Disney’s “Zootopia” Directors Give Exclusive Lecture at the U

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“Laughter is timeless, and imagination is ageless.”

This quote by Walt Disney represents the heart of his company, said Bryon Howard and Rich Moore on Wednesday, March 2 at a presentation for their upcoming animated film “Zootopia,” which opens this Friday. During this talk, the pair opened up about their histories as filmmakers, showed behind the scenes footage and talked about the filmmaking process.

The pair said at Disney they “strive to tell timeless stories, entertain and share deep emotion and great humor,” keeping the magic of their company alive. “Zootopia” carries on this tradition. It touches on characters having to look past their differences and stereotypes, realizing that what separates them makes them unique and able to help each other. “Zootopia” took 800 people working for five years to make. Before they could even do any of the animating, they had to do vigorous research. This research took them to Africa, where they studied the environment of the animals featured in the film.

Film directors from Disney's Zootopia interview and presentation, Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016, Peter Creveling Daily Utah Chronicle
Film directors from Disney’s Zootopia interview and presentation, Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016, Peter Creveling Daily Utah Chronicle

Moore is an animator and director who’s worked on some of TV’s biggest cartoons, such as “The Simpsons” and “Futurama.” He also directed “Wreck-it-Ralph” and was the creative leader for “Frozen” and “Big Hero 6.” While it may seem strange that he transitioned from adult-oriented comedies to the kid-friendly “Zootopia,” he said it wasn’t as hard because they wanted to make sure the movie would appeal to adults and children alike. He and Howard did not set a limit on what they could and could not include in the film.

Moore said he recollects taking odd jobs in the animation field, none of which he regrets because they got him the position he’s in today.

Howard works as a director, animator, producer and screenwriter. He’s worked as lead character animator on films such as “Lilo and Stitch,” “Brother Bear” and “Bolt.” His primary work has been on traditional 2D animated films, where the animation comes from one image following another, rather than being computer generated 3D works.

Shifting from traditional 2D animation to 3D was easy for Howard, he said, because he got to build upon the traditional way of creating these films. But while they enjoy this new way of doing things, both Howard and Moore agreed companies need to continue with 2D, something they said Disney is trying to uphold and continue.

What was once their dream as children became a reality for both of them. They said they just knew animation was something they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. Moore said animation is a unique field because once you become immersed in it, you start to forget the world around you, and people don’t take you seriously for doing so.

d.ibrahim@dailyutahchronicle.com

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