Oscar 2012: Pixar’s Enrico Casarosa and Kevin Reher Talk La Luna
It’s Oscar season in Tinseltown and when the nominees were announced, it surprised no one that Pixar once again snagged a nod in the Short Animation category, this time for La Luna. Pixar’s longest short film to date, the heartwarming tale that accompanied Cars 2 in theaters is now getting its own moment to shine. More specifically, La Luna director Enrico Casarosa and producer Kevin Reher are taking their turn in the Short Animation spotlight. Both Pixar veterans, Reher has been at the company for 18 years, as executive producer of Canadian ancillary projects, as a casting director and more recently, shorts producer. Director Casarosa has been at Pixar for almost ten years as a story artist and now head of story on an upcoming feature for 2013, having worked at Blue Sky and elsewhere in the industry for 15 years prior. AWN caught up with the busy “moon men” to get their take on the making of La Luna as well as Pixar’s short film program, idea generation and how less can mean a whole lot more.
Dan Sarto: Enrico, first off, how does it feel to receive an Oscar nomination, joining a prestigious list of previous Pixar nominees and winners?
Enrico Casarosa: It's simply amazing. It made for quite the morning. I actually loved how early the nomination announcement was - 5:30 am. I was sitting in my kitchen, just one small light on, my wife and daughter still asleep, I had my laptop and a nice cup of coffee. It was so still and quiet, almost lonely, and then I started getting this wonderful deluge of messages from all over the world. Family, friends, colleagues and strangers reaching out and congratulating me. I loved that contrast, it's such a sweet memory.
What makes our nomination really special ultimately is that I think it means La Luna is resonating with audiences, the story we told is touching people. That brings the biggest smile to my face.
The nomination also makes me very proud of the artists at Pixar who poured their hearts and souls in this film. We had such a great crew on La Luna, I feel very fortunate to have had a chance to work with all of them.
DS: We’ll jump onto La Luna in a moment. But Kevin, I want to start with you. I know the shorts program at Pixar represents several things to the company, especially as a proving ground of sorts. Can you tell us a little bit about the program, its genesis what it’s designed to accomplish?
Kevin Reher: Well, Pixar’s first films were short films. John [Lasseter] and Ed [Catmull] are committed to shorts as an art form and don’t want to lose that part of Pixar’s history. We tend to do shorts in the dips between productions so that we’re not competing for the same resources. Our development department has three development executives who field all the shorts and help with getting them ready for pitching. They get them in front of what we call the storyboard group, which is [currently] filmmakers Pete Doctor, Bob Peterson, and Pete Sohn, who directed Partly Cloudy.
They will be the first people to see the pictures of a short film. The shorts can come from people within Pixar who want to have a short. Sometimes we target people and say, “You know, we think you’re terrific and you’d be a perfect person to do a short.” [As development you] put that on your radar. Then, once the short goes past the shorts board, it goes to John Lasseter for a final review.