I was invited by Disney on an all expenses paid trip for my coverage of the #GoodDinoEvent, #ABCTVEvent, & #LionGuardEvent. All opinions are my own.
As you already know, while I was in LA I had the chance to talk with the Creators of The Good Dinosaur, as well as the kid actors who voiced Arlo, Buck, and Spot in the movie. But I also got to sit down with the Director and Producer of Sanjay’s Super Team which is the short that plays before The Good Dinosaur movie that is playing in theaters now.
I really enjoyed the short and the message it sends about family, beliefs and traditions. Check out this clip from Sanjay’s Super Team…
It was great hearing about the creation process of the short film from Director Sanjay Patel and Producer Nicole Grindle.
The story and idea for Sanjay’s Super Team came from Sanjay’s childhood. Nicole told us, ‘Sanjay was working for Pixar and had kind of turned his back on his Father’s culture trying to fit in with traditional animation art. But around 10 years of being at Pixar he decided to start doing these books of Hindu Deities and they were a big hit. Then Pixar asked Sanjay to put on a show of his art at Pixar, and John Lasseter then asked Sanjay do a short for Pixar.’
Sanjay shared that at first he didn’t want to do the short film. Mainly because he was scared and didn’t know if it would be well received being such a new idea for a short. Pixar kept telling him they wanted him to create it. So what changed his mind? “I finally had a conversation with my father and um you know he pointed out. He was like, “Sanjay you know like this studio has like– had supported me and educated me for like 20 years and he was like, ‘They’ve had this relationship with you and they’re finally asking you to try this thing and um for you not to try would be bad karma. That it was my duty to at least try. Win or lose, that doesn’t matter. That’s not part of the equation Sanjay. But is your duty to at least try.’” said Sanjay.
John Lasseter was a huge help and inspiration to Sanjay for creating the short and idea for the story. Sanjay said of Lasseter “He just he really believed in the concept from minute one.” He also mentioned that Lasseter said to him “If you just tell that as honestly as possible people will connect to it.” and that helped Sanjay to move forward with telling his story.
Speaking of the short film and how it will impact kids and people from his culture Sanjay said, “I knew Pixar just makes things that are cool. Kids of all sort of cultures and identities will embrace and it just felt really exciting that we could tell this part of the story and have Pixar kind of be the ambassador to it. We’ll make it cool for all kids. And people from my community will feel less alone or different and maybe will feel way more included.”
Nicole added, “What I loved about the story was that it bridges cultures and that inner generational thing is happening everywhere, right? The parents want to pass on something from their lives to their children and the children are so interested in what’s like the newest flashiest thing. It’s been going on forever. I’m hoping that all kids take away that there is something that my parents have. Even if I’m not interested in it. Wow! My parents think that’s cool. So I should maybe pay attention a little bit more. That’s been my interest in the film.”
A very cute aspect of the creation process, was that all of the art work that plays during the end credits was done by the ‘kids of Pixar’. “We asked our crew members kids to do the drawing. They took it really seriously. They have parents who work at Pixar and they were like, ‘What! I can get my artwork in the film?’ And they all did their artwork and brought it in and uh we did our best to get them all in there. So that was fun.” says Sanjay. That is adorable and I am sure the children were thrilled to see their art on the big screen! Nicole added “He (Sanjay) told them to never give their artwork away for free again.”
“While we were making the short at Pixar, everybody was like, ‘Dude! We’ve never done anything this personal at the studio in terms of being so specific to a father-son’. Well it is me and my dad. And so people were really curious and it was so hard to explain that my dad just doesn’t watch movies. I think the last thing he had seen was when we had left the U.K. 30 years ago. It was something with Julie Andrews, The Sound Of Music. So he had never seen animation. He’s never seen Pixar in animation, he’s never seen any of the movies I’ve worked on. So it was so surreal to fly him up to the studio. It’s the second time he had been there and to have him come sit down in the theater and watch an animated story about him and me and our history. He was super emotional about it.”
Nicole added, “It was sweet ‘cause he was all business at first. He wanted to come, there for his son, you know watch the film and, and say, ‘Yes it’s very good.‘ And then when we started talking about, was he proud of Sanjay?And that’s when he went over the edge. He’s a very hard working guy. He works 7 days a week, 24-7, he runs a motel. And here his son, not only was thanking him, but understood who he was and, and what had sustained him. And I thought, how can that not be emotional right? To have your child say, “I see what you’ve been doing and I appreciate it.”
Afterwards we got a group photo with them both.
Sanjay’s Super Team is now playing in theaters before The Good Dinosaur. Take the whole family to see it this weekend!
Check out the trailer…
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