The visionary director of Pixar’s Up and Monsters, Inc. joins us for this onstage interview to discuss his extraordinary career in animation and screenwriting — which includes collaborations on Toy Story and WALL-E — and his upcoming animated feature Inside Out, featuring Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling.
Pete Docter joined Pixar Animations at the age of 21, and has since become a creative force behind the studio’s string of hits, including the Toy Story films (supervising animator), A Bug’s Life (storyboard artist), and WALL-E (story treatment). In 2001 he made his feature directorial debut with Monsters, Inc., which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature — a prize Docter would eventually take home for his acclaimed sophomore film, Up. He joins host Richard Crouse to look back at some of these extraordinary career highlights and chat about his upcoming feature Inside Out, which is voiced by an all-star cast: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, and Lewis Black.
Docter returns with producer Jonas Rivera to introduce a special screening of their smash-hit animated adventure, Up, on March 23 at 9:15pm.
‡This screening is eligible for our Rush policy. Ticket holders must arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the screening in order to ensure entry. If this event goes Off Sale, tickets will be made available to the Rush line 10 minutes before the start of the screening.
IN CONVERSATION WITH… PETE DOCTER AT TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX ON MARCH 23 Pixar Animation Studios’ Academy Award-winning director joins Richard Crouse for a special onstage conversation
Toronto – TIFF welcomes Pete Docter, Academy Award®-winning director and Vice President, Creative at Pixar Animation Studios, for a special on stage conversation on March 23at 7 p.m. where he’ll discuss his extraordinary past projects — including Up, Monsters, Inc., WALL•E and Toy Story. Host Richard Crouse and Docter will also discuss the director’s new film Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out, featuring an all star cast of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan.
Following the In Conversation With… appearance, TIFF presents a screening of Up, introduced by Docter and producer Jonas Rivera. Tickets for these two events go on sale on March 4 for TIFF Members and March 11 for public.
Starting at Pixar in 1990 as the studio’s third animator, Docter collaborated with John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton in developing the story and characters for Toy Story, Pixar’s first full-length animated feature film, for which he also was supervising animator. He served as a storyboard artist on A Bug’s Life, and wrote initial story treatments for both Toy Story 2 and WALL•E. Aside from directing his two films, Up and Monsters, Inc., Docter also executive produced Brave and Monsters University. Upon joining Pixar, he animated and directed several commercials, and has been nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Animated Feature-winner Up and nominee Monsters, Inc., and Best Original Screenplay for Up and WALL•E.
Docter’s interest in animation began at the age of eight when he created his first flipbook. He studied character animation at California Institute of the Arts where he produced a variety of short films one of which won a Student Academy Award. Those films have since been shown in animation festivals around the world, and are featured on the Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2.
For ticket information visit tiff.net. TIFF prefers Visa.
In the last year a number of movies about the Iraq war have come and gone, barely making an impact with audiences. Well intentioned, but earnest movies like Lions for Lambs, Redacted and In the Valley of Elah were box office poison to a public inundated by images of the war on television. The latest film to comment on the war is a subversive new “what if” satire co-written by and starring John Cusack.
Partially inspired by Naomi Klein’s article Baghdad Year Zero, and set in the near future, War, Inc. is a vicious spoof set in the fictional desert country Turagistan. The war torn country is occupied by Tamerlane, a private corporation run by a former US Vice-President (Dan Aykroyd). Once they have completely decimated the place, he reasons, why would they then ignore the entrepreneurial opportunities that arise?
Cusack is Hauser, a hit man (he describes himself as “a morally twisted character from a Céline novel” or “like a reject from the Island of Dr. Moreau”) outsourced by Tamerlane to assassinate a Middle Eastern oil minister (Lyubomir Neikov) who wants to build a pipeline through the country thereby interfering with Tamerlane’s sole proprietorship of the land. Posing as a trade show producer, his cover involves setting up a televised party that will include a pop star’s wedding. Complicating matters are a Central Asian sexpot singer Yonica Babyyeah (Hillary Duff) and a snoopy reporter (Marisa Tomei).
War, Inc is kind of like the love-child of Wag the Dog and Grosse Pointe Blank. It’s darkly humorous, veering from slapstick to sincerity and back to satire with a side trip to soap opera land. The unevenness in tone may trouble viewers uncomfortable with sharp shifts in style, but adventurous viewers may find it exhilarating.
Some of the jokes are obvious—the tanks which patrol the Emerald City safe zone are festooned with advertisements à la Nascar—and some good sight gags are dampened by heavy handed direction—visual gags that are seen in wide shots are needlessly emphasized in close ups—but there is an anarchy to the film uncommon in the mainstream.
There is less and less satire on our screens these days because audiences have to work to get the deeper meaning of the piece and Hollywood doesn’t want people to have to think, they simply want them to buy tickets and popcorn. War, Inc, however, is food for thought. It is outrageous and not easily pigeonholed, but is very clear on where it stands on war profiteers, making interesting comments on the involvement of corporations in the wake of war. Are you listening Dick Cheney?
Showing maimed returning soldiers hasn’t been an effective tool for filmmakers to spark comment on the war, perhaps the jokes and satire of War, Inc. are what it will take to get people to finally respond to a movie that provocatively, but slyly comments on the current situation in the Middle East.