‘Turning Red’, a Pixar movie set in Toronto, premieres

Friday marks the premiere of “Turning Red,” Pixar’s new animated feature retelling the life of a Chinese-Canadian teenager in Toronto.

This is Pixar’s first feature-length feature film set in Canada. The film boldly explores the awkward moments teenage girls can go through, with the main character, Mei Lee, at one point transforming into a giant red panda – a metaphor for puberty. .

“I especially wanted to tackle the topic of puberty – girls’ puberty – and that moment in your life, especially for me, where I went from being the perfect little girl. of my mother to become the hormonal monster that is fighting her all the way,” Shi told CTV News.

Set in the early 2000s, the film features many landmarks that are familiar to anyone who grew up in Toronto during that era, including the CN Tower, SkyDome, Chinatown, and Kensington Market. The TTC tram is also prominent and Mei’s school – Lester B. Pearson High School – is also named after Canada’s 14th prime minister and is inspired by real schools in the city.

“It was inspired by my own life and Pixar was completely on board,” Shi said.

The film is based on director Domee Shi growing up in Toronto and her relationship with her overprotective mother.

Shi graduated from Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont. and also won an Academy Award in 2019 for “Bao,” an animated short film also set in Toronto about a Chinese dumpling coming to life.

“Turning Red” is also the first Pixar feature film to be directed by a woman, and the key film crew is also all female. Canadian actress Sandra Oh, who voices Mei’s mother, is keen to join the project.

“Domee Shi – a brilliant and wonderfully talented Canadian filmmaker! It seemed like I wanted her to direct me,” Oh said.

Due to lingering COVID-19 concerns, the film is skipping theaters and is releasing exclusively on the Disney Plus streaming service on Friday. However, Shi’s film still received critical acclaim and seemed destined to be a success.

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