I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Italian born story artist, writer, and director Enrico Casarosa after a screening of his short film LA LUNA. I will tell you as I watched the short I instantly fell in love with the characters and the story and yes, it tugged at my heart; so meeting the director was a real treat and a chance for me to thank him for his amazing film.
Casarosa was born Genoa, Italy. He came to the US in his twenties and worked for Blue Sky Studios before signing on with Pixar in 2002 where he worked on CARS, UP, and RATATOUILLE, butLA LUNA is his first short.
The short uses no words and just three characters and yet it speaks volumes. It turns out that the story was based on Casarosa’s life – the boy in the film is himself as a child and the other characters were inspired by his father and grandfather. The pair didn’t get along, but they would ultimately live together when Casarosa’s grandmother passed away and his grandfather moved into their home. Even after the men shared a house, they wouldn’t speak to each other, and instead they relied on little Enrico, who loved them both, to work as their liaison carrying messages back and forth.
In fact, Casarosa reminisces in his soft-spoken voice with his telltale Italian accent about their typical evening this way, “…if you go back twenty-five years and you see the kitchen and the dinners, it would have been a lot like this boat where it would be my dad and grandfather and I’d be in the middle. So that was something visually I wanted to capture and so it like felt the right kind of memory and personal story to then convey a coming of age a boy that has to find his own way when someone is telling him do this- no, no, no, no, no, do that.”
Pixar Short “La Luna” – Shooting Star Clip
Upon chatting with Enrico Casarosa I could feel the pride he took in his film and in his Italian heritage. The boy in the film feels so authentic as do the father and grandfather that I couldn’t help but love them even with their shortcomings. The film left me smiling and with a sense of warmth that everything was going to be all right for this boy who was becoming a man and going his own way.
Pixar originally funded the program for 4 minutes but the story stretched to seven and they made the budget fit the project. Enrico explains with a smile, ”We wanted a feeling that these guys have been doing this job for generations. It’s kind of timeless feel, so we tried to age stuff a lot and texture is really a big part of it – that was really kind of a fun part. And I think it comes a little bit from the way I worked…I kind of write visually. I don’t really write sitting down on the computer. I made images in watercolor and pencils. I made twenty-five images to tell the story to pitch it to John Lasseter and that kind of gave us something to maybe not aim for, but to bring into the computer world.”
Production took 9 months to complete and what resulted was seven minutes of heaven – a great story, compelling characters, and a beautiful film overall. Like me, you may never look at the moon the same way again.
What’s next for Casarosa? He’s said to be currently working on an untitled dinosaur project for Pixar. LA LUNA can been starting June 22, 2012 with BRAVE in theatres nationwide.
Connect with Enrico Casarosa
- enrico casarosa (@sketchcrawl) on Twitter
- http://www.sketchcrawl.com/ – a worldwide event dedicated to drawing and art
- Enrico Casarosa’s Portfolio and Sketchbook