Attending unique, exclusive events is among the best things about working for Disney, and Disneyland Resort cast members did just that earlier this week as part of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. The Diversity Resource Group COMPASS (Community of Pacific Islanders, Asians and Allies) hosted a conversation for cast members with the directors of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana,” Ron Clements and John Musker, and producer Osnat Shurer, who shared how they brought the story to life. (Pictured above from left to right, with Disneyland Resort Ambassador Mikey Trujillo, are John, Moana, Ron and Osnat.)
Their process included taking research trips to the Pacific Islands, where they consulted with linguists, anthropologists, natives and artists and learned about the beauty of the culture and the people. Ron pointed to a suggestion they heard in Tahiti, “know your mountain,” which means “knowing your history, lineage, who your ancestors were, going back almost to the beginning.” The attention to these details helps make “Moana” and many other Disney projects, both onscreen and around the world, as authentic as they are entertaining. “So much goes into everything we do – our movies, our parks – there is so much detail, work and love, and being aware of that makes [them] better.”
“Osnat, Ron and John have created characters and stories that we all love,” said Allie Kawamoto, member of the COMPASS leadership team. “Our goal as a Diversity Resource Group is for cast members to leave feeling inspired, knowing that our company embraces diversity, and proud to bring these stories to life each day.”
I was just watching the documentary about this on the Moana dvd bonus section this past Saturday. I love that Disney always goes the extra mile when working on projects such as this.