Pixar makes its way back into the Cannes Film Festival this year by closing out the cinematic celebration with Peter Sohn’s heartwarming culture clash animated feature “Elemental.”
“Elemental” is Pixar’s fourth film to be selected for the event, following the likes of “Up,” “Inside Out,” and “Soul.” All three films, directed by Pete Docter, Pixar’s chief creative officer, eventually won the Academy Award for Best Feature Film.
Set in Element City, where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together. The story introduces Ember, a tough, quick-witted and fiery young woman, whose friendship with a fun, sappy, go-with-the-flow guy named Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in.
Docter said, said this year’s return to Cannes is particularly special for the studio. “As we all emerge from our pandemic cocoons and come together in story rooms, animation dailies and impromptu brainstorming sessions, it’s a joy and honor to have Pixar back on La Croisette,” said Docter. “Directed by the extraordinary storyteller Peter Sohn, ‘Elemental’ is so funny, full of heart and, frankly, stunning to see. It was created for audiences to experience on the big screen and I love that it’ll make its world premiere at Cannes.”
“Elemental” is a close story to Sohn, who said his experience growing up as a child of immigrant parents, his love of chemistry, and being the husband to someone who isn’t Korean served as the basis for the forthcoming animated culture clash film. It stars Leah Lewis as the fiery Ember and Mamoudou Athie as the water-guy Wade.
Ronnie del Carmen, Shila Ommi, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Catherine O’Hara, Mason Wertheimer, Joe Pera, and Matt Yang King round out the remaining voice talents.
Docter, Sohn and producer Denise Ream will join members of the film’s voice cast at the event. Cannes has hosted the international competition since 1946. “For many years, the Cannes Film Festival has welcomed animated films from around the world,” said Thierry Frémaux, general delegate, Cannes Film Festival. “Pixar Animation Studios, with ‘Up’—directed by Pete Docter—made Cannes history by opening the 62nd edition of the Festival in 2009. It was a wonderful event! This is another great opportunity to present the amazing ‘Elemental’ on the closing of this 76th Cannes Film Festival and to think about our lives in such a powerful way.”
And to commorate the announcement, Pixar has unveiled a special image of some very fashionable Ember and Wade sitting on some cabanas as they have a drink of their choice.
Directed by Sohn, who uses a script written by John Hoberg, Kat Likkel, Brenda Hsueh, and Sohn, “Elemental” opens in theaters on June 16, 2023.