FIRST PEEK: Disney’s New Short “Inner Workings” – Animation Scoop

FIRST PEEK: Disney’s New Short “Inner Workings”

Screening today in Annecy is the latest short from Disney Animation Studios – Inner Workings (aka on screen as Inner Workings Of The Human Body).

First-time director Leo Matsuda (story artist for Big Hero 6, Wreck-It Ralph) vividly illustrates of the internal struggle between a man’s pragmatic, logical side and his free-spirited, adventurous half – in a unique, fast-paced style that blends CG and traditional hand-drawn animation.

The 6 1/2 minute short will debut stateside on Nov. 23th, 2016, in front of Disney’s Moana.

INNER WORKINGS


LEO MATSUDA (Director) joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2008 as an apprentice in the story department. He worked as a story artist on WDAS’ most recent feature film, “Zootopia,” as well as 2014’s Oscar®-winning film Big Hero 6. Matsuda was nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production for his work on 2012’s Oscar-nominated Wreck-It Ralph.

Leo Matsuda. Photo by: Alex Kang. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Leo Matsuda. Photo by: Alex Kang. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Matsuda was one of 73 hopefuls who pitched ideas to the WDAS Story Trust. The group was narrowed to 10, then four, and Matsuda was ultimately selected to direct the new short. “Inner Workings is special to me because it directly reflects a theme in my life that many people can relate to,” he says.

Prior to joining WDAS, Matsuda worked in the character layout department on The Simpson’s Movie at 20th Century Fox. He was a junior story artist for Rio at BlueSky Studios, and was a story intern at Pixar Animation Studios.

Matsuda, who has loved to draw his whole life, decided to pursue animation as a career at age 16. He attended CalArts, majoring in character animation. “Walt Disney and Chuck Jones were always a huge inspiration for me,” he says. “I was amazed on how much emotion and entertainment you could get from moving drawings. “I’ll never forget how much emotion I felt while watching Dumbo.”

The native Brazilian is of Japanese descent. Matsuda says his Japanese side is by the book, while his Brazilian roots bring out the partier inside—so the director called on his own experiences to create Inner Workings.


Sean Lurie. Photo by: Alex Kang. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Sean Lurie. Photo by: Alex Kang. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

SEAN LURIE (Producer) joined Disney ten years ago as a producer at Disneytoon Studios. He produced Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure before being promoted to vice president of production in 2010, where he oversaw production of films in both the Planes and Tinker Bell franchises. Lurie transferred to Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2014 as vice president of development. He served in studio leadership for 2014’s Oscar-winning feature Big Hero 6, as well as this year’s hit Zootopia and the upcoming Moana.

Lurie signed on to produce “Inner Workings” after hearing the director’s pitch as part of the WDAS shorts program. “Leo Matsuda’s design sensibilities and uncommon storytelling style are what make this short special,” says Lurie. “The short finds very creative ways to show the importance of taking risks and making time to enjoy life. It’s joyous. That’s what I love about it.”

Prior to coming to Disney, Lurie served as producer/line producer for Klasky Csupo, an animation production company that made movies for Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures, including The Wild Thornberrys Movie, The Rugrats in Paris and The Rugrats Movie during Lurie’s tenure. His introduction to the animation industry was as a background painter on a series called Attack of the Killer Tomatoes in 1990.

Lurie was born in Burbank, Calif., across the street from the Walt Disney Studios where his grandfather had worked in post production in the late 1930s and early 1940s.


The film was inspired by the transparent human anatomy pages in director Matsuda’s childhood encyclopedia set, and the visual look of Ward Kimball’s character designs, straight out of the Disney Tomorrowland shows of the 1950s. Unlike Pixar’s Inside-Out, the characters here are not emotions, but stylized versions of the brain and the heart – even the kidneys and bladder – of the lead human, Paul, a bored clerk at “Boring Boring and Glum”, who is soon led by his heart into a new romance.

Here is a close-up of the lead characters from the first image released this week:

INNER WORKINGS

Jerry Beck

Jerry Beck

Writer, cartoon producer and author of more than 15 books on animation history. A former studio exec with Nickelodeon and Disney; currently on the faculty at both CalArts in Valencia and Woodbury University in Burbank.
Jerry Beck
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