In “Sanjay’s Super Team,” the new short film from Pixar Animation Studios, accomplished artist Sanjay Patel uses his own experience to tell the story of a young, first-generation Indian-American boy whose love for western pop culture comes into conflict with his father’s traditions.
Sanjay is absorbed in the world of cartoons and comics, while his father tries to draw him into the traditions of his Hindu practice. Tedium and reluctance quickly turn into an awe-inspiring adventure as the boy embarks on a journey he never imagined, returning with a new perspective that they can both embrace.
During a recent Press Junket, we had the Exclusive opportunity to privately sit down with Director Sanjay Patel and Producer Nicole Paradis Grindle to talk about about the new short.
Q: Where did the inspiration come from for the story, is this a true story?
Sanjay: Yeah it totally happened for sure. I was sharing the story with John Lassetter about a little boy in India, ignoring his own roots and who’s obsessed with super hero comics, and he comes to appreciate his culture. And then I also told John about how I grew up and how every morning my dad worshiped this God and Shrine and I worshiped my Gods on TV. John was intrigued with my story and history.
Q: Where did the idea come from for the concept of the Temple and the Gods fighting the monster?
Nicole: We went through so many different concepts. It was more of little Sanjay’s interpretation, turning into this Anime, super hero kind of battle. It took time, and all of these different artists working with Sanjay, who were throwing in all these brilliant ideas.
Sanjay Patel (Director) joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1996 an animator on “A Bug’s Life.” Since then he has animated on many of Pixar’s feature films, including “Toy Story 2,” “Monster’s Inc.,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Cars,” Toy Story 3” and “Monsters University.” In addition to animating, Patel also storyboarded extensively for “Monster’s Inc.,” “The Incredibles” and “Toy Story 2.” For the Cars Toons “Mater’s Tall Tales,” Patel stepped up to act as animation supervisor on many of the shorts in the series.
Growing up in San Bernardino, Calif., in a Gujarati family, Patel’s earliest artistic influences stemmed from two very different worlds: comic books and Saturday morning cartoons, and the Hindu gods and spiritual culture that came to define his upbringing. After pursuing his artistic interests at the Cleveland Institute for the Arts, Cal-Arts and Pixar, Patel eventually turned his attention back to his roots, creating art, graphic novels and picture books that re-envisioned Hindu mythology in a modern, pop-culture way.
“Sanjay’s Super Team” is Patel’s personal story and a “mostly true” chronicle of his journey to understand the Hindu world so important to his parents. Patel resides in Oakland with his fiancé and their son.
Nicole Paradis Grindle (Producer) joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1995 as producer of the “Toy Story Activity Center” interactive computer game. She has managed numerous departments on many of Pixar’s feature films, including “A Bug’s Life,” “Monster’s Inc.” and the Academy Award®-winning feature “The Incredibles.” Grindle acted as the production manager on Pixar’s Oscar®-nominated short “One Man Band” and on Pixar’s Oscar®-winning feature “Ratatouille.” She served as the associate producer for both “Toy Story 3” and “Monsters University.”
Grindle came to Pixar with seven years of animation-related production experience. At Colossal Pictures, she worked on MTV’s “Liquid Television” as associate producer and “The Wish That Changed Christmas” as producer. She began her feature film career at Industrial Light and Magic on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Grindle graduated from The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and holds a Master of Arts degree in documentary film from Stanford University. Grindle resides in San Francisco with her husband and two children.
“Sanjay’s Super Team” opens in theaters on November 25, 2015, in front of Disney•Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur.”