Annecy 2014: Pixar Previews ‘Inside Out’ (In-Depth Report)

For a film that is not due for another year (that isn’t Star Wars), Inside Out has a great deal of buzz surrounding it, for a number of reasons: given that there is no Pixar feature film this year, the studio’s absence is certainly being felt, increasing expectations for its next film; it is the first film from director Pete Docter since he made audiences around the world openly weep during UpInside Out footage the animation studio has screened at the D23 Expo and CinemaCon has knocked viewers’ socks off. Today, Pixar screened the most footage from the film to date, in France, and from what we are hearing, the film only seems to be raising expectations.

Updated Inside Out logo. (Via DisneyFr Instagram)

Updated Inside Out logo shown at Annecy (via DisneyFr’s Instagram)

One of our great readers, Hayley, sent in a detailed report of what she saw at today’s Inside Out panel at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. As far as I am aware, these details are not major spoilers. Pixar would not be screening crucial scenes at this stage, especially given the track record of the secretive studio. Yes, your best experience may be seeing these scenes without having had read anything about them, so here is your chance to look away, but if you are curious as to how Docter and his team at Pixar have captured the mind of a young girl and how it works, read on! There is a bit of overlap from what Pixar has previously explained about the film, but Hayley has shared some great new details.

Read her report below:

  • Pete Docter arrived on stage to a loooong round of applause. He gave us a brief talk about how he got into Pixar and how the studio developed. It was lovely to see some photos of him with the greats – Frank and Ollie, Chuck Jones.
  • Then he talked about his daughter and how his experience with change was the inspiration for Inside Out – what he’d experienced with his daughter and also himself.
  • We saw some animation tests for the emotions – Anger got a lot of laughs, mainly because his character is obviously quite small and grumpy. The test showed the other emotions throwing stuff at him off-screen before he eventually lost control. Fire appeared out of his head and the other emotions used it to toast marshmallows.
  • Concept art was shown:
    • The emotions all live in ‘Headquarters’, it’s a colourful sort of living pad.
    • The way they’ve tackled memories is absolutely brilliant! Each memory is a hue of the colour of the emotion Riley felt when remembering it, so her Joyous ones are yellow-y, anger is red, etc. They are stored in short-term memory. Each night, they move through a sort of kinetic system into long term, and then (I can’t remember what he called them) these little characters suck away the faded and unimportant memories (i.e. as Pete put it: the names of past US presidents, math etc.)

Inside Out

  • Then they showed us the first five minutes of the film – some was still animatic and some blocking, but the animation they have done is beautiful. It opens on Riley as a baby. Joy is her first emotion. Joy seems happy on her own, but then sadness appears. When Riley is being fed broccoli, Disgust appears. When her father threatens no dessert without eating her broccoli, Anger makes an appearance. Fear has a great introduction – she looks at a cable on the floor cautiously and then steps over – the comedic timing in that is better than I could explain. We also see the emotions watching her first important memory appear. Memories can be called up for Riley to recall on a sort of projection in Headquarters. Then we see her growing up, and saw some of how her emotions cope with that. It’s very much a Pete Docter opening to the film. I found myself completely empathising with the situation, just like in Up and it caused me to get a bit teary. It’s another heartfelt opening which Docter is obviously really good at.
  • The story of the film is about how she experiences moving from the country to a smaller house in the city. Sadness tries to make her cry on her first day at the new school, but Joy tries to stop her. They fight and fall out of Headquarters into the depths of Riley’s consciousness (not quite sure if that’s the appropriate word?). The film explains how imagination and déjà vu work, along with other things the brain experiences. It’s not set in the brain – there’s no blood vessels or stuff like that, but the design has taken influence from how brains look.
  • We were also shown a glimpse of how they’re animating. It’s a new trial for Pixar – they’re looking at old Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. Since the emotions are made of particles, they can stretch more than Pixar have done with other objects in previous films.

Hayley reports that they also screened a dinner scene, which has previously earned raves at the D23 Expo and CinemaCon.

Inside Out

Pixar is now deep into the animation process on the film. It appears that the opening scene, which was shown, is another moving piece. After Up, and the sky-high expectations that its opening scene created, we expect nothing less from Docter. Putting aside the story details above, hearing that Chuck Jones and Tex Avery are inspirations for the animation is fantastic. The two animation greats, who worked on a wealth of Looney Tunes shorts, inspired many to become interested in the animation art form.

Most of the world is still waiting to see any footage from the film, as a teaser should be on the way soon. Pixar has historically unveiled teasers for its upcoming films with its current film, usually a year before release, but given that there is no feature film this year, it is difficult to pinpoint when we will see it. Some footage is obviously ready to be shared in a teaser, so it likely hinges on timing decided by the marketing team. We will have to wait and see.

Inside Out hits theaters on June 19th, 2015!

UPDATE (6/12): Hayley was also kind enough to send in a few photos, including of Pete Docter doing a signing, as well as a keepsake featuring new Inside Out concept art that was handed out to attendees:

Inside Out At Annecy - 1 Inside Out At Annecy - 2 Inside Out Concept Art At Annecy

Many thanks to Hayley for all the details!

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  • Strong Enough

    I animated on this film!

    nah i;m lying

  • Morgan Stradling

    Pretty awesome! Can’t wait to see these characters become an integral part of the Pixar universe after it’s released.