A few weeks ago, I had the chance to see The Good Dinosaur twice before it come out and even attend the red carpet premiere of the movie. While in Los Angeles, we also had the chance to interview the team behind the Pixar short Sanjay’s Super Team which you’ll get to see before The Good Dinosaur. I’m a huge fan of the Pixar Short Films and Sanjay’s Super Team doesn’t disappoint!
In “Sanjay’s Super Team,” the new short film from Pixar Animation Studios, accomplished artist Sanjay Patel uses his own experience to tell the story of a young, first-generation Indian-American boy whose love for western pop culture comes into conflict with his father’s traditions. Sanjay is absorbed in the world of cartoons and comics, while his father tries to draw him into the traditions of his Hindu practice. Tedium and reluctance quickly turn into an awe-inspiring adventure as the boy embarks on a journey he never imagined, returning with a new perspective that they can both embrace. Sanjay’s Super Team is directed by Sanjay Patel and produced by Nicole Paradis Grindle.
We had the chance to interview both Sanjay Patel and Nicole Paradis Grindle and here are 5 fun facts we discovered about the making of the short!
1. The pictures in the notebook that you see drawn are not Sanjay”s actual pictures from when he was a child – they are the drawings of the Pixar crew member kids!
2. Sanjay’s Super Team is based on a “mostly true” story. Sanjay Patel has worked for Pixar for 20 years and as a young adult, he started turning his back on his father’s culture and wanting to fit in and embrace more traditional animation art. After about 10 years at Pixar, he fell in love with South Asian art and created books like The Little Book of Hindu Deities that were a huge hit. Pixar saw his work and John Lasseter asked him to do a short film.
3. Sanjay originally did not want to do a short film. He was “really scared to bring this sort of — me, my identity, my part of my culture and this thing that was so precious to my parents and my community and to work.” He felt like his story wasn’t part of the “Pixar brand” but John Lasseter assured him that Pixar is always interested in telling new stories. What finally convinced him to make the short film was a conversation with his Dad who told him, “They’ve had this relationship with you and they’re finally asking you to try this thing and for you not to try would be bad karma.”
4. After making Sanjay’s Super Team, the team at Pixar were really interested to see what Sanjay’s dad thought. The last time Sanjay’s dad saw a movie was the Sound of Music 30 years ago. He had never seen an animated film or any of the movies Sanjay had worked on. They flew his dad up to Pixar for an intimate viewing. He was very emotional and proud of Sanjay.
5. Sanjay’s Super Team’s animation isn’t like the usual Pixar animation. Nicole shared that they were “going for something that was epic and was supposed to represent enlightenment and what’s hard is most of the films that Pixar makes are in somehow part of the real world.” They had the crew really push the limits of the tools they already were using and they were able to try really epic angles and super wide lenses.
You can watch Sanjay’s Super Team in front of The Good Dinosaur, which is out in theaters now!
Disclosure: Disney provided an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles including travel, accommodations and activities. All thoughts and opinions are my own.