearts of millions. We don’t think anyone’s going to forget about this film anytime soon, and we can only hope it opens up more films that have Latino leads and other stories that focus on underrepresented characters in animation.

Stay-tuned for the Oscar’s this Sunday to see if Coco takes home the gold for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song.

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Coco and the Importance of Death

Adrian Molina, Coco, in depth, Lee Unkrich, Opinion Piece

Posted by Nia • January 22, 2018

Pixar isn’t afraid to tackle death and loss in their films; it’s a prevalent theme in almost every story and even an obstacle that so many of their beloved characters need to tackle to move on and grow. Death is featured at the start of Finding Nemo, when Marlin discovers his wife and children have been brutally eaten by a barracuda. And it’s obviously there in Up, as we follow Carl and Ellie through their beautiful relationship when they meet as children, get married, and until the very end with Ellie dying due to old age. There’s even the loss of growing up and leaving your childhood behind in Toy Story 3 when Andy packs up his stuff for college and ends up leaving his beloved toys with Bonnie. Although Finding Nemo and Up have those themes featured at the beginning of the films, the entire story does not spend it’s time focusing on how that loss has affected the characters, what happens when those characters die, or how they’re supposed to deal with that empty gap in their lives. It’s simply a tool to move the characters from one spot to the other to fulfill the other story the studio wanted to tell at that time.

But with Coco, Pixar’s latest film, death takes the helm and leaves room to open up conversation about that often-taboo topic. The film would simply not exist if it weren’t for death and the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead.

Coco is an important film for not only acknowledging the Mexican culture faithfully by embracing their traditions to a tee, but by also being a place where families can come together to discuss something that is a part of everyone’s lives, no matter their age, race, or religion; and most importantly, a place where they can fondly look back and remember all the cherished memories of loved ones no longer with them.

When I was 9-years-old my grandmother passed away from Leukemia – that was the first time I had heard the word death, the first time I had seen the mourning and the blackness. I saw the tears before but I never put two and two together. Now there was a face to death, a person that I once knew who was no longer on this earth.

I understood that my grandmother was gone but not the severity of it all. One day after she passed, I had caught my mother sitting alone, watching old VHS tapes of my grandmother. She was sitting quietly in front of the TV crying. The VHS tapes were showcasing happier times of my grandmother laughing and dancing, full of health and beauty. At that age I thought nothing of it but continued to my room, where I most likely started playing with my toys or finished my homework.

There was never really a time for my parents to talk about death with me because my grandmother’s passing happened so suddenly. I was thrown into the topic and because of that, I feared the death of my friends and my family. I didn’t want anyone to die and I didn’t really understand where they went – even though in church, especially with my Greek Orthodox upbringing, I was told everlasting life existed in places like heaven.

I was lucky to have another set of grandparents who I spent my childhood with. My other grandmother didn’t pass away until 2016, and I’m still left with one surviving grandfather who is in his early nineties. Though because of my initial brush with death at 9, I feared for the day when my other grandparents would pass away. I would leave them silly letters around the house when I visited in the summer telling them that I would never forget them and I would always remember them. I didn’t want them to go anywhere, and I wanted to stay in that moment surrounded by them, forever.

I saw Coco with my family and like so many others, it brought me back to all the wonderful memories I had with all of my grandparents. Just like when Miguel’s family came together in the end to celebrate the life of their ancestors, even the ones they didn’t know in their lifetime, I came together with my own family to discuss friends and family from days gone by. After the film we talked about all the good times we had together and laughed away our tears. We most certainly remembered them and most importantly, we remembered all the great things about their lives and how they helped us become the people we are today.

It’s important for animated films like Coco to feature death so prominently in the story. Animated films are mostly targeted towards younger audiences, which makes it even more special for children to experience themes like death with their families earlier on and to figure out what it means to them in their own time. It opens up opportunities for children to ask questions about what happens when loved ones die and for parents not to shield their children from something that happens to all things in time. It’s also vital to speak to children about death and to embrace all the ugly emotions that come with it. With the fear and sadness comes the happiness and love when one is faced with the warm memories of those who have passed. It’s OK to cry, to get emotional, and to discuss this sensitive topic; luckily we have films like Coco to help open up that opportunity for all.

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Coco releases in Mexico and it feels like the world is already a better place

Coco, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • October 27, 2017

Coco released in Mexican theatres today, and floods of compliments, congratulations, and thank yous have been filling up the Twitter feeds of directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina. It must be an incredibly exciting time for Pixar’s Coco crew to see their 6 years of hard work really paying off and affecting people so deeply and positively.

Adrian Molina tweeted a sketch of Miguel and Mama Coco to celebrate Coco’s Mexican release.

Here are just a small number of the many touching comments that have been retweeted by the directors:

“It’s the best movie I’ve ever seen. It is absolutely magnificent. Thank you”

“Coco had me laughing, singing and crying. Thank you & Pixar for making such a beautiful movie based on my culture.”

“Thank you thank you thank you so much!!I just saw coco and I can’t stop crying! You represented Mexico in a beautiful way! I LOVED IT!”

These in addition to the tweets that simply say ‘thank you’ or ‘congratulations’ are so, so heartwarming. I can’t imagine how immensely proud, relieved and grateful the crew are feeling right now. It will be a while before I get to see the movie for myself, but its release in Mexico has already made the world feel brighter and warmer.

Coco releases in US theatres on the 22nd of November – just under a month away! Let’s hope these positive reviews just keep on coming.

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New Coco Clip Released: Rescue and Reunion in the Land of the Dead

Adrian Molina, Coco, Lee Unkrich, Trailer

Posted by Nia • October 20, 2017

Alas! A brand new clip has been released from Coco, Pixar’s upcoming film.

It’s a brilliant clip, but it’s also full of a few spoilers. You can watch the clip at the link below, in one of Pixar’s recent Tweets.

In the clip you will see a charming little musical number done by Miguel, some more gorgeous designs of the Land of the Dead, and Miguel FINALLY interacting with Ernesto de la Cruz.

Pixar, you’re killing us with these clips! Luckily November 22nd is almost a month away!

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Meet Hector, The Skeleton With A Big Heart

Adrian Molina, Coco, Lee Unkrich

Posted by Nia • August 21, 2017

Since Coco was announced, which itself feels like many moons ago, there has been loads of anticipation for the film and the Dia de los Muertos story it promises audiences. In a recent article released by Entertainment Weekly, they revealed more about Hector, one of the supporting characters who’s going to take the film by storm. When Miguel accidentally enters the Land of the Dead, it’s Hector who helps guide him through the world.

Hector is voiced by Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, and Coco is Gael’s first time doing voice over work for animation and even singing on film. He was initially drawn towards this project due to Pixar’s strong storytelling techniques and the fact they’re tackling such a huge Mexican tradition.

“Dealing with a tradition that is very generous and very open, you can have many points of view and many takes on that tradition, and I was really curious what type of approach they were going to have, but the one they’re going for is fantastic. The filmmakers have done a really great job in doing a big investigation and an amalgam of different traditions that go on in different parts of Mexico, but also explaining that it’s not about establishing one single way of celebrating the Day of the Dead. There are many ways, and Coco, the way they approach it, is a really beautiful one.”

Not only was the story a large part of Gael accepting the project, but he was also inspired by the character he was going to bring to life. Hector is unique to the previous roles that Gael is famous for, such as Rodrigo in Mozart in the Jungle and Julio in Y Tu Mamá También.

“He’s almost like Baloo in The Jungle Book — he’s a confident and fun guy to be with, but at the same time, he’s having a very deep existential problem. He’s living an interesting dichotomy in the Land of the Dead. We’re at a turning point where most men want to be close to their kids, and this is something that three generations ago wasn’t incorporated in society. The man was at work, then would enjoy the kids, but it wasn’t like they had that emotional, physical, and practical need to be close to the kids. But now we do experience that — me, as a son, and as a father, I can tell you, you want to be close to your kids. And this is something that the character is going through. Little by little you start to understand the battle he’s been fighting. Finding points of encounter between something you enjoy doing or something that you love, like music, and the time that the family requires. It’s almost like a crisis point. It’s something we’re all finding ways how to make that better. That’s Hector’s spiritual beginning, or his departure point when this film starts.”

From all of the trailers and the recent content that’s been released from Pixar, it’s obvious that Coco is going to have a strong focus on family, especially one’s ancestry and learning to appreciate where one has come from.

“What’s so fantastic about this movie is that it really taps into interesting critical points of our understanding of our existence as a collective, and one of them is the family aspect. In general, the family conversation has become incredibly fluid. It can turn into different shapes and forms, and we’re trying to talk about and establish new ways of how a family can be. At the same time, there is something really, really deep inside of this question that family is the foundation of our society. In a sense, we’re questioning the family as a concept and as an end, and that’s something that is really interesting and pushes the audience’s appreciation about these issues.”

We’re incredibly excited at Upcoming Pixar to be immersed in the music and culture that is just bursting through the images in all of the Coco designs. The film is set to premiere in cinemas this November 22nd.

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Coco to premiere at Mexico’s Morelia International Film Festival

Coco, Poster

Posted by Joanna • July 6, 2017

Very fittingly, Coco is set to have its world-premiere at Mexico’s Morelia International Film Festival on October 20th, over a month before the US release date.

The Morelia Film Festival’s Twitter announced the news yesterday, posting a video of Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina (directors), and Darla Anderson (producer) expressing their delight in having Coco featured as an opening night movie at this festival’s 15th anniversary.

Adrian Molina describes Coco as:

“the first Pixar movie inspired by the lovely people, the beautiful traditions, and the culture of Mexico, so we are honoured to have the opportunity to launch it there first.”

A new poster has been produced for the festival, and it’s beautiful – it has the same bright colours as the logo, but some familiar characters and objects can be seen in amongst the brush strokes forming the iconic skull representing Día de los Muertos. Mama Coco takes centre stage, and the skull’s teeth seem to be formed by the bridge between the land of the dead and the land of the living that we saw in the latest trailer.

Here’s hoping Coco helps in making Morelia’s 15th film festival its best yet!

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