Things That Matter

WATCH: Guillermo del Toro Keeps It Real And The Creators Of ‘Coco’ Thank Mexico As They Take Home A Golden Globe

In celebration of American film and television, hundreds of actors, directors, producers, screenwriters and more gathered for the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards this past Sunday. Although the representation of Latinos in film and television still needs lots of work, we were happy to see director Guillermo del Toro and animated film “Coco” take home a statuette.

As del Toro accepted his Golden Globe for Best Director, he made sure he wasn’t interrupted, telling the sound crew to lower the music so he could finish speaking.

CREDIT: NBC / YOUTUBE

In recognition of his work on “The Shape of Water,” del Toro gave an emotional speech. A spellbinding mix of science fiction, horror, and romance, “The Shape of Water” follows the main character, Eliza, a custodian in a science lab who becomes enamored by a mysterious creature held captive by scientists.

Del Toro speaks on his personal connection to monsters, opening his speech by saying, “Since childhood I’ve been faithful to monsters. I have been saved and absolved by them. Because monsters, I believe, are patron saints of our blissful imperfections.”

His deep connection to monsters goes back a long time, with his films “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Hellboy,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and others.

As del Toro began thanking his cast and crew, music came on cueing for him to wrap up his acceptance speech. But the director wasn’t having it, saying “C’mon guys. It’s taken 25 years. Give me a minute.”

The crowd applauded wildly in response, and del Toro went on to thank the incredible women he worked with on the film.

And the monster talk continued backstage.

CREDIT: VARIETY / YOUTUBE

In the backstage interview, del Toro was asked how he manages to balance being joyful and loving with seeing the dark side of human nature and terror. His response: “I’m Mexican.”

He goes on to elaborate, “No one loves life like the way we do, because we are so conscious about death.”

After the ceremony, del Toro celebrated with a trip to In-N-Out.

This is so me.

Another Golden Globe winner was Disney-Pixar film “Coco,” awarded Best Animated Motion Picture.

CREDIT: NBC / YOUTUBE

Director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla Anderson, and co-director and screenwriter Adrian Molina took the stage to accept the award for their first Mexican-centered Pixar film. Unkrich started off his acceptance speech by thanking Disney and Pixar for allowing them to tell such a culturally rich and beautiful story and for “empowering us to tell it with the respect and the dignity that it deserved.”

As “Coco” revolves around Día de los Muertos, Unkrich also took a moment to thank the loved ones we have lost who, as he put it, “paved the way for us to be the people that we are today.” He concluded his speech by thanking the people of Mexico, without whom they wouldn’t be able to tell this story.

In the backstage interview for “Coco,” Molina touches on how personal this film was for him as a Mexican-American writer and director in the entertainment industry.

CREDIT: VARIETY / YOUTUBE

The filmmakers explain that one of the main goals for “Coco” was to be as specific, respectful, and authentic as possible in regards to the Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos. Molina admits that “Coco” has been the most encouraging film for him thus far because “it reflects what you can do when you take that time and you open the door and invite many voices into the room.” Even though it took six years to make the movie, Molina feels it was completely worth it and marks this Golden Globes a very special moment for all Latinos.

Here’s how “Coco” fans responded on the internet.

CREDIT: PIXARCOCO / INSTAGRAM

Very well deserved. ?? Congratulations to Guillermo del Toro and to everyone behind the making of “Coco.”


WATCH: Watch Guillermo Del Toro Talk About The Hardest Day On Set While Making ‘The Shape Of Water’


Show some love to these Golden Globe winners and hit the share button below! 

Here’s The Woman Behind The Stunning Marigold Bridges In ‘Coco’ And Her Ofrenda Art

Culture

Here’s The Woman Behind The Stunning Marigold Bridges In ‘Coco’ And Her Ofrenda Art

Javier Rojas / mitú

This weekend is sure to be a special time at the Hollywood Bowl as Disney and Pixar’s Coco will be screening a live-to-film concert experience like no other. Stars like Miguel, Eva Longoria, and Benjamin Bratt made appearances at both screenings and the iconic film was accompanied by a full, live orchestra.

However, there was one other star making her presence felt this weekend. While she might not be taking the stage or even be known to some, she is a legend in the world of Día De Los Muertos. Meet Ofelia Esparza, who for the last 40 years she has been behind hundreds of ofrendas, or alters, honoring loved ones who have past.

Her work has been featured in some of most famous museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Japanese American National Museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art, internationally at the first Day of the Dead exhibit in Glasgow, Scotland. Just last week, Esparza and her daughter, Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, had an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

This weekend, Esparza and Ahrens showcased a three-level ofrenda right outside of the Hollywood Bowl venue. The ofrenda greeted guests attending the showings of “Coco.”

Credit: Javier Rojas

Esparza, 86, who was born and still lives in East L.A, has devoted most of her life to creating alters. She learned many of her craft skills from her mother in Mexico and in return has passed on these traditions to her nine children. For Esparza, alter making is more than just a form of expression but an obligation that has made its way through multiple generations to honor loved ones who are now gone.

While Esparza has never met her great-great-grandmother, she knows of her through years of alter-making. Without this craft being passed down through multiple generations, she says she might have never known much about her and credits this tradition for intimately connecting her.

“My mother passed this on to me at a very young age and it always stuck with me that I have to carry on these traditions because if we don’t then who will,” Esparza said.

Using an array of photos, candles and vibrant carnations, Esparza’s alters stand out for their use of giant multilevel structures. The alters range from personal, political and even spiritual. Her work has garnered her many awards including just last year when she was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as a 2018 National Heritage Fellow.

“I’m touched that people look at my work and want to learn more about this. It goes beyond just Día De Los Muertos but celebrating and honoring those who have past,” Esparza said. “To me that’s the biggest honor, being able to teach people about what alter making is really about.”

Esparza has followed through with many of the traditions her mother taught her at a young age and continues to pass this on. In her 40s, she became a school teacher where she included Mexican culture into her curriculum, including Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. This has included speaking at schools, museums, community centers, prisons, and parks throughout LA county and across the country.

Her expertise and passion for alters led Esparza to be a cultural consultant for “Coco.” Many of the scenes, including the famous flower bridge, were ideas that came from her.

Credit: Javier Rojas

Esparza was approached by Disney and Pixar to be a cultural consultant for the Oscar-winning film. She says that many details and scenes seen throughout the movie came from some of her feedback including the famous marigold bridge scene where ancestors cross over into the land of the living on the Day of the Dead.

“I gave them a lot of feedback on certain things including what the bridge that connects the two worlds of the living and the dead represents,” Esparza said. “It was incredible to see that come to life and for people to resonate with that message of crossing over into two worlds.”

When asked about the popularity of the film and what it means for new generations to learn about Día de Los Muertos, she says it makes her happy and only asks of one thing.

“I want people to know that Día de Los Muertos is more than just putting on some skull paint but a true honoring of those who are no longer with us.”

READ: Farmworkers Are Putting Their Lives At Risk As They Continue To Work The Fields Despite Raging Wildfires

A Latina Threw A ‘Coco’ Themed Party For Her Quinceañera And It’s The Cutest Thing Ever

Culture

A Latina Threw A ‘Coco’ Themed Party For Her Quinceañera And It’s The Cutest Thing Ever

@rc_olivas / Amazon

It’s an understatement to say that the beloved Disney movie “Coco” has inspired a generation. Not only do the themes of family and acceptance resonate across all age groups, but the movie’s vibrant colors and catchy musical numbers make it the perfect movie to entertain the whole family. As well all know, the film was created as sort of a love letter to Mexico and Mexican culture. 

In some Latinx families, watching it has become a sort of tradition. 

Many “Coco” fans will tell you that the movie isn’t just a movie–it’s a way of life. 

Pixar

The movie has obviously hit a chord with the younger set, inspiring endless amounts of musical covers, artwork, and blog posts. And of course, the movie has also become a huge hit in the theme-party racket. A simple Pinterest search will turn up dozens of photos of children’s’ birthday parties inspired by the hit Disney musical. When it comes to throwing a “Coco”-themed party, the artistic possibilities are endless!

But the most recent act reverence for the acclaimed film may be the most exciting one yet.

While many Latinas have quinceañeras that end up being more of their mother’s vision than their own, it looks like one lucky Latina got to take the reigns on her special day.  Recently on Twitter, a super-fan shared pictures with the film’s director of  a “Coco”-themed quinceañera. The party was complete with calacas, candy, and ofrendas–all of which brought to mind specific parts of the movie.

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

The birthday girl’s cousin shared the pictures to Twitter tagging the film’s director Lee Unkrich and asking Unrich if he liked it. Olivas shared four photos (although we would love to see more), of different parts of the party’s decor.

Needless to say, the pictures are a sight to behold.

It’s obvious from how intricate the decorations are that someone put in an incredible amount of work. We all know that many Latinx families spare no expense when they’re throwing a Quinceañera, but the amount of effort put into this one may just take the cake.

Just look at this beautiful “Coco”-themed ofrenda:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

If you look closely, you can see that one ofrenda has pictures of what are (presumably) family members that have passed. But on another ofrenda, the people in the photos are all characters from the movie. 

So much thought was put into the fictional ofrendas that the only characters displayed are ones that Miguel meets in the afterlife:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

As you can see in the display, great-grandma Coco sits in the middle. Then, there are Tío Oscar and Tío Felipe in the background, and Tía Rosita on the left. And of course, we couldn’t forget the infamous torn photo of Miguel’s great-grandfather, Hector, on the right. It looks like this family didn’t leave anyone out!

And of course, it wouldn’t be a “Coco” without Miguel’s guitar being featured prominently on one display:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

You can truly tell that this quinceañera’s decorations were a labor of love. The amount of detail that was paid attention to is inspiring. We wish this movie had been around when we turned fifteen!

And of course, the true piece de resistance was the cake, that has the signature “Coco”lettering emblazoned on the top:

via @rc_olivas/Twitter

We can just imagine all of the photos the birthday girl was forced to take standing in front of this. And although we know that it’s a tradition in many families, we don’t want to imagine this cake being destroyed at all! It’s truly a work of art.

As for the director, he responded to Olivas’s tweet with the perfect response:

Unkrich must be proud to know that they movie he helped create is helping Latinos truly celebrate their own culture. Latinas from generations past have not been lucky enough to have movies that starred Latinx characters with a well-rounded identity. In the past, Latinos have been sidled with watching stereotypical renditions of themselves onscreen from drug-dealers to “Mexican Spitfires”. “Coco” puts all of those stereotypes aside and simply tells a story where Latinos are shown for their humanity.

It’s moments like this prove that the movie “Coco” is more than just another children’s movie–it’s a piece of art that has touched people’s lives. This further proves that seeing art that reflects you and your culture is so important. Not only does it make  you feel seen in the world, but it can make you appreciate your culture so much more. This is especially true for marginalized groups.