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Find Your Way to Your Dreams in Disney’s Moana

By Yian Lu  /  08 Nov 2016 (Tuesday)
InCinemas is delighted to bring you Disney’s Moana’s press conference held today at MBS! We have in town the young voice actress of Moana, Auli'i Cravalho, Osnat Shurer the producer, lighting artist born and raised in Singapore, Roger Lee, and Griselda Sastrawinata the visual development artist. Check out the following snippets to see how dreams do come true and some little tidbits about this upcoming Disney animated film.

Dreams do come true

Q: Having a dream from a tiny little island like Singapore, to want to work with one of the biggest companies in the world such as Disney, something which is so iconic to nearly every single person in the world. That’s a very risky dream. That’s literally reaching for the stars. How did you get the nerve and the courage to go for something like that? Were there naysayers?
Roger: I guess definitely. Because this dream seems so out of reach. …definitely needs a lot of perseverance.

Q: Tell us a little bit more about your role in the production of Moana.
Griselda: Visual development artists are a group of artists that comes up with characters and the environment. We explore, do research and come up with different ways on how to represent in, how our movie should look like. My own experience in Moana has been truly a dream come true. I didn’t think that I would work in a movie with directors of the movies that I watched since I was a kid. It was just amazing to be able to do that. I heard about Moana, a story about a heroine, and I'm like yes, put me in, like I wanna be in it. I'm so glad that I'm a part of it.

Q: Do you have any plans for the next 5 years? What will you be?
Auli'i: I didn’t initially auditioned for Moana because first, I’ve seen so many wonderful auditions on YouTube and I doubted myself. I was focusing on school and honestly, I didn’t think I would get it even if I tried it out. But as it turned out, I did. If there’s something that I want everyone to know from my story, it’s that dreams can come true. Even the dreams you might not say out loud, they really do come true. If you believe in them enough. So I hope that everyone knows that. I’m still very much learning, and I’m still growing, and I’m 15. So, there’s a lot to learn and there’s a lot to grow.

Osnat: The hope is that people who see the film, girls or boys, will get this idea that you can follow the calling in your heart. For Moana very early on, she thinks that as a conflict between what her family and duty is and the call of her heart. And it takes the journey of the movie to realise they are all the same, they come together and that’s a really, really beautiful thing. ‘Cause it’s all permission to follow our dreams.

Griselda: Even though it seems impossible or so far away, but you could still prove to yourself dreams do come true.

Roger: Something very successful about it is it got me really interested about the Polynesian culture. Like for one, I researched about Maui, because it’s like who’s this super cool guy who can pull island from under the sea and shape-changing. So immediately I went to find out more.

What to watch for in Disney’s Moana?

Q: Water is something very hard to re-create. It’s got a life of its own. It moves in any direction at once. It really doesn’t take the shape of anything. But the way that you guys have depicted it, it looks so naturalistic. 
Osnat: It was an incredible team of technologists behind making this possible. We actually had over 80% of the movie that involves water. There is water in the distance. There is water in the foreground. There is water that laps on the beach. In animation, nothing is just there. We have to design everything, create everything. Then the waves that the boat creates became a whole new thing we have to figure out. There’s a team of amazing technologists and artists in our studio and I’m very proud to work with them.

Q: If you have to pick what your favourite part of the movie was, would you be able to?
Osnat: I personally really love the relationship between Moana and her grandmother. There are many other things I love about the movie but that relationship of Moana and her grandmother and that kind of salty wisdom that her grandmother has and her humour and her death, to me it’s that the warmth and the depth of the love of that relationship and how it allows Moana to fulfil her destiny and become who she’s meant to be.

Q: What kind of ripple effect would you want to deliver to the younger generation, especially since this is a very different movie from a classic Disney film?
Osnat: I think that there is another message in Moana. To me, she is a strong hero. It’s beyond gender, it’s beyond her age, it’s that we can follow our inner call. Particularly in her case, she has never gone beyond the reef. She has no training. She doesn’t know what she’s up against. All she knows is she has to do what’s right and save her island. She does this out of love of family, and out of love of her culture and her people, and I think that is a really important thing for all of us to remember. It's that our lives extend beyond ourselves to our world, our culture, our family.

And it seems like we have hope for a sequel..?

Q: If you’re going to describe or picture a future partner for Moana, what would he be like?
Auli'i: In our film, Moana does not have a love interest, which I think is really important and the main moral of it is that while Moana goes on her journey to find herself, you’re right, she doesn’t need a prince charming because quite frankly, you don’t need anyone else to help you figure out who you are. So, going off with that, I’m not sure. I’m really not. We’ll see what happens in the sequel. Hopefully. Maybe. -hints to producer-

Q: (To producer) You have a lot of say in that (sequel) as to what Moana has in store. What do you picture her doing if we see another film for Moana in the future?
Osnat: For us at Disney animation, the way we think about the sequel to a film is if the filmmakers have this great idea, this burning need to tell another story. We won’t just naturally do another sequel. So if an amazing idea comes out for a sequel for Moana and the world is ready for it, then we’ll have to wait and find out.


Auli'i Cravalho talks about Disney's Moana…and Dwayne Johnson.

Last but not least… Why we absolutely have to watch Disney’s Moana when it opens 24 November 2016?

Because it’s going to make you laugh and it’s going to make you cry and it’s going to make you think. To me, Moana in part is to listen to the voice inside ourselves. The world will always tell you who you are meant to be, and each one of us has a voice inside to tell you. That any age, any gender, to stop and to listen and to follow that call is something that I think is relevant to every single one of us. To me also, Moana has a message that feels relevant to the world today, which is nature. Our relationship with nature isn’t always in balance. Within the movie there is a whole story, what Moana does so selflessly to restore the nature. Through all that, hopefully there’s lots of laughs, there’s lots of cries, and people would come out of the movie, also learning something about the culture and its amazing history of medication and exploration.
-  Osnat Shurer

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