Interview with BRAVE Producer Katherine Sarafian




Last month we were able to see the first 30 minutes of Disney/Pixar’s latest film Brave and it was amazing. Brave is a film that has humor, heart and a story that both parents and children will be able to relate to – especially mothers. I was excited to talk about the film to Katherine Sarafian, producer of Brave and a mother herself.

Katherine has been with Pixar since 1994 and when asked about her journey from a production coordinator to producer of Brave, she said, “Well it has been a long road, but, you know, I think that Pixar is one of those places where you can, you know, work on lots of different films and have a different career on each film, so I try, on each film I grew into a new role.  So I started sort of, entry level, at the bottom, and moved up.  And by the time I was on A Bug’s Life I was a first-time manager, and once I learned that I, you know, could manage people and really enjoyed doing that, then there was a progression into marketing for a while.

 And then, you know, once I was doing that I found out that I could round out my skills and how the more outward facing parts of the movie, and I parlayed that into something on Monsters, Incorporated where I was at a more senior level.  So really just building up and being mentored by great bosses, Starla Anderson and other producers who I’ve worked with, and the directors I’ve worked with that were really supportive of me and even I made the mistakes, said like okay, well, you know, Pixar is very much about how you recover from your errors.  It’s been a very supportive work environment and a supportive culture and I feel fortunate to be part of it.”

Brave is the story of Merida, a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Wise Woman (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.

When asked if there would be consequences for Merida disobeying her family, Katherine said, “There are tremendous consequences and we’ve offered up a character who is willful and strong and very sure of herself but also a member of a family, a royal family with huge ripple effects of any decision she makes and any reckless choice she makes. When you see the full movie I think you’ll know what I mean when you see that there are serious consequences for her behavior but without that rift in the beginning you cannot have healing.  We really have tried to create something that’s about the relationship of a family and how it grows and develops during a, during a teenager’s coming-of-age.”

When asked if Brave was based on an existing fairy-tale, Katherine said, “No, it is not based on an existing fairytale.  It’s an original story and it’s conceived by Brenda Chapman and based on the relationship similar to butting heads with her own daughter, actually.  But there are, I’d say we’ve — we’re all big fans of traditional and classic and dark old fairy tales but there’s not one that it’s based on at all.  No, it’s an original Pixar creation.”

Brave will be released into theaters on June 22nd and I can’t wait for you all to see – I can’t wait to see it with my family! Make sure to like Brave on Facebook for all of the latest news!


Disney/Pixar is 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.


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