The vast majority of professional critics have liked Net, the twenty-fifth feature film from Pixar, directed by Domee Shi (2022), the Chinese-Canadian filmmaker who won an Oscar for her short Beam (2018). To others it has not seemed like much, but rather the least outstanding of the study since Cars 2 (2011). But in every story, there are always points of view.
“The inspiration for this film comes from my life, growing up just like Mei, as a ditzy, awkward, confident, obsessive thirteen-year-old girl who is going to face big changes,” she tells us. Domee Shi in an interview with her and the producer Lindsay Collins. Not in vain, she knows perfectly well what a childhood and adolescence in Toronto is like those of Meilin Lee, the protagonist of Net.
“I woke up and my body had changed, I had hair everywhere, my emotions boiled over and I went from being my mother’s good little girl to fighting her every day,” the filmmaker continues; “And I just wanted to find out what was going on at the time and turn it into a fun, entertaining movie.” There is no doubt that the intimate is a source of creativity at Pixar.
The Oscar of ‘Bao’ did not influence the development of ‘Red’
When asked if the Oscar for Beamwhich Domee Shi obtained during the development of Netsomehow influenced it, she jokes looking at the producer: “I would have liked to show the Oscar to Lindsey [Collins] and say, “Look, this means you should give me more money, so you already know”. And the aforementioned responds: “If you work at Pixar, you should not deal with that kind of thing.”
“When you get the green light for a movie, you get the same amount of money regardless of whether you’re Pete Docter, who’s done four movies, or Domee Shi,” he continues. “They can tell you that this is the amount of time they give you and all these people to make the film. so really They don’t distinguish between an Oscar winner and someone who hasn’t.”.
The struggle of the protagonist, that of many Asian immigrant children
On the fact of knowing both the culture in which the adventures of Netthe filmmaker explains, “I feel like Mei being this kind of Chinese girl makes this story very unique and new, and something I really wanted to explore in it is a very specific fight that many Asian immigrant children have to deal with: how to honor themselves, their parents and their family.”
“And there’s no easy answer,” he continues, “and I think for me and a lot of other kids who genuinely love our parents, we really want to be good to them and acknowledge the sacrifices they’ve made. But we’re also growing up in a very different environment than you are, in the West, listening to different music, dealing with different kinds of kids, and becoming different people, and that can encourage one to move away from families”.
“And there’s something sad about it, but you want to keep it without going too far at the same time,” admits Domee Shi, who knows exactly what she’s talking about from the biography she referred to earlier. “I think that’s Mei’s struggle: “How I honor both realms; I don’t know if I can do it.” And I think that’s it a dramatic and interesting story to explore”.
Women, to power with ‘Red’
have worked with many women in positions creative decision when elaborating Net It’s been “fantastic and really exciting” for Linsey Collins. Last November, “they had the opportunity to show it to everyone at Pixar, like two thousand people, guests and others; And it was the first time that 90 percent of them saw something on the big screen because they’ve been doing it at home all the time.”
“We usually go on stage and the bosses welcome and thank everyone for their presence,” says the producer. “And there we were; we look around us and we were all women on stage for the first time. And we felt that the audience, our friends and colleagues, were applauding that we were all women for the first time. They were all very proud even if they had not worked in the movieThat that had happened.”
An eclectic animation style
“It was tricky because we wanted to create a really unique look for the film, a mix between East and West animation. Because Mei herself is a mix of both,” explains Domee Shi. “And my biggest influences are Disney and Warner Brothers, but also Japanese anime and Hayao Miyazaki movies. And we wanted a marriage of both in the film.”
“So all departments joined hands: art, animation, character design, camera… We needed to stylize the movie, and explore it in all aspects of the production, not just some or in a realistic way”, he abounds. So all the parts of the film had to be stylized as if the anime knew Pixar. And everyone was excited.”
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And Lindsey Collins adds these words to the question: “We had the studio artists draw for the effects team and they could put it into motion and CGI. It’s hard, and tricky because it seemed that it would be very easy, and it was not. Because, when those who collaborate in an artistic work decide to offer something unique, theirs must cost them so that it does not sound like they have already seen it.