I was invited to screen the Disney Pixar movie “Coco” and I am so thankful I got to experience this movie with my 9-year-old son. In addition to experiencing this movie with my son, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ana Ramirez, the Sketch Artist who worked with the art department to help develop the visual look of Disney•Pixar’s feature film, “Coco”.
Disney Pixar’s Coco is a visually stunning masterpiece that included a storyline that was wonderfully told from the perspective of Miguel and though music is forbidden within the family, the story finds a way to weave it in to tell the story of his journey. This movie is representative of the Latin culture, but every culture will benefit from all that this movie teaches.
Of course, there are so many reasons you should experience the movie with your entire family, but I will share 4 reasons:
It is not often that I get to do something that is not only an honor but is fun and informative. I got my chance when I had the opportunity to interview Ana Ramirez, the Sketch Artist for Pixar Animation Studios.
Like every great artist, Ana Ramirez has a special story to convey and the story of her life has me intrigued. Ana was raised in Guanajuato, México, but after she graduated from high school, she moved to France to attend ESMA Montpellier art school and returned to the States to study at CalArts where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film and Video. In addition, Ana interned at Pixar Animation Studios in 2013 and prior to working with Pixar full time, she worked freelance for Google, DreamWorks TV and JibJab, as well as FOX. When you think about it, it is a pretty fitting resume for a young woman with so much talent.
Without giving away details about the movie, I had to find out the significance of the bridge that led to the Land of the Dead. Ana explained that…..
The Marigold flower is very symbolic of the Day of the Dead. On the Day of the Dead, we have these flowers everywhere. They are the official flower of the holiday and they are believed to help the spirits cross over to the other world, so that’s why we tried to embrace it as much as we could. Because on Day of the Dead, you see so many stands in the streets in the towns selling Marigold flowers. That is what people use to decorate their alters and their homes. For the Marigold bridge, they were diligent about finding different kinds of petals that worked on the dynamic of how they fly, how they would light up, what they looked like for the bridge.
What I found so interesting about Ana is that her mother encouraged her to take a drawing class and in her case, Mom DID know best! She has so many wonderful talents and when she was in school, she made it a point to learn other forms of art so that she would be able to have different cultural experiences. I think her story is one every child needs to hear. You can be successful doing something that you truly love and it does not have to involve being a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc.
The Visual Content
When I tell you that this movie is beautiful, I mean beautiful! Everything from the characters to the Land of the Dead to the Marigold petals used throughout the movie was rich in color and so life-like. The entire movie felt real, and to be honest, it made me want to visit. According to Ana, they did the drawing in 2D, which worked out perfectly for the film.
So much thought was put into each character and how they would fit into the story and I am appreciative of that. A few of the family members stood out to me because not only did each have a story to share, each came with their own personality and beliefs
- Miguel – He was a lovely young man with so much energy and love for his family, despite the fact that he had a love of music.
- Héctor – A funny character who just wanted to be loved and remembered and he was willing to do what he needed to do to make it happen.
- Ernesto de la Cruz – A charismatic character who has a dark and sinister side.
- Mama Coco – A pivotal character and there is no way the story could be told without her.
- Mamá Imelda – Miguel’s great-great-grandmother, who has her own reasons for protecting him when it comes to music. A strong woman who loves her family despite some setbacks.
The Cultural Learning Experience
Growing up, I had heard stories of The Day of the Dead and thankfully I had friends that celebrated it, which was my chance to learn about it first hand. I work in a high school with multiple cultures, and some of us watched the Disney Pixar Coco trailer together and they were so in awe of what they saw. I am hopeful they will get the opportunity to see the movie for themselves because I learned so much.
Check Out The Trailer:
A special Thank You to Ana for speaking to us and being so candid with her story!
This movie is a must-see for everyone, and I promise you will not be disappointed.
Disney Pixar’s film “Coco” opens in theatres November 22. 2017 (Thanksgiving). Also, for more information about “Coco”, be sure to visit: http://movies.disney.com/coco
Until Next Time!