When I had the chance to visit Pixar Studios in April, not only did we have the chance to watch the first 30 minutes of the movie Brave, we also were able to see the newest Pixar short La Luna.
In the Pixar Studios screening theater, the lights dim and the ceiling lights up with twinkling stars and a few shooting stars. This was the perfect lead in to the sweetest Pixar short and my favorite to date.
La Luna is a fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. It’s the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work and in an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait. A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?
Last week I was able to see La Luna for a second time and it was just as special as the first. Since this is my favorite short, I was so thankful that we were able to sit down with Enrico Casarosa, the writer and director of La Luna.
La Luna was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film and when asked how it felt, Enrico said, “It was really surreal. They do it at 5:30 in the morning…I woke up and it was, you know, I let all my family sleep, but I made myself a coffee and I was in the dark in the kitchen and trying to figure out where they would put it because they don’t really mention us little guys in the show. You have to go look for it. But once you find out, I, I love that moment of that quiet, personal moment of me and a cup of coffee. And then it turned into text and then it’s a mess and emails of all these people kind of congratulating me.
The feeling of a nomination feels wonderful, but the thing I remember the most is just the outpouring from all over the place, people coming through the woodwork to say hi and congratulation, which is really great, and that kind of strange quiet moment.”
When asked if there were any animators that inspired him and more about the look of La Luna, Enrico said, “I’m a huge fan of Miyazaki and, and that’s probably the biggest influence I have, you know? Specifically, the look of it was something we wanted to do different and what I thought, it would support this kind of fable-like story was something that could be a little illustrative, a little more like a kid’s book, we went a little bit theatrical this time. It almost feels like there’s a backdrop to this scene and we thought that that could create this feeling of a slightly different reality.
So we did a lot of watercolors and pastels and really scanned them and used them in the short. I love the idea of bringing some of the imperfection and kind of texture that real traditional media give to, which computers aren’t so good at, you know? A computer naturally would go more toward something a little colder. So bringing some warmth and some texture was something that we were really after and also to just build something that was more credibly old.
We wanted a feeling of these guys have been doing this job for generations. It’s kind of timeless feel, so tried to age stuff a lot and texture is really a big part of it. So that, that was really kind of a fun part. And I think it comes a little bit from the way I worked. The first images I made to think of the story, I kind of write visually. I don’t really write sitting down on the computer. I made images in watercolor and pencils, and so that, those first, I made twenty-five images to tell the story to pitch it to John Lasseter and that kind of gave us something to maybe not aim for, but to bring into the computer world.
We didn’t necessarily want it to do flat watercolor animation which is what it, anyway, it required some research and development because, because it doesn’t exist. But we tried to bring some of that warmth and texture and unusual feel of water colors to it.”
When you go to see Brave (in theaters on June 22nd!) make sure you are there in plenty of time to see the newest Pixar short La Luna! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
Disney/Pixar provided me with an all expenses paid trip to San Francisco for an advance screening of Chimpanzee and select footage from Brave. All thoughts and opinions are my own.