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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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New Coco character Pepita is inspired by Mexican alebrijes

Coco, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • August 25, 2017

When the poster for Coco’s premiere at Mexico’s Morelia International Film Festival was revealed at the beginning of last month, many of us noticed some familiar characters, including Miguel, Mama Coco, and Dante. But the identity of the strange winged-cat-creature at the bottom of the poster continued to baffle us all – until today!

The beautiful new character Pepita was exclusively revealed today on Remezcla – a news site focusing on new and emerging Latin culture and media. Pepita is based on an alebrije, which is an amazingly colourful Mexican sculpture of a fantastical animal. Particularly notable is the stylistic use of colour blocking and striking patterns. These influences are very apparent when looking at Pepita – a winged cat with horns, talons on her back feet, and contrasting colours of red, green, yellow and blue.

Pepita from Pixar’s Coco

Pepita will act as a spiritual guide in the Land of the Dead. As alebrijes aren’t traditionally associated with Día de los Muertos, it will be interesting to see what kind of creative spin the Coco team have given the holiday. She also won’t have any dialogue, so the character has probably been quite a challenge to get right. Pixar always do a wonderful job when it comes to animating communication without any words (think of Partly Cloudy, Piper, WALL•E, and The Good Dinosaur), so I have no doubt that Pepita will have just as much personality and emotion (if not more!) despite the lack of speech.

Coco will come to US theatres on November 22nd, and UK theatres on January 19th.

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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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Pixar reveals an all-Latino cast for Coco (and a new poster!)

Coco, Lee Unkrich, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • June 6, 2017

Along with a beautiful new poster, Pixar released details today of the large cast of characters that we can look forward to seeing in Coco later this year, all voiced by actors of Latino descent (including Gabriel Iglesias, Renée Victor, Sofía Espinosa, and Edward James Olmos). It’s worth remembering that Pixar put a lot of effort into making the cast of Brave entirely Scottish or of Scottish descent (save a few lines of dialogue, like the now-essential John Ratzenberger cameo), so it’s great to see them doing the same and more for Coco.

Information on the cast reveal can be found on Oh My Disney. 18 characters have been revealed, many of them relatives of the main character Miguel, so it seems like we might be seeing a big family reunion in the Land of the Dead. Even though each character is given just a brief description, this new information has really fleshed out the world in which Coco is taking place. We’ve learned that Miguel’s family comes from a long line of shoemakers, and the business was created by his great-great grandmother Mamá Imelda. “The matriarch of the Rivera family”, she is bound to be a strong, interesting character that I’m sure many of us are looking forward to meeting. It also seems like there might be a bit of tension between the musicians and the shoemakers in his extended family…

With Coco being released in under 6 months, we can definitely begin to look forward to seeing more trailers, teasers and posters. In fact, a new trailer is expected to land later this week! Director Lee Unkrich has posted pictures on Twitter of some of the voice actors – Gabriel Iglesias and Edward James Olmos – at Pixar Studios recording lines for the movie.

And the continued support from Jorge R. Gutierrez, the director of The Book of Life which also centred around Día de los Muertos, is still as heart-warming as ever.

Coco is set to release in North American theatres on November 22nd 2017.

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Watch The First Teaser Trailer for Coco!

Coco, Lee Unkrich, Trailer

Posted by Nia • March 15, 2017

It’s here! Pixar’s love letter to Mexico! Today the studio released the first of many trailers for their upcoming Day of the Dead inspired film Coco. It is certainly fantastic being able to see these characters we’ve merely read about for months finally breathing with life.

From the first few seconds of the footage alone, it’s obvious this film is going to be spectacular in terms of character design, color, setting, and music.

We instantly bond with Miguel, a young aspiring guitarist, as he lights candles in remembrance for Ernesto de la Cruz, a famous Mexican actor and musician. It’s even later hinted that the famous personality might be Miguel’s father – which is fitting because it’s obvious Miguel has a natural talent after he mimics Cruz’s notes on the guitar.

In the trailer, we see how Miguel reaches the Land of the Dead and what this new world and characters within it will look like. We also get to see Dante, the Xolo dog, in action there – as playful as ever as he rolls around a bridge that appears to be constructed out of flower petals.

Suffice to say, we want more and can’t wait until the film is released on November 22nd.

P.S. We need to hear more of Ernesto de la Cruz’s music!!!

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Check Out The New Poster for Coco!

Coco, Lee Unkrich, Poster

Posted by Nia • March 13, 2017

Lee Unkrich, the director of Coco, released a brand new poster for the upcoming film on Friday:

The poster is colorful and heaps of fun, as it depicts one of the characters of the film, Dante – a hairless Mexican dog, otherwise known as a Xoloitzcuintle. It’s also hard not to notice the character being playfully pet by a skeleton whilst what appears to be glowing flower petals float away to the left.

And yes… you certainly read that correctly! We will finally be seeing a trailer for Unkrich’s second feature film THIS week. Seriously, we can hardly wait.

Coco is set to be released this November.

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