If your going to see BRAVE when it hits theaters June 22 (which I KNOW you are) then you will be in for a treat. Before Brave the Oscar Nominated Short Film La Luna will play. For such a short film it is packed with emotion. You will definitely remember La Luna and want to share it with everyone special in your life. We had the opportunity to interview Director Enrico Casarosa which you can read some of it below:
Q : How long did the short take to create and is it your own story, or is it inspired from something?
ENRICO CASAROVA : There’s a lot of inspirations. It took roughly, nine months of production. I was on it a little bit longer. Uh, usually we kinda line them up kinda like planes on a runway, an- and we have the big planes which are our features that are by a lot of people. So sometimes you’ve gotta wait a little bit and, and we had to wait a few months to be, to have people to work on it, [LAUGHS]. So that gave me a little bit of time on my own, which is good. I was starting to storyboard it.T the inspiration, I mean, it’s- it’s my story.
The core of it is a personal experience of dealing with my dad and my grandfather growing up, um, when my grandmother passed. We lived, uh, you know, we went and moved and lived with my grandfather. It was a small house. My dad and my grandfather weren’t getting along, so if you went, you know kind of roughly twenty-five years ago, i- in that kitchen, it would’ve been a lot like what you see in the short which is like two guys a- at a table, you know, for dinners, it would’ve been a lot like that.
I would always feel stuck in the middle. I thought that was an interesting that there was some good things to explore an- and a boy having to find his own way when there’s two, you know, forces kinda telling him, do it this way, do it that way, and, um, so it’s a lot about, you know, kinda finding your own path.That, you know, the things that, that, of course, the more fantastical side of all this story was something that I really just looked for what inspires me.
And there’s, there’s different inspiration. Uh, one is Saint-Exupery in the Little Prince, I always loved growing up. You’ve probably seen the illustration of, of this cute little prince and on this planet, it’s actually quite small. I always was fascinated by something by you could just walk around in a minute. And, uh, Hayao Miyazaki is a, is a big influence on my work, you know. I, I kinda study and, and love his work, and he has this kind of wonderful, kind of surreal, fantastic with very real small details, you know?
And, um, the last kind of inspiration is Italo Calvino. He’s an Italian writer that, that we kind of, uh, read growing up, you know, and, and at least in high school we- we’d kinda read them. It’s very surreal work and he had one story which a ladder to the moon. And in that story, specifically, they were, uh, I think getting milk from the moon and, and it’s got me thinking, wouldn’t it be fun to kinda come up with my own strange child-like myth of what someone could be.
It, how could it be working, you know. How, how does the moon work, um, there’s also shorts like Grand Day Out from Wallace and Gromit that, in which the moon is made of cheese. I always find those kind of amusing, you know. And so that got me thinking, and I thought, couldn’t there be janitors, the family business is janitorial moon, [LAUGHS], cleanup, and that slowly got to, uh, well, what could they be sweeping? And then stars came in my mind, and I was like, oh, maybe they could be sweeping stars. But if they’re sweeping them, maybe they’re making th- the phases of the moon.
So I, it was a little of one, two, three, that got us to this kind of strange idea that they would be actually moving light, um, uh, but it really started with the idea of, like, someone having a very, uh, mundane work, you know, in this very mythical setting.
Q : Was it always going to be a short?
ENRICO CASAROVA : Yes, I kind of, you know, usually we have to pitch three ideas, and I pitched three short ideas, uh, to get this rollingYou know, a few people have asked me, do you, wouldn’t you wanna expand on this, and it’s like my mind hasn’t really found a good way to, to do that. There’s a world that has all such gibberish, so it’s a little bit hard for me to imagine a longer story there, you know? I love these characters, um, when I think of long form ideas, my, my head hasn’t gone back there, you know.
Uh, I, I’ve joked around saying, like, they go back to the village and it was pillaged, and they’re gonna go on a revenge path to find now, but it doesn’t make sense, so I haven’t found it.
Q : Talk about gibberish. Did you make a conscious decision to not have a language?
ENRICO CASAROVA : I think it’s a wonderful question. A lot of what you’re saying is correct. I wanted it there, I grew up with this wonderful, um, cartoon called La Linea, which is an Italian animation in which there was this character that was made out of one line, and he was talking this crazy language. But it was very Italian. It was, like, [IMITATING ITALIAN EXPRESSIVENESS], and you would know exactly what he is feeling. You didn’t know what he was saying, of course, but it had a flavor that was distinctively Italian, and I knew that I wanted gesticulating animation, so I thought wouldn’t it be great to still have that flavor.
I thought it would go well with, with that the great thing is how universal, of course, that is, you know. And most of our shorts have been silent for a while, you know. So I, at first, actually, some of the feedback we got, yeah, you might not need it, just put some music on it. So we had to fight to keep it. Yeah, it took us a while to prove it. Probably because I was doing the gibberish in the story reels with the, the editor, and it was pretty bad, you know. They’re like, it’s kinda annoying, and I was like, well, that’s because I’m doing it. Let’s get some performers. Gibberish is a real art. We tried many different ways and we had to tone it down. If you put too much words, it sounds, it’s a little distracting.
So we found that we toned it down a little bit, it was a little, sometimes it more about, huh [GRUFFLY]than [GIBBERISH], you know, more about attitude and less about actual language. And then we found performers that really embodied the characters. We found our grandpa, seventy-five year old performer that’s a storyteller, here in the area that was really, you know, y- you, when he came in, he asked me if I wanted to do the takes with his teeth, and he took out his teeth, or without my teeth. So he was really a grandpa guy, y- you know. So it was kind of a funny, uh, moment.
But, and then the same thing for Dad, we found a big, uh, Tony Fucile’s our dad and he’s an amazing animator who’s been at Pixar many years. He’s now doing kid’s books. Uh, amazing artists and a big papa, and, and, you could feel it, you know. When we had tried, you know, it would be always someone who was forty years old trying to sound like a seventy year old, so it was, it took us just a little bit to get there, and finally we convinced John Lassiter to keep him. And I, I thought he, the story needed it so that you would feel that spirit, a little more of the pressure that these guys, uh, are putting on, on this little guy, you know.
Q : How did you come up with the exact look of the boy?
ENRICO CASAROVA : You know I started drawing him at the beginning, you know, and he was always kind of a, a little bit of a full moon, himself. So that was a little bit the thought, and the important thing being also that his eyes were really big, the complete opposite of, of Dad and Grandfather. So I was looking for contrast there. He’s curious. Yeah, and I mean, and a lot of this, that kind of thinking we do behind the movies, I think when it works best, it’s just felt, isn’t, isn’t aware, you know, because that, that could easily become over designed or over-intellectualized.
So hopefully some of you just feel, you know, he’s obviously quite different from these, from these guys. In fact, the first time that I drew him, I drew humongous eyes and, and we kind of like, hmm, it didn’t look from the same family. We need to make those eyes a little smaller. But you wanted him to be from the same world, but you want to use contrast as much as possible. Um, in our poster, in- interestingly, uh, our, um, one of our character designer had this great idea to put his eyes a little bit to the left.
If you see our main image from La Luna, there’s a crescent moon in the white of his eyes, which are a wonderful little subtle thing. You don’t notice right away, and within the short, as well. But in, in the poster, we really kinda made it a little more apparent, you know. A lot of these things that can be subtle, but when you notice them, they’re kinda neat, you know?
I’ve heard a lot of people that enjoyed it more once they saw it the second time. For example, we, we put a lot of details in our movies and shorts, so they’re always kind of fun to find out a little more about.
Q : How was being on the tour help with getting your Oscar nomination?
ENRICO CASAROVA : Yeah, it was strange. We were done with this one last year, you know, kind of spring, and the decision was made that instead of just sitting on it and putting it on a shelf, we would try and put it in the festivals, and have its own run that here. So that’s what got us, uh, that’s what made us up for nomination. So it’s something a little different. I think we did it for Lifted once. It wasn’t something we had never done, but a little unusual.
So it was really fun to have the short have its own little bit of spotlight. We traveled with it and I, it’s really fun. I have a little presentation that forty-five minutes of telling the ins and outs of how we made it. So that was really fun to share but always in small audiences. So I, I think I really enjoyed it because it was only, you were only talking about that, and I’m not talking about that and the movie. So we liked that. We ultimately don’t ever, will never know that really helped or not our chances at an Oscar. That, that doesn’t really matter.
But, um, and then the Oscar, you know, to answer that question, I mean, it was, it was, like having a really big wedding that I never had or something. It was very, there’s a lot of preparation, just even just fashion wise, you know, with my wife, but we, we really enjoyed it. It’s kind of a rarified kind of life, and for a few days, you feel, uh, you’re like you’re on another planet a little bit. It feels like pampering a little bit, too, you know? Especially for my wife. I was kinda running around a little more for interviews, but she was by the side of the pool having mani/pedis, which I think is really fun for her.
So we really enjoyed it and that’s our emotional roller coaster on the night where you’re kind of crossing your fingers, and then you’re like, ahh-uh, it’s all right. And then we have a lot to look forward in really sharing with the kids. I, I really feel, you know, I have a four year old daughter. I really made this thinking about kids and what it could tell kids, and so I’m really looking forward to, to the real audience finding it.
***Disclosure: I attended #DisneyPixarEvent . My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney. All opinions are 100% mine.***