Behind the Scenes at Pixar | Chatting with La Luna Writer/Director Enrico Casarosa
Brave is in theatres everywhere June 22nd! In April, I visited Pixar Animation Studios and was able to see the first 30 minutes of the film. It wasn’t quite finished at the time, so that is all we were able to see. We were able to see the Pixar short in its entirety, however. La Luna was written and directed by Enrico Casarosa; the story is based on his own experience growing up living with his father and grandfather, and wondering whose example to follow. La Luna will air before Brave. We had the great pleasure of interviewing him after seeing the short to learn about the short film making process, the inspiration behind his magical story, and what’s next for him.
The Inspiration for La Luna
One of the strongest memories for Enrico Casarosa was the fact that his father and his grandfather did not get along while he was growing up. After the death of his grandmother, Enrico’s grandfather moved in with them. His father and grandfather hardly spoke to each other, but each of them would speak to Enrico. He explained that if we had been able to see their family dinners all those years ago, they would have been very similar to the scenes that happen in the boat in La Luna. “It would be my dad and grandfather, and I’d be in the middle…it felt like the right kind of memory and personal story to then convey a coming of age, uh, you know, a boy that has to find his own way when someone is telling him do this- no, no, no, no, no, do that.” Casarosa used La Luna as a way to finally have his father and his grandfather get along.
His Father’s Reaction to La Luna
Enrico’s grandfather passed away many years ago, but the short film has produced some good conversation with his father. “We’ve had some good chats about it. He’s definitely told me…I didn’t know that you felt that so much…then he proceeded to tell me all the things that were wrong with my grandfather,” he said, laughing. “I didn’t think I would fix them with this short, but maybe I made them get along for a little bit.” La Luna is a combination of the mundane (grandfather/father/son) mixed with the fantastical (you’ll have to see Brave in theatres to find out more!).
How Making a Short is Different Than a Feature Length
I had never really given much thought to just how different it might be making a short in comparison to a feature length film. I thought it would be much easier since there is a shorter story to tell, but Enrico Casarosa shared with us some of the challenges. “It’s very much the same process. We’re usually on tools that are plenty older,” he began. “We’re like the cheap version and the fast version and we have to fight for anyone to help us…but that’s kinda what’s great about it, too, because you have a smaller crew, there’s a great camaraderie, everybody has to do a little more, so you get on, you get to learn more, and you get to have a little more responsibility, so a lot of people are kinda using it as a new stepping stone.” Brave features new technology that Enrico Casarosa was not able to use for the film. “We wish we had that because we had a hard time making our talking beard and mustaches.”
La Luna’s Storybook Feel
“We wanted to do something different…it would support this kind of fable-like story… something that could be a little illustrative, a little more like a kid’s book, a little more, almost like…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.” The colors in La Luna are definitely very reminiscent of some of my daughter’s favorite picture books. La Luna feels like a storybook come to life. “We did a lot of watercolors and pastels,” he explained. Later, computers were used to add texture to the look to give it a more timeless feel.
The Oscar Nomination
La Luna was nominated for an Oscar this year for Best Animated Short. “It was really surreal.” Enrico set an alarm at 5:30 in the morning (this is when the calls to the nominees are made) and waited with a cup of coffee. “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.”
With the bloggers
*Disney/Pixar provided me with an all expenses paid trip to San Francisco to attend the Brave Press Day at Pixar Animation Studios. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. All photos shown are used with permission.*