A Look Into Pixar’s The Blue Umbrella With Director Saschka Unseld #MonstersUEvent

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Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 12.01.14 AM pixar THE BLUE UMBRELLA
Almost as famous as the Disney Pixar films themselves are the animated shorts we have come to expect infront of them. Disney Pixars Monsters University is no exception with the animated short The Blue Umbrella. Created by director 36 year old Saschka Unseld, The Blue Umbrella is one of the most fascinating shorts I’ve seen in a long time. What is truly inspiring is that the idea of The Blue Umbrella actually blossomed from an Instagram project Saschka Unseld does in his spare time. And almost just as amazing is that this entire film is animated. Not just the faces, not just the umbrellas – yes EVERYTHING.

I could recap the interview, but Saschka is an artist through and through. The way he uses words paints a picture and paraphrasing simply wont do it justice, so I’m going to let him tell the story for himself.

I was living here already since, like, four years or something like this. And it really rarely rained. And then finally it was raining. And I went for a walk through the city, and I saw an umbrella someone had thrown away on the side of the street. And I took a picture of it. I had this weird, incognito blog called Rainy City Tales on Tumblr that I actually was running during the production.

That picture stuck with me and, and I was thinking about stories I wanted to tell. I just… It’s this weird thing. You see this umbrella and it’s just an object, but it looks so sad, and it looks kind of so down and drenched and, like, some, some kind of – the ribs are sticking out, and it just, I don’t know. It’s a super sad sight. I wanted to tell a story with that.

Pixar The Blue Umbrella Director, Saschka Unseld
From there the story takes a very personal turn…

It became me thinking about where I grew up and how it rains much more than here. And I really like cities in the rain a lot. Um, I think they become beautiful. In Hamburg, in Germany. The north. Eighty percent of the year it’s overcast. And it rains a lot. Thinking of that, what it means emotionally to me, the idea became, well, it should be a love declaration to the rain. The story should be, I want you love the rain. It’s about someone who loves the rain so much. It’s a love declaration to the rain, then it should be a love story. Like, that’s the only story that fits to a love declaration. It is a love story between two umbrellas.

Once the idea formed, Saschka then drew inspiration from San Francisco, New York City and even Paris. It’s bits and pieces from all over the world. Inspiration and detail came from all over within these cities. There is complexity and beauty in the details of a city – from the cracks in the sidewalk to the shoe streaks on a mail box. The details and subtleties within The Blue Umbrella compliment each other so well. It’s simple and yet so complex, incredibly deep. The Blue Umbrella gives a sense that there is a huge world around us that we often miss. Don’t miss it before Monsters University, I promise you will be amazed and I hope that you’ll laugh, cry and love just as I did.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY releases in theaters on June 21st! Register for classes online:
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