*Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of these events. All opinions are 100% my own.
Bao Director Domee Shi & Producer Becky Neiman Interview
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs no matter what your role is, whether you are the mom, the dad or even the child. But on the other side of the coin it is also one of the most rewarding jobs. Your job as a parent is to protect your child(ren) in the best way you know how and eventually you have to let them go. Often times it happens before we as parents are ready, but we should be proud of the fact that they are ready to leave our nest and start a life all of of there own. Bao is all about a parent letting go and embracing the adult that their baby is becoming.
The short Bao has been in the works for four years and it is a modern day classic fairytale like The Little Gingerbread Man but with a Chinese dumpling. Since the creator is an only child, I could relate to her in lots of ways, but especially because Liz was an only child. As an only child you are treated more cautiously, and kept safe but the message is still the same for parents of multiples. You have to explore your relationship and let go of your little dumplings, even when you aren’t ready to do so.
Fun fact. Bao has two meanings: One is steam bun and one is treasure or something precious.
Letting go of your little dumplings is a tough job, but the short Bao is the perfect point of view from a parent’s perspective, and since there are no words, learning to let go is a universal language of love. The story was personal, but told from a distance which makes it relatable to everyone, no matter what stage of life you are in.
As with any Pixar film but especially this one, it was really important for us to get all of those little details right and to get the animators and effects artists like in there like studying my moms technique of like how she folds the dumpling exactly and kneads the dough and poking the dough and smelling the pork filling. It was important to get those details right, and accurate as possible on the big screen. Domee Shi consulted her mom a lot to get her perspective and of course was brought in twice to do dumpling-making classes. She even has a creative consultant credit as a thank you of sorts.
Bao is a Universal Story
Bao is a very unique and culturally specific story, but the underlying theme is universal. Everyone who watches the short can relate to each and every character. And at one time or another we all feel like we should be able to stop time in it’s tracks, which is symbolized by wanting to “eat” our dumplings. Kids love the little dumpling, and parents see their relationships on the big screen unfolding right before their eyes. While it isn’t their exact story, it is told in a universal language that we all understand which is love.
Working with Pixar is a Dream Come True
Domee Shi came to Pixar as a story intern in 2011, for a three-month storyboarding bootcamp essentially. Then, during that time, you pitch to a whole room full of like veteran story artists, supervisors, directors every week. At the end of that bootcamp, Domee was offered me a full-time position as a story artist on Inside Out, and has then went onto work on films such as The Good Dinosaur, Toy Story 4 and of course Incredibles 2. She did tell us that she boarded lots of the sequences with Edna and Jack Jack.
First Female Director
Domee Shi is the first female director of a short at Pixar, who feels very honored and humble. But hopes that she is the first of many female short film directors and feature film directors.
The whole point of the story was to show a complete opposite of mom, and present her like Mom’s worst nightmare. Mom had to adapt and change throughout the entire short, which is really parallel to raising a child. Instead of thinking you are losing a child, you have to think about it like gaining another child that will make your child even better in the end. It is a must see for everyone, and will steal your heart in just a few minutes.
Because family means everything, the new family members can learn your traditions, It takes love acceptance and forgiveness, but LOVE is a must for all parents.
About Incredibles 2
In INCREDIBLES 2, Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose super powers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible.
Everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in “Incredibles 2” – but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life. It’s a tough transition for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again—which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.
Directed by Brad Bird (“Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles”) and produced by John Walker (“The Incredibles”) and Nicole Grindle (“Sanjay’s Super Team” short, “Toy Story 3” associate producer),
“Incredibles 2” busts into theaters on June 15, 2018.
Be sure to check out the 2018 Disney Line Up before you go!
Be sure you download the Incredibles 2 Coloring Pages too!