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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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Happy New Year! What to look forward to in 2016…

Andrew Stanton, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich

Posted by Nia • January 2, 2016

Happy New Year Pixar fans! As Simoa discussed in the previous post, 2015 was quite the year for Pixar films. We had the honor of witnessing not one, but TWO fantastic films from the renowned animation studio. I won’t go into detail about Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur, but those two films and the shorts that came with it prove there are only great things to come from Pixar.

The biggest aspect to look forward to in 2016 is in fact Finding Dory, which comes out on June 17th. Earlier this week, Pixar released a still that featured two new gorgeous characters from the film: Destiny and Bailey, aptly a whale shark and beluga whale to be voiced by Kaitlin Olson and Ty Burrell.

finding-dory

The image was initially released by Entertainment Weekly, and we also got more of a glimpse into the story of the Finding Nemo sequel; which takes places six months after we last saw Dory. Both Destiny and Bailey prove to be significant in Dory’s quest to find her family, as she ends up meeting them at a rehabilitation center located at a marine life facility. The duo are heavily hinted at helping Dory reunite with her family.

Since the beginning, each Pixar film has pushed both art and technology. When Finding Nemo was released back in 2003, the film had introduced breathtaking backgrounds and atmosphere around a heartwarming story of a father trying to reunite with his lost son. The mostly underwater setting pushed the technology at the time while also giving audiences a complex story that hadn’t been seen in animation before.

Based on the gorgeous hyperrealistic backgrounds seen in the The Good Dinosaur, it’s quite possible that Finding Dory may be the most breathtaking film from Pixar yet. We’ll be revisiting the familiar location from the first film, but with technology that is continuing to grow and push animation further. It’s as if we’ll be viewing the world with a new eye prescription – everything is crystal clear and we’ll be able to appreciate the immense details more. It’s a very exciting time for animation. As Pixar has proved again and again, there are no rules when it comes to the medium and the storytelling possibilities are endless.

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Happy 20th Anniversary, Toy Story!

Ed Catmull, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Pixar, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 20th, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4, Upcoming Pixar

Posted by Nia • November 22, 2015

In celebration of Toy Story‘s 20th anniversary, we asked our readers to tell us how important the film is to them. Here are some of the most touching responses that will make you want to re-watch the film and hold your childhood toys close. Please note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

toy story 20th

“My daughter has always been a true and dedicated fan of Toy Story, and has also gone through several bouts of chemo with Woody and Buzz comforting her.”

My daughter was 4 years old when Toy Story came to be. She had already gone through surgeries, chemo, and was starting on radiation when she was mesmerized by Woody and Buzz. My daughter has always been a true and dedicated fan of Toy Story, and has also gone through several bouts of chemo with Woody and Buzz comforting her. She turned 24 last year. In fact, when we booked a Disney Cruise in September, I asked DCL if there was anything they can do for her. Low and behold, she was treated with a private session with her two favorite characters! I’ve never seen her smile that big. – Susan and Kayla Gordon

“Toy Story has always been my favorite childhood movie, and it eventually became the film that convinced me to be an animator.”

I could write a book about how Toy Story has impacted my life. I like to joke that the day the film was released in theaters was the best day of my life. Toy Story has always been my favorite childhood movie, and it eventually became the film that convinced me to be an animator. I have very fond memories of my Toy Story toys, from playing with little Buzz and Woody figures with my older sister, to my dad dressing up one of my other Buzzes in Barbie clothes to act out the Mrs. Nesbitt scene. I’m now in my second year of art school, and the more I learn about the history of animation, the more I see how Toy Story rocked the industry. It was a groundbreaking marriage of technology and art, and the foundation of many of the films we cherish today. The production of Toy Story itself is a story of having a dream and not giving up on it, no matter how much others try to convince you that it’ll fail. This is what inspires me to pursue my own dream of making films someday.  – Allie

“Every time I watch the original Toy Story it’s like visiting an old friend, and the movie brings me back to my childhood.”

I can’t remember a time where I didn’t treat my toys as if they were real (I was three years old when the original came out). I probably owned some small toys from the movie, but the one I interacted with the most was the computer game. Generally speaking, I loved playing all the storybook computer games from the ’90s Disney movies, and Toy Story was one of my top favorites.

 

The films itself hold a special place in my heart, and though I don’t remember the first time I saw the original and its sequel, they both came out around pivotal moments of my life. The first one came out two months before my first sister was born (the first time I’d become a sibling), and the second one came out seven months before my second sister was born. And the third one came out at exactly the right time: I had just graduated from high school the day before its release, and Andy saying goodbye to his toys sadly reminded me that I’d have to do the same in the next two months as I was moving to another state, away from the friends I grew up with.

 

Every time I watch the original Toy Story it’s like visiting an old friend, and the movie brings me back to my childhood. I may have outgrown playing with the toys I used to love, but the fond memories are still there. – Keisha

“Sharing Toy Story with my Dad is one of my best memories I have with him as a child.”

I was 8. I have a lot of clear and random memories regarding the film. I went to see it in the theater with my dad and I loved it, which was surprising because as a child I was deathly afraid of toys coming to life to the point that I had vivid and chronic nightmares. Toy Story was the movie that spun it all around for me, it made me stop fearing the idea and my nightmares literally stopped.

 

I love Woody more, but for some reason I really wanted a Buzz Lightyear so badly that my dad went to three or four Burger Kings to find one of the promotional plush toys they had. We couldn’t afford the actual replica toys that came out in the stores. I’ll always remember the night he brought it to me as a surprise. Buzz and I were inseparable for months after that. Sharing Toy Story with my Dad is one of my best memories I have with him as a child. – Atta Lynne

Toy Story played a very large part in my childhood.”

It was the film I watched repeatedly when I was young. Once Toy Story 2 came out, it had become my favorite movie. Toy Story 3 was probably the biggest event of 2010 for me and I also had quite a few toys at that point. With the 4th film coming and all the shorts, Toy Story will continue to remain a big part of a life for a long time. – JKOP

“May the toys continue to embrace more kids and adults for generations to come.”

I was just a baby when the first Toy Story came out. But, I loved it when I first saw it on home video and I still love it today. I have all the movies (and the TV specials on Blu-Ray and DVD), I still have a lot of the toys (the main ones like Woody and Buzz I haven’t stored away yet), and I just love this trilogy! May the toys continue to embrace more kids and adults for generations to come! To infinity and beyond! – Josiah Mielke

“My parents decided to try and spark some interests by putting on movies for me. I’d only watch one the entire way through: Toy Story.”

It all started when I was around 11 months old. I allegedly didn’t do much, I crawled around a bit, I slept, not much else. My parents decided to try and spark some interests by putting on movies for me. I’d only watch one the entire way through: Toy Story.

 

And so, that started a very long cycle of re-watches for years and years. Because of that, Toy Story had such a big influence on me. It’s what made me want to become an animator, made me want to work for Pixar, sparked my hobby in filmmaking, heck, it’s one of the main reasons I started talking.

 

In fact, anytime I go to the Disney parks, I always try to meet the Buzz Lightyear character. Unfortunately, DLP don’t really “get” the Toy Story hype, but luckily, I have met him twice; once in 2006 and once this year, in 2015. Even this year, the ride I went on most was Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.

 

As I write this in bed, I have a giant TS3 poster looming above me, and the Toy Story characters from Disney Infinity close by. – Noah Carolan

“Toy Story and its characters are really my oldest and closest friends, and without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

What does Toy Story mean to me? Well, where do I even begin? For starters, it was the first movie I ever fell in love with. My Toy Story experience began early, like a lot of people my age. I was 13 months going on 14 months. When my dad came home with the VHS for Toy Story, I was hooked. I don’t remember this, but my mom has told me every time she popped the film in the VCR, she knew she had about an hour and a half of free time because I was just mesmerized.

 

Just a few weeks ago, I decided to sit down and re-watch the trilogy. I’d really forgotten just how amazing all of those films are. I still laughed at the jokes, even though I know them all by heart. I still cried at the end of Toy Story 3, even though I knew what was coming. I referred to the movie marathon as “catching up with old friends” on an Instagram post I made. Toy Story and its characters are really my oldest and closest friends, and without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. So, thank you to everyone who has ever worked on these films, for crafting something that people from 1 to 99 can watch and still laugh, cry, and connect with in a way not many other films can achieve. Thank you Toy Story. May you continue to inspire people for infinity and beyond. – Forster Keenoy

“20 years later, Buzz is still my favorite character and I’ve still got Disney magic in my heart.”

I’ve been a hardcore Pixar fangirl ever since I was little. I wasn’t like most Disney-loving girls my age (i.e. I favored Buzz Lightyear over Disney Princesses).

 

Every time I watched a Pixar movie I was enchanted. And all three times we went to Disney World, I went Pixar crazy. I loved riding Buzz’s Space Ranger Spin, playing Toy Story Mania, dancing in Block Party Bash, and meeting the Pixar Pals.

 

20 years later, Buzz is still my favorite character and I’ve still got Disney magic in my heart. All three Toy Story movies bring back lots of good memories. Thank you Disney and Pixar. To infinity and beyond! – Buzzfan120

Thank you to all of the storytellers at Pixar who have brought magic to our lives. Here’s to the future and the great stories to come.

With love,

Upcoming Pixar.

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