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COCO Press Junket

Thank you, Disney and Disney*Pixar for inviting me to COCO Pre-Screening and Press Junket, I’m extremely grateful and humbled to be part of the COCO family. You guys I’m going to lay it all out, when I was invited to the Pre-Screening of COCO, I read the synopsis of the story and thought, “Hmm, I wonder how this will portray on the big screen.” So I was neutral walking in to screen COCO, walking out, however, is another story, I was one hot mess, ugly tears were streaming down my face, trying to catch my breath. You know the type I'm talking about, the kind where your neighbor whom you have no idea who they are passes you their tissue! Yes, this happened to me, the poor lady I think I took her entire travel size Kleenex. Enough of my ugly cry story, allow me to talk about the Press Junket before I get ahead of myself, which I already have.

Our Press Junket was with the cast of COCO, Benjamin Bratt (voice of “Ernesto de la Cruz”), Gael Garcia Bernal (voice of “Hector”), Anthony Gonzalez (voice of “Miguel”), Edward James Olmos (voice of “Chicharron”), Alanna Ubach (voice of “Mama Imelda”), Director Lee Unkrich, Co-Director Adrian Molina and Producer Darla K. Anderson. Mr. Edward James Olmos, a living legend was up on the stage and I couldn’t contain my excitement, to be able to hear him speak was an honor, not to take away from the rest of the talent, they are all in their own right phenomenal. This ensemble was absolutely amazing, I wholeheartedly believe one of the reasons this film will be successful is because of everyone on that stage. They were all each other cheerleaders, they praised one another and more importantly, they all knew the importance of portraying Día de Muertos.

Día de Muertos is a Mexican holiday celebrating the Day of The Dead. Day of the Dead is a day of prayers and remembrance of friends and family members who have passed. More importantly, the movie portrays the rich heritage filled with depth and meaning. A culture that is based on love, family, respect, and keeping with traditions. It’s crucial to remember that each of us has a story, our families have histories to share with us, most importantly we must respect each other's ancestry. I once heard that we need to stop using the word diversifying and be accustomed to normalizing. When you label someone as diverse, they are fitting a definition, they are now placed in a box in your mind. However, if we stop with the labeling and make everything a norm, then that person or group of people will just be that, their own individual that doesn't have to live up to stereotype. I’m one to say I dislike the word “tolerant,” why should I tolerate anyone and in return why should anyone tolerate me? I accept everyone for who they are, I love them because of who they are, I am not tolerant, I am honored and grateful to have you in my life. It’s vital to know that we may all learn something new from one another, most importantly I am no different than you and you are no different than me.

COCO had me thinking, this movie will have you exploring your culture, your humanity and most of all everything will be brought front and center, to this very moment. It will have you reevaluating your life and relationships, you’ll know what’s important or it'll solidify what is already in your thoughts. I’m sorry I got a little heavy, but it’s important to me to get across that we are all one, in the end, we will all turn to dust and it’s imperative to have our memory passed down in goodwill then be forgotten and misplaced. Make a positive change in the world and you’ll create a ripple effect.

I was able to ask a few questions, my first question I’m unable to share with you because it gives the movie away and I don’t want to ruin it for you. The Press Junket above is NOT in it's entirety, I've cut it off when they started talking about the depth of the film. My second question, I asked what they would like children to learn from COCO:

*DARLA K. ANDERSON: Sure. Yeah, I mean, I think what I want - when we make our movies, we make them for everybody - young to old. And so what I really want young kids to take away from the film is to be thinking about their ancestors, and think about where they came. Well, first, I want them to have a great time. First I want them to come, and enjoy the film, and have a fabulous time. And then if they watch it multiple times, I want them to be thinking about, hopefully, where they came from, and who their great-grandparents might be, and what their ancestry is. And then Adrian’s fond of saying he hopes that they’ll all pick up a musical instrument.

*Co-Director Adrian Molina: Yeah. I also think - you know, we have a different relationship to our traditions, depending on what age we’re at. And I think there’s something that’s really beautiful about Miguel’s story, and the point that he is in his life, where you know, sometimes it takes you a long time to learn the value of the things that your parents have to teach you, or that your grandparents have to teach you. And sometimes it’s a struggle to realize why that applies to your life. And Miguel, I think is just this really great entry point for kids to just see this transition from, you know, not understanding the value of his family’s traditions, to really opening up and seeing that even when communication is messy, that that love is there, and that as you grow older, you really begin to understand and respect the sacrifices that are made for you, and you want to pay it back; you want to find a way to say thank you for all of the things that the previous generations have struggled to provide for you. And I think that’s a really good example to have at a young age. Sometimes it takes people much longer to realize those things. And I think Miguel, over the course of the night, grows dramatically, and hopefully, you know, children notice that, and parents notice that, and it allows for just talking about, you know, the things that we’re thankful for. And the fact that it comes out at Thanksgiving in the United States I think is a perfect opportunity for families to discuss that.

COCO comes out November 22, make sure to catch it Thanksgiving weekend. You’ll walk out giving thanks for the friends and family that are in your life and missing the ones that have passed. This is life, this is now, this is your moment. See COCO Thursday, November 22.

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