Before the movie BRAVE, there will be a short film, directed by Enrico Casarosa called La Luna.
A fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait. A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?
How long did the short take to create and is it your own story? Also, was it inspired from something?
ENRICO CASAROVA: There were a lot of inspirations. It took roughly nine months of production. As for the inspiration? It’s my story.
The core of it is a personal experience of dealing with my dad and my grandfather growing up when my grandmother passed. We lived, we went and moved with my grandfather. It was a small house. My dad and my grandfather weren’t getting along, so in the short, it was a lot like my grandfather and my father — roughly twenty-five years ago.
I would always felt like I was stuck in the middle. So I thought that was an interesting thing to explore — a boy having to find his own way when there’s two forces kinda telling him, do it this way, no, do it that way.
And there’s different inspiration. One is Saint-Exupery in the Little Prince I have always loved growing up. You’ve probably seen the illustration of this cute little prince and on this planet, it’s actually quite small. I always was fascinated by something you could just walk around in a minute.
The last kind of inspiration was Italo Calvino. He’s an Italian writer I read growing up. At least in high school, we would read his stories. It’s very surreal work and he had one story which he brought a ladder to the moon. And in that story, specifically, they were getting milk from the moon and it got me thinking; wouldn’t it be fun to kinda come up with my own strange child-like myth of what someone could be?
Was it always going to be a short?
ENRICO CASAROVA : Yes. Usually we have to pitch three ideas, and I pitched three short ideas to get this rolling. I was asked if I wanted to expand and I said I haven’t found a good way to do that. You know, there’s a world that has all such gibberish, so it’s a little hard for me to imagine a longer story there, you know?
Talk about gibberish. Did you make a conscious decision to not have a language?
ENRICO CASAROVA : I think it’s a wonderful question. I wanted it there. I grew up with this wonderful cartoon called La Linea, which there was this character that was made out of a one line. He was talking this crazy language But it was very Italian. You didn’t know what he was saying, of course, but it had a flavor that was distinctively Italian, and I knew that I wanted gesticulating animation, so I thought wouldn’t it be great to still have that flavor.
Most of our shorts have been silent for a while, you know. So at first, some of the feedback we got, we decided to just put some music on it. So we had to fight to keep it. It took us a while to prove it and because I was doing the gibberish in the story reels with the editor, it was pretty bad. But to me, gibberish is a real art. We tried many different ways and we had to tone it down. If you put too many words, it’s a little distracting.
What is the process like to make a short?
ENRICO CASAROVA : You have a small crew. One specific artist has a little more to do, so you try and cover more within your abilities. Like I am a director, but I storyboarded the whole thing. Normally, you would have a story team. Um, or, you know, the same way, I did some mapping things for the stars in the background or, you know, you really have the smaller team, so those limitations become an interesting thing.
You feel very privileged to see a little piece of the puzzle coming together, and so it’s really fun. The process is the same as in a regular full-featured film.From the layout, the story – you have to build all these virtual puppets and sets and give them texture. We specifically look for a different look for this short.
I brought a lot of actual material and traditional watercolor paintings. We scanned them and put them on our geometry. I was looking for warmth but sometimes a computer can take away a little bit of its imperfections. You know, the computer is very good at making quite precise, slightly colder things. So we brought a lot of man-made imperfections and I thought it would support this more fable-like story, that it’s a little more like a kid’s book kind of world.
Did you know it was going to come out like Brave?
ENRICO CASAROVA: Not in the beginning. The timing of it became pretty quickly and interestingly enough, I didn’t think until maybe just a few months ago, how much the stories relate to each other. They’re both coming of age stories. Um, I’m very happy that there’s a boy and there’s a girl ‘coming of age’ story together. They are both good companions. They’re both European and they both have a fable-like feeling, so hopefully they will be good.
How did you come up with the exact look of the boy?
ENRICO CASAROVA : I started drawing him at the beginning,and he was always had a little bit of a full moon, himself. So that was a little bit of the thought, and the important thing being also that his eyes were really big, the complete opposite of the Dad and Grandfather. So I was looking for contrast there. He’s obviously quite different from these guys. In fact, the first time that I drew him, I drew humongous eyes and we kind of thought, it didn’t look like he was from the same family. We needed to make those eyes a little smaller. You want him to be from the same world, but you want to use contrast as much as possible. So one of our character designers had this great idea to put his eyes a little bit to the left.
If you see our main image from La Luna, there’s a crescent moon in the white of his eyes, which are a wonderful little subtle thing. You don’t notice right away in the short. But in, in the poster, we made it a little more apparent, you know. A lot of these things that can be subtle, but when you notice them, they’re kinda neat, you know?
I’ve heard a lot of people enjoyed it more once they saw it the second time. For example, we put a lot of details in our movies and shorts, so they’re always kind of fun to find out a little more.
So there you have it. The exclusive Q&A that was recorded during the Disney/Pixar Press Event.
**All photos are property of Disney/Pixar.
Don’t forget, BRAVE hits theaters June 22nd!!
Disclosure: Disney provided me with an all-expense paid trip to San Fransisco for three days for the preview of CHIMPANZEE, LA LUNA and BRAVE. All opinions are all my own, as always.