During my trip to LA last month, courtesy of Disney, we had a sneak peek of Moana, the next Disney Princess Movie. All opinions and experiences are my own.
A Sneak Peek of Moana
Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) who is super adorable in person (stay tuned for my Auli’i Cravalo interview in November) will surprise and delight you as she sets off to find out who she is, to fulfill her quest to become a master wayfinder and fight sea monsters while sailing across the ocean with the help of the demigod, Maui (Dwayne Johnson).
During my trip, we saw several a sneak peek of Moana or two, including the clip of her “audition” where they told Auli’i she’d been chosen for the part of Moana. The music, the visuals, all of it is amazing.
The Story of Moana
The story is inspired in part by the oral histories of the people and cultures of Oceania. Three thousand years ago, Polynesian voyagers, the greatest navigators in the world,
voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering thousands of islands. But then, according
to scholars, for approximately a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows
exactly why. Navigation is such a big part of Pacific culture, says Musker. The ancient
Polynesians found their way across the seas without the use of modern instruments,
using their knowledge of nature, the stars, the waves and the currents.
Moana is on the path to the rebirth of wayfinding and bringing it back to her culture.
We learned about the evolution of Moana’s side kick HeiHei the rooster, including his screen tests and how he didn’t start out as a rooster at all. (Hoping that one will make it to the BluRay extras!)
“Moana” features music from a diverse and dynamic team that includes Tony®-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and multiple Tony-winning “Hamilton,” Tony-winning “In the Heights”), Grammy®-winning composer Mark Mancina (“Speed,” “Tarzan” “The Lion King”) and Opetaia Foaʻi (founder and lead singer of the world music award-winning band Te Vaka).
“You may hear a voice inside.
And if that voice starts to whisper to follow the farthest star …
Moana, that voice inside is who you are.”
~ Gramma Tala, “Moana”
As part of our footage presentation of Moana and drawing Demo with Head of Animation Amy Smeed, Head of Story Dave Pimentel, Story Artist Dave Derrick, “Mini Maui” Animation Supervisor Eric Goldberg and Development Sr. Creative Exec Jessica Julius, I learned to draw Mini Maui. Sort of. I did okay, right? I don’t think Disney will be hiring me anytime soon. Heh.
The Inner Workings short
I’m a huge (HUGE) fan of shorts, so it was a real win for me to get a screening of the short INNER WORKINGS (which will play in theatres in front of MOANA) plus we had a Q & A with Director Leo Matsuda and Producer Sean Lurie.
Inner Workings debuted at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 17, 2016, and will release theatrically alongside the film Moana on November 23, 2016. It has both hand drawn and CG amalgamated “Meander” animation style which were also both used in the Oscar-winning shorts Paperman and Feast.
The short got its beginnings when Matsuda, was one of 73 hopefuls, pitched the ideas to the WDAS Story Trust. The 73 was then narrowed to 10, then 4. Matsuda was ultimately selected to direct the new short. Sean Lurie signed on to produce “Inner Workings” after hearing the Matsuda’s pitch as part of the WDAS shorts program. We’ll see Lurie’s talents again in Moana.
What makes Inner Workings so relatable is it’s the story of the internal struggle between a man’s Brain and heart. The battle of structure and freedom. I think you’re going to enjoy it, I know I did!
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MOANA arrives in theatres everywhere on November 23rd!