By Evy Baehr, Associate Editor
Movieguide® recently had the opportunity to speak with Katherine Sarafian, a Producer on Pixar’s BRAVE. Katherine gave some wonderful insights on Pixar and what BRAVE is really all about.
MG: How excited where you when you saw the result of the movie at the Box Office?
Producer Katherine Sarafian: Honestly, I get emotional if I answer that. It is an overwhelming feeling because we make movies we want to see. Obviously, we make it for a wider audience. The ultimate reward is to try to touch a lot of lives with these things. I feel so fortunate, so blessed, to be at a place where we have the resources to make a movie on this scale that can be so widely seen and embraced.
MG: This seems to be the first Producer title you have, how was it?
Katherine: Been at the studio for 18 years. So, even though I knew that I had plenty of experience, I knew this would be a completely different beast. Being ultimately responsible for a film of this scope is pretty intense. . . we had about 250 people on our team. We are making a movie with a lot of firsts, first time we were going back to an ancient time period, we were doing a very naturalistic environment, you know the hair, the clothes, a lot of technology challenges. We had a female at the center of the story. So it was a big thing, but it was exciting every day because it was a fantastic team that was passionate about telling a great story. Those are [the kind of] people you want to be around if you are going to be working around something for five or six years.
MG: So you guys actually started about six years ago?
Katherine: Yeah it was August, 2006 when 12 artists and I went to Scotland for the first research trip. We had a treatment and a rough script in place.
MG: What was it that intrigued you about the story?
Katherine: The thing that intrigued me was the core relationship. I was interested in a parent, a child and at the center was a teenager. I’ve always been very in touch with my inner teenager, and the idea of being in between things, being in between childhood and adulthood, being in-between worlds, not knowing where you fit, that really resonated with me, and I thought it would resonate with audiences. And, I was passionate about telling a story about coming of age.
MG: That’s definitely an interesting age for a main character.
Katherine: It is. You know, you have someone turning 16 in a time period where there were certain expectations. She is a part of a royal family, which is another set of expectations, but at her core, she is a lot like any teenager, wanting to carve her own path in life, make her own decisions. She’s butting heads with her parents. It’s something that I found really compelling. This is a really fresh take on the teenage angst film, really.
MG: What do you think teenagers can learn from Merida?
Katherine: Well, I think they can learn bad lessons and good lessons depending on how they look at it. She makes some pretty bad decisions, and she makes some mistakes. So I hope teenagers learn less about the making mistakes and the recovering of them. Merida has to learn that her pride and her anger, and her frustration, and her selfishness, are only going to lead her down a bad path and that she has to resolve her relationships with her family. Particularly has to find ways to see and understand and be seen and understood by her mother. This is something that’s very important for young people as they are coming up, defining and carving their own path in life while still appreciating other points of view.
MG: What was it that you got excited about Pixar?
Katherine: A little known fact, I was not necessarily drawn to the animation part of it so much as the technology side. When I came to Pixar, it was because I was very interested in the science of it, the idea of using computers to make movies and tell stories. I was very excited by the new digital wave and all the capabilities that computers would give us for making art. So, that’s what brought me in the door, and why I was excited to come there. But, that very quickly shifted [to] the love of the art form. The idea of using science for art and using art for science was hugely compelling to me and the reason I came to the company was for the science. The reason I stayed was for the people, the collaboration of artists and scientists.
MG: What inspires you to do these family films?
Katherine: I am inspired by the people making them. I think it is important to have great family entertainment in the marketplace. I grew up watching great family entertainment, but what inspired me to keep doing it was the people and never have I seen a group whose hearts are in the same place as Pixar. From John Lasseter, to Andy Stanton, Brad Bird, Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, all these directors, and our executives in charge of the studio, they are passionate about telling great family stories. They are passionate about making movies for all ages that are optimistic, that have heart and have humor and adventure in them. It is an important mix for entertainment. You know I want something my family’s going to be able to watch, but I just love my colleagues. I love who they are. I love what they stand for and what they try to do. So, what inspired me to do it is that I want to work with them. They are inspiring people and they are very talented, so as long as I am working with them I can believe great things can come out of the studio.