Saturday, September 30, 2023

Comics + College CIFF Review: Animation Panel with Meet and Greet

Submitted by Comics + College
Nathan Chisholm and Marlee May

January 16, 2016 – The afternoon of Day 2 of the inaugural Coronado Island Film Festival was extraordinary. The Animation panel, held at Loews Coronado Bay Hotel, was small, but grand at the same time. The Disney Pixar film “Inside Out,” which was recently nominated for an Academy Award in the best Animated Feature category, was presented by Producer Jonas Rivera. DreamWorks Animation brought their recent feature film, “Home,” presented by director Tim Johnson, and producer Suzanne Buirgy. The panel itself was moderated by film critic and Honorary Jury President of the Coronado Island Film Festival’s inaugural year, Leonard Maltin.

The Panelists: Animation
The Panelists: Animation

The panel discussed numerous topics but what really drew our attention were a few stand out moments of the discussion. The first moment that was truly a distinct experience was the fact that both studios brought exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of their movies. The “Inside Out” team brought with them footage of the animation process and the voice acting performances. We saw images of storyboards, along with pictures of the Pixar employees and other animators that helped shape the film at Pixar Studios in Northern California. We got to see the characters of the film like we had never seen them before. From first footage to 2D drawings, getting an inside look really gives you a new appreciation for the animation process. You got to see how truly encompassing animation is as an art. It requires every type of medium to get the fully formed version of the product. This is what makes animation so special and what makes the process take as long as 5 to 7 years to finish.

One of the other standout moments from the panel was the video footage that director Tim Johnson brought us. If you have seen the movie “Home,” you will recognize a pivotal scene from the movie that is the alien Oh, voiced by Jim Parsons, dancing for the first time. In this finalized animated scene, we see Oh uncontrollably dancing to the music. At the panel, we learned that the animation team brought in dancer Beau Casper Smart, who, as we were told, danced for upwards of three hours in front of the animators. They called Beau in to improvise dance moves to some audio that included the song and dialogue of the characters that would later be used in the movie. Beau’s body movements were used to create fluidity and relate-ability in the alien Oh, as he dances in the car for the first time in his life. Seeing the animated scene after watching the footage of Beau dancing truly makes you appreciate what animators do, and how keen they are to detail- some of the dance moves were identical to Beau’s!

The most incredible part of the panel was the passion of these producers and director. The sheer belief in their ideas, the drive they have to continue working on their ‘babies’ until they are finished and released to the general audience – yes, the animators aren’t making these movies for kids, they are making them for everyone – is unbelievable. To be able to bring an idea to life in the most vulnerable way that is drawing and creating, is a magnificent thing that we, as movie-goers, are able to enjoy to the fullest. These creators pour their heart and souls into their work, for years on end, until they are able to share it with the general public – something that must be terrifying and extremely rewarding at the same time. This panel most definitely stole the show, and is going to be hard to beat.

After the panel ended, we joined the Festival’s jurors in the downstairs area of Loews Hotel. There, we were able to mingle with Jonas Rivera, Lisa Bruce, Leonard Maltin and the wonderful people that made this festival possible. Overall, day two of the Inaugural Coronado Film Festival was a MASSIVE success, one that we will remember for years and years. The intimacy of these panels is something you never get to experience, and how lucky are we to be able to have these people come present their works of art to us? With that being said, day three is only a few hours away, and we are beyond enthused to get a chance to see “Home” tomorrow morning, along with some other lovely films being shown throughout the day. We hope to see you all at the movies tomorrow!

"Inside Out" Producer Jonas Rivera
Nathan Chisholm and Marlee May of Comics + College with “Inside Out” Producer Jonas Rivera