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The Academy Explores Robots, Science and Superheroes with “Deconstructing Big Hero 6”

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will examine the creative leaps and technical innovations that went into crafting “Big Hero 6,” this year’s Oscar® winner for Best Animated Feature Film, on Thursday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Hosted by Academy governor Bill Kroyer, “Deconstructing Big Hero 6” will include illustrative film sequences, “making-of” clips and onstage discussions with key members of the film’s creative team as they chart their journey from creating Baymax, a robot like no other, to populating the hybrid city of “San Fransokyo.” 

Special guests include directors Don Hall and Chris Williams, producer Roy Conli, visual effects supervisor Kyle Odermatt, head of animation Zach Parrish, and director of cinematography lighting Adolph Lusinsky.

This year’s Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature Film,Big Hero 6tells the story of fourteen-year-old science prodigy Hiro, who spends his time developing fighting robots for underground competitions until his older brother introduces him to an eccentric group of young inventors. When the talented misfits band together to fight a dangerous villain, they gain an unlikely ally: a gentle healthcare bot named Baymax.

“When I was a kid, I loved Marvel comics. While working onWinnie the Pooh, I asked John Lasseter if I could explore the Marvel world for inspiration for my next film. I was encouraged to explore the Marvel vaults and one of the projects I found was calledBig Hero 6. I’d never heard of it, but I liked the title and its Japanese influences.” –Big Hero 6director Don Hall

The filmmaking team, led by directors Don Hall and Chris Williams and producer Roy Conli, steered the Marvel source material in different directions while emphasizing that technology and intelligence are the “superpowers” of the story’s heroes.

Research into the cutting edge of robot technology, particularly the soft robotics being developed at Carnegie Mellon University, led to the evolution of the film’s lovable healthcare android Baymax as well as Hiro’s microbots.

The film’s animation team studied robots, human babies and a variety of animals to help refine Baymax’s awkward but appealing style of movement, finding their greatest inspiration in the waddle of baby penguins.

The creation of the film’s world was equally inventive and groundbreaking in the creative and technical realms. The team chose to set their emotional yet action-packed story in the hybrid city of “San Fransokyo,” incorporating Japanese elements into an unusually detailed and geographically precise reimagining of contemporary San Francisco.

To bring this novel setting to cinematic life they incorporated state-of-the-art animation and computing technologies, making use of a cloud-based, 55,000-core supercomputer that was physically located in four separate geographic sites.

Disney’s brand-new Hyperion rendering system, a breakthrough in simulating complex and realistic lighting in computer animation, allowed “digital scouting” of an imaginary city with 83,000 buildings, 260,000 trees, 215,000 street lamps (of six different styles) and 100,000 vehicles. Meanwhile, the filmmakers used Denizen software to populate their story with approximately 700,000 distinct people, including 6,000 featured in the opening shot alone.

The evening will include film sequences and “making-of” clips alongside presentations and panel discussions highlighting the movie’s production process. The program will examine the creative and technical challenges of crafting this thrilling yet heartwarming hit.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets

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