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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Disney Animation’s first Latina director Charis Castro Smith talks ‘Encanto’, the power of family

When Disney’s “Encanto” premieres on November 24, it will mark a milestone as the company’s 60th animated feature film.

But it marks another, even more important cultural moment as it is the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film to be co-directed by Latina and only the second Disney animated feature film directed by a woman.

But while 38-year-old Charis Castro Smith is happy to break the glass ceiling for Latina directors, she doesn’t want to be part of an exclusive club.

“I don’t want to be alone, I don’t want to be alone in this club. It’s great; I’m glad the milestone has been reached, but break this barrier as quickly as humanly possible because for me the first and foremost There’s no reason to be single,” said LA resident and veteran TV writer, playwright and actor Castro Smith who is making his directorial debut with an upcoming Disney film.

Castro Smith co-directed “Encanto,” which features songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda with Jared Bush and “Zootopia” co-director Byron Howard.

Castro Smith and Bush co-wrote the film, which is set in Colombia and tells the story of Mirabel Madrigal, a teenage girl who is the only member of her family who does not have magical powers.

“I’m very proud of this film. It delves into all the joys and complexities of families and everyone who goes to see it is going to either identify themselves as one of the characters in this family, or those people. Identifies those they know from their families,” she said.

setting a course

For Castro Smith, born and raised in Miami in a Cuban family, the road to “Encanto” began with his career as a playwright, influenced by the work of another Latino writer.

When he made his first show as a young child, cast his younger brother in plays he wrote and kept for his family, it was in high school when he read the play “Marisol” by Puerto Rican playwright Jose Rivera , that Castro could see Smith seeing a grim future for himself as a writer.

“It really changed everything for me. He’s a Puerto Rican writer and it just spoke to me in a way that was completely different from anything I’d read before. And I wondered if he could So maybe I can too. So reading that play really set me on a path for the rest of my life,” she said.

But before she discovered her work, Rivera said she remembered seeing very few Latino writers and entertainers in mainstream films and musicals, Castro Smith said.

“I remember being eight years old thinking, ‘Don’t the people who make movies know we exist?’ I was legally obsessed and I think once I got a little older it became a real mission of mine and something really important to bring our culture on screen, to diversify on screen and to tell those stories. was,” she said.

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female lead

After graduating from Brown University, Castro Smith attended the Yale School of Drama, and in 2008 she wrote her first play, “Estrella Cruz,” while studying acting. [The Junkyard Queen],

“That drama was a lot about my mom. I was the first person in my family to leave the house. It was a big deal for me to leave Miami and go to college,” she said. “And it was really hard for my family to understand That’s why I made this choice at that time. So that drama was really born from the moment I was growing up and wanted to do different things,” she said.

He has since written five other plays inspired by a mix of genres such as his family and culture, along with Greek mythology and even some elements of horror and magic. But the uniting factor is always a strong female leadership, she said.

“It’s something that I feel really passionate about in that complex, dynamic, female protagonist being cast on stage and on screen,” she said.

His leap to TV came in 2015 when he created his Lifetime series “Devil’s Made”. She was also a writer and producer on the Fox television series “The Exorcist” and the Netflix series “The Haunting of Hill House”.

He was brought in as a writer on “Encanto” to collaborate with Bush, but almost nine months into his gig he was asked to become a co-director.

“I think it’s risky to give a chance to someone new and step out of their comfort zone, especially for a big company like Disney, and I give them a lot of credit for taking the chance on this film.” he said.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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