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Nominees Have A Date with Brad Bird, Ed Catmull & The Rest of Pixar’s Staff

A first for the tour, but most likely not a first for the Madame Tutli-Putli team was about their enigmatic ending. Maciek explained that the intention of the film was less about plot and more like a poem where one scene doesn’t dictate the next, but informs the preceding scene.

Alan (l to r), Marcy, Chris, Maciek, Sam, James, Josh and Hugh field questions at Pixar. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Alan (l to r), Marcy, Chris, Maciek, Sam, James, Josh and Hugh field questions at Pixar. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Like last year, a pattern of the same questions being asked at the various screenings continues. Of course the first question was to Chris and Maciek about the human eyes on the puppets in Tutli-Putli. Marcy said one of the difficulties of working with the eyes was timing out shots. Chris and Maciek found that the performance via the eyes sold some scenes quicker than when it was cut using the eyeless puppets. Josh was asked about the audio footage of John Lennon used in his film, which he said had never really been heard before they made I Met the Walrus. A first for the tour, but most likely not a first for the Madame Tutli-Putli team was about their enigmatic ending. Maciek explained that the intention of the film was less about plot and more like a poem where one scene doesn’t dictate the next, but informs the preceding scene. Chris added that the work of Carl Jung was also influential in setting the mood for the film. A little tidbit about the title is that in Hindi it means puppet, as well as delicate woman, which is a fact that the directors did not know before they were informed of it by a Hindi speaking member of one of their audiences.

Ralph Eggleston is just wrapping up work on Wall*E. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Brenda Chapman poses for a pic with Roger Gould (l) and Ron Diamond. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Ralph Eggleston is just wrapping up work on Wall*E. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Gary Rydstrom (head of the table) joins the nominees for lunch. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Gary Rydstrom (head of the table) joins the nominees for lunch. © 2008 AWN Inc.

After the studio screening, Pixar treated the nominees to lunch with some of the studio’s directors including For the Birds‘ Ralph Eggleston; Brenda Chapman, writer of Cars and the director of an upcoming Pixar feature that will be announced soon; and Gary Rydstrom, a veteran of the Oscar tour from last year with the film Lifted. Gary told us he’s currently working on a feature as a director based on an idea he pitched.

Brad Bird chats with Peter and the Wolf producer Hugh Welchman at lunch. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Brad Bird chats with Peter and the Wolf producer Hugh Welchman at lunch. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Ron Diamond (counter clockwise), Suzie Templeton and Marcy Page talk with Disney Animation head Ed Catmull. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Ron Diamond (counter clockwise), Suzie Templeton and Marcy Page talk with Disney Animation head Ed Catmull. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Roger Gould also joined us and chatted with Chris about managing the creative process by experimenting. Chris said that their first hand drawn rendition of Madame Tutli-Putli was not good, so they brought in actors and workshopped the script, shooting it from every angle. Roger mentioned that one of the challenges on Ratatouille was the script change midway, which added new sets such as the farmhouse sequence that begins the movie. He also said that at Pixar they try to focus their features on personal stories and that The Incredibles and Ratatouille are very much Brad Bird as a guy trying to do something he loves, but isn’t allowed to. Speaking of Brad Bird, he was true to his promise and dropped by to chat with the nominees as did Ed Catmull. Both took time out of their busy Oscar schedules to spend real time talking with the animated shorts nominees.

Check back later to find out what Brad Bird and Ed Catmull had to say to the nominees.