Inside Pixar

Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Series: Inside Pixar

Where You Can Stream It: Disney+

The Pitch: Produced by Pixar Animation Studios, Inside Pixar offers insights into the personal and cinematic stories focused on the people, artistry, and culture of the company. You’ll meet everyone from the filmmakers and animators who bring movie magic to the big screen to the facility operators and chefs who keep the animation studio’s campus neat and its people fed.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: Pixar is one of the top entertainment houses in the Hollywood machine, and their process of making compelling stories for families around the world is truly unique. That’s why they consistently make some of the best animated movies around. It’s not just the filmmakers and animators who make Pixar great either. There’s an entire crew that keeps Pixar Animation running, and Inside Pixar shows off some of the less-celebrated faces and the work they do.

Inside Pixar is a Disney+ original series with episodes lasting anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. Launched in November 2020, there have been 15 episodes released so far, separated into categorized batches of five episodes each. Each of the batches focus on different elements of the filmmaking process and culture at Pixar, providing an intimate glimpse behind the scenes of Pixar’s features and shorts.

The first batch falls under the “Inspired” banner, and each episode speaks with a specific person at Pixar to find the personal inspirations that influence their position at the animation studio. Kemp Powers talks about bringing his experiences as a Black man to Soul. Deanna Marsigliese discusses her love for vintage clothing and style and how that influences her work as a character designer. Jessica Heidt talks about a program she developed to track the distribution and balance of dialogue between male and female characters. Each provides personal insight into their own lives and how they can’t help but be reflected in their work.

“Portraits” comprise the second batch of episodes, each one highlighting a Pixar employee whose job you likely never think about when it comes to making Pixar movies. For example, one focuses on Cynthia Lusk, the director of international production, who is responsible for making sure each of Pixar’s movies translate to international markets around the world. This means having dozens of different versions of the movie with scenes that require fully animated shots with translated text or universally recognized symbols and signage. This was easily my favorite roster of episodes.

The most recent batch is “Foundations,” and it’s a little more formulaic, but it’s a thorough and basic breakdown of how a Pixar movie is made. Narrated by Cristela Alonzo, these episodes feel like they’re made as a way to make the uninitiated Pixar fans understand how these movies are created. It can be a little cheesy and elementary at times, but there are some fascinating details to be learned about the process of making a Pixar movie.

There’s another batch to come, entitled “Unpacked,” and it debuts on May 21. It will dive into the creation of Pixar villains, the design of various vehicles across all of Pixar movies, and the animation of thousands of background characters. So catch up on all the other episodes now so you can be ready.

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