At the opening of the Elemental Experience Mall Tour in San Mateo, California, we had the opportunity to chat with some of the folks from the project. Lisa Cabello is a Disney spokesperson, whom you may be familiar with from the Disney Movie Insiders podcast. We also chatted with Elemental’s Directing Animator, Gwen Enderoglu and Pixar’s EVP of Production Jonas Rivera.
Laughing Place: What's it like to celebrate Elemental and the world of Element City here with all these families in the San Francisco Bay Area?
Lisa Cabello: Very, very special. I'm actually from the Bay Area, so it's very personal to me. I love this movie so incredibly much. It's vibrant, it's heartfelt, it's humorous, so creating an experience like this for people to get to step inside, have fun photo ops, activities to experience, it's truly incredible.
Laughing Place: You get to bring this movie alive through different elements that are in Element City, How did you guys create all this stuff and bring it all together?
Lisa Cabello: This movie just pops, so as soon as you see it and the idea that we're imagining elements are alive, you want to experience it, so we had to do that with each of these individual activities.
From the hydration station where you get to sip some water, dive into a photo op, how perfect is that? Ember, she works at her dad's local shop in Fire Town, so we had to bring that here as well. You get to make your own hot-cold truffle from our sponsor, I'm the Chef Too, so it's a really fun activity that continues to immerse you into the story. The wind tunnel, we absolutely love this because you get to navigate the gusts and try and grab your own Fandango movie ticket. How fun is that? The Pixar Learn to Draw experience that you talked about, you're learning from Pixar artists, these amazing minds behind the film. They created this world from scratch. How cool is that? Then. Of course, to close this out, we have to represent Earth, ground us in there at the end. One of our favorite characters, Clod, in the movie, is there to take a photo with you. There's apple seeds that you get to take home, so you can just keep celebrating at home as well.
Laughing Place: We have some young or budding animators here that are learning how to draw from Pixar artists, as you mentioned, and we were talking about how this may be the spark that makes them true animation fans. What movie made you a Disney movie fan?
Lisa Cabello: Oh, wow. I would say Toy Story was definitely one of my all time favorites. I've loved the entire franchise. I mean, ugh, goodness gracious, you'll catch me on the wrong day, and it'll be just water work. I absolutely love it so much. Up is another one of my favorites. Ratatouille, I could go on and on, but yes.
Laughing Place: What's it like to see a film that you worked on come to life in such a physical way here?
Gwen Enderoglu: Honestly, there's nothing like it. We're lucky that we get some standees and stuff at Pixar, but this space is so immersive. To feel yourself next to a life-size Wade and a life-size Ember, it just really brings you into the world in a way that's totally different than watching the film on a screen.
Laughing Place: What's it like to finally have Elemental out into the world?
Gwen Enderoglu: It feels wonderful, truly. I think people can see all the hard work and the love that we have put into every pixel on screen. This movie is unlike any other on the screen. It's so colorful, it's so vibrant. Honestly, I just feel so proud of my team, especially, and just all the work that they put up there. It's just beautiful.
Laughing Place: We saw you drawing with some kids earlier today. We were talking about how this may be a moment for the kids that come here in the next couple days that sparks their interest in becoming an animator, moves them from just watching them to wanting to be a part of the process.
Gwen Enderoglu: Absolutely. I think it is a responsibility that we have for all of us in whatever industry that we're in to bring the interest to the younger generation, to share the gift of what we get to do with others and to help inspire it. Truly, I think all of us have moments in our childhood where we can look back at it and point to it and go, that's what set me on this path. If this could possibly be that for a kid coming to visit, I think that could just be incredible.
Laughing Place: So Elemental's out. What's it like?
Jonas Rivera:Yeah. It's out. We're so excited. These movies take years and years and years to make. We always used to say that these movies were surprise parties for the world. We've lived with it for so long. We're so proud of it, every frame we've got, everything. You put it out in the world and it's this mix of being nervous and excited, and you just hope people love it as much as you do. So it feels great. We're proud of it. We're proud of everything. I think what I love about this movie is there's not a cynical note in it. Pete Sohn, who I love, he's just a very sweet and warm person, and that movie, it oozes out his vibe.Jonas Rivera:
Laughing Place: You get to celebrate with fans this weekend here at the mall with an experiential version of it. After being sequestered for the last couple films where we couldn't do kid things like that, what's it like to be able to see families enjoying the world of Elemental and Element City?
Jonas Rivera: It's everything, because you're right. First of all, we get so used to being holed up at Pixar where almost everything's a secret. So then you get to come out in the world and share and have kids, people that haven't seen it yet, people that just saw it. You're right. We have been holed up for a couple of years, and so it's like we're getting used to it again. This is all we do. It's why we do it, man. So people come and take their kids and hopefully love the films. I'm out here drawing them and it's so great.
Laughing Place: What do you hope families that are going to watch the movie this weekend take away from the film?
Jonas Rivera: I hope they take away that t's a love story. It's a comedy. There's points about ethnicity and immigration. There's this mixed bag of all these things that are important to all the people that made it. I've always thought, when I was a kid seeing movies, I always felt like going to the movies almost like a little vacation. That you want to take a souvenir home with you. It's things you remember.
When I was a kid, I saw The Little Mermaid. That was the movie that made me go from loving animation to wanting to work in animation. I just hope, as I see some of these kids, that these kids fall in love with it that much. That not only do they love it, they actually want to make stuff.
Laughing Place: Look at these kids. They're getting to draw characters with the animated director of the film.
Jonas Rivera: That's pretty cool, right?