Reader Review: La Luna

La Luna, Pixar’s newest short, made its public debut last week at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, which gave lucky attendees a sneak peek at the short before the rest of the world. In recent years, new Pixar shorts have premiered with the studio’s feature films, but La Luna will take some time to hit theaters (likely with Brave). Reader Ingrid Mengdehl was one of those lucky few who got a chance to view the short film at Annecy and she was kind enough to send along a report. Read on to check out her spoiler-free review, along with a recap of the entire presentation!

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Take it away, Ingrid:

I was able to attend the last of the Pixar presentations at the Annecy Film Festival, held on Friday. We were about 100 in the room (there was a “first arrived, first seated” policy, and a lot of people couldn’t get in). The presentation was led by Daniel McCoy, a Technical Director who has worked at Pixar for the last 22 years and Dylan Sisson, a RenderMan Technical Artist.

Before the beginning of the presentation, we had a visit from the French Minister Of Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand, and the US Ambassador in France, who came to greet and take some pictures with the people from Pixar.

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We then started the presentation with the screening of La Luna, which is, in my opinion, the most magical short film ever done by Pixar. The story is both simple and really enchanting, with a great twist at the end that left the whole audience going “Aaaawww.” The characters are instantly likeable and interesting, and there’s some great creative ideas behind them (but I can’t say more, since it would be a bit spoilery).

As for the visual aspect, it’s simply stunning. The ambiance of the whole film is really soft, with mainly blue and yellow hues. A lot of work was put into the lighting as well as the textures (a delicate mix between CGI modeling and watercolour aspect), which gives a unique feel to the story.

The audience was really delighted and there was a lot of clapping at the end.

Daniel McCoy then went on with the presentation by showing us some slides from the whole production (storyboard, character design, lighting script). He also explained how they solved the different problems they were facing with the film, mostly regarding the lighting (again, I’d go into details if I wasn’t afraid to spoil 😉 ).

The whole production of La Luna took around a year and it’s [director] Enrico Casarosa’s first film at Pixar.

The second part of the presentation, led by Dylan Sisson, was about the new version of RenderMan (Pixar’s software used throughout the movie industry that renders 3D animation and visual effects), where we had a glimpse of all the new possibilities of the software as well as case studies from a scene in Toy Story 3.

At the end of the presentation, everyone was able to grab a poster of La Luna.

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Now, if there is a better definition of lucky, we would love to hear it! Thanks to Ingrid for sending over this great report. It sounds like La Luna will be another majestic short from the animation studio. While the images and the clip that have been released so far have been stunning, it is always great to hear confirmation from a viewer.

La Luna has no confirmed date for debut in theaters, though playing alongside Brave in June 2012 is almost a sure bet. When news of the short’s schedule hits, we will have it for you!

About La Luna:

La Luna is the timeless 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?

Click here to view a new image and 30-second clip from the short, which just debuted a few days ago.

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  • Joshua Miller

    I was also there covering the event, and was very fortunate to see it twice. Without spoilers, I agree, it was classic pixar “aww”. Cute, simple narrative of a coming-of-age ritual with lovable characters. Excellent character design and textures. It was pretty obvious that the director put alot of his pasion into this story, basing the two elderly characters off his own family and the story of an old italian fable he was told as a child. It’s a very genuine animation.

    However, I really felt like The Ballad of Nessie (to be premiered with Winnie the Pooh) took the cake over La Luna. It was refreshing to see a female director premier a classic non-cgi Disney short with modern comedic timing (similar to Emperors New Groove). The story book tale, narrator and characterization of Nessie was superb, and I felt more drawn into her character and her story than I did with La Luna.

    It’s difficult to compare a CGI Pixar film to a 2d Disney animation, but I found The Ballad of Nessie a welcome surprise to the world of shorts and I look forward to seeing more 2d Disney shorts.