Academy Award-winning director Lee Unkrich comes to BYU for a screening of his film “Coco”.


BRAVO! Professional Performing Arts presents a night of cinema for the whole family to enjoy. “Offering a film screening is not something the BRAVO! Series has done before,” said Bridget Benton, the series’ curator and Assistant Dean at BYU’s College of Fine Arts and Communications. “However, due to its strong familial themes, Pixar’s “Coco” became a quick choice for BYU.”

“Coco” sprang into the world of popular cinema after years of hard work and creative development. Though the Pixar film won Academy Awards for both Best Animated Picture and for Best Song, its road to the theater was not an easy one. “Coco” had to go through some serious reimagining during the film’s story developments stage.

Originally planned as a film about a Mexican-American boy coming to terms with the death of his mother, “Coco” went through radical changes after the leading creatives on the project came to understand Dia de los Muertos and Mexican culture more fully. Director Lee Unkrich, who will be present for the screening, was central to this process and to the film’s eventual realization.

Unkrich has stated the sense of ownership and personal attachment he felt to “Coco.” In a number of interviews, the director has stated the immense responsibility he felt to accurately represent Mexican culture and to select a story and direction for the film that would reflect it well. This was his responsibility not only as a director, but also as the man who originally pitched the film to Pixar.

Though “Coco” was a stressful film to create in many ways, Unkrich is no stranger to directing high-pressure projects. Having joined Pixar in 1994, Unkrich has worked in some capacity on nearly every project the company has turned out. While he started as a film editor, much of Unkrich’s work at Pixar has been directorial. In addition to “Coco,” he directed or co-directed “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Finding Nemo” and “Toy Story 3.”

For those attending the upcoming BRAVO! screening, Unkrich will stay after the film to discuss his work on “Coco” and his experiences in the filmmaking business. Benton is certain that “this will be an opportunity to gain insights into a beloved film in a personal and unique way.”

The screening will take place in the Pardoe Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on September 14.