I was invited as media to cover this press event. All opinions are my own.
Sanjay’s Super Team is the latest short from Pixar Animation Studios. Accomplished by artist Sanjay Patel who uses his own experience to tell the story of a young, first-generation Indian-American boy whose love for western pop culture comes into conflict with his father’s traditions. Sanjay is absorbed in the world of cartoons and comics, while his father tries to draw him into the traditions of his Hindu practice. Tedium and reluctance quickly turn into an awe-inspiring adventure as the boy embarks on a journey he never imagined, returning with a new perspective that they can both embrace.
Sanjay’s Super Team is now in theaters alongside Disney’s The Good Dinosaur film.
While covering the press events in LA earlier this month, we also had the opportunity to sit down with the Director and Producer of “Sanjay’s Super Team” short.
Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle Q&A
After being noticed for his amazing artwork at the Asian Art Museum, Pixar invited Sanjay to join the team. John Lasseter suggested Sanjay create a short, but Sanjay was hesitant at first. After having a conversation with his father who encouraged him to try, mentioning he said, “it’s your duty to at least try.” So with the support from John, Sanjay’s Super Team came to fruition.
When asked about the impact the short will have on kids from his culture and background, Sanjay’s response was simple: he’s excited. Adding he’s really happy to tell this part of the story and for Pixar to be the ambassador for it.
We also asked what they hoped kids from other backgrounds will embrace from the story. Nicole shares, ” it bridges cultures and that the inner generational thing is happening everywhere right. The parents want to pass on something from their lives to their children.”
We asked Sanjay if his dad had a chance to see the short. He shared that his dad is not a movie guy, mentioning he hadn’t seen an animated film, especially one by Pixar, “so it was so surreal to like fly him up to the studio.” Adding, “he was emotional.” Nicole also shared that his father mentioned how proud he was of Sanjay. It was a pretty special moment.
Regarding the figures within the film, Sanjay shares, “we have 6 minutes to introduce these concepts, these cultural sort of figures. And without language it’s so hard to like really capture the depth and the complexity of these figures. Vishnu stands for preservation and balance. That’s a very simple 2 minute explanation.” He also mentioned there were 3,000 years of history written if anyone was interested in learning more.
When asked about coming up with a name for the short, Nicole jumps in and says, “It always had to be Sanjay.” Sanjay was quite humble and said he didn’t want it to be all about him. However, that’s really what the story came to be, so it was John who encouraged the title. And with the action figure in the short saying, “super team” that’s where the other part of the title came from.
At the end of the short it shows child drawings and we asked if those were Sanjay’s as a child. He said, “no, I wish they were. We asked the crew members kids to draw. So that was fun.”
During The Good Dinosaur after party fellow blogger, Taty, and I bumped into Sanjay and chatted a bit more about the short. He was really interested in hearing our feedback about the short.
The Good Dinosaur and Sanjay’s Super Team are now in theaters! See the trailer short here for more.