his year "Brave" of Pixar Studios, produced by Katherine Sarafian, won Oscar for the Best Animated Feature Film. In an interview with? NEWS.am STYLE? Katherine Sarafian shared thoughts about her success, secrets of animation and her Armenian family.
First of all congratulations on getting the Oscar award. You have worked on other famous Pixar films such as Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters,Inc. and others. Now it is Brave which won the prize that all filmmakers are dreaming about. What do you think is the secret of success? Is it about hard work or work is nothing without luck?
It's such an honor to have Brave recognized by the Academy, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and so many of our industry guilds. But even more rewarding is that Brave has been embraced by audiences.We spent more than six years making this film, so having audiences around the world appreciate and enjoy the film is our greatest reward.
Of course, the film required a tremendous amount of diligence, patience and hard work. Filmmaking is highly collaborative, and at Pixar, we feel successful when we work together toward the common goal of a great film. So I feel successful if the 250 artists and technicians working on the film had great relationships and made something exceptional that will stand the test of time. If we are working hard and staying passionate about our work and respectful of each other, then we succeed.
Making an animation film is a tough process. You need much time and need to be patient. Does animation-making affect person's character?
Animation requires a particular kind of patience and discipline. ? It is not for people who need to see quick results. Our work develops and evolves over many years, so it doesn't look beautiful until the very end. We have to truly trust the process, and trust the talents of our colleagues--we have to hold firm to the belief that everyone on the crew is invested in making the best film possible. That requires a level of trust and respect for others. People who cannot trust others or who cannot remain passionate and invested in an idea will not enjoy the animated filmmaking process. The animation artist's character is all about giving creativity the time and space to blossom--so that means time and patience and tolerance.
In one of your interview you said that while working on the film, you understood that you had much in common with your father "who was not great at managing people." You are a producer and managing others is one of the elements of your job. What do you think is the most difficult in your job? What person must do to manage people well?
My father's strength was in understanding people and empathizing with them, and I find that animation filmmaking requires a lot of skill in that area. My father was a priest, and he valued presence and being trusted by the parish. ? As a manager, I've found that my father's values are so much more helpful and meaningful to maintain than simple management. So while managing is a huge part of the job, it's not what really matters at the end of the day. It's the people and how trusted and valued they feel, and how much they believe I have their back and will help them with the going gets tough.
Brave? tells a story of princess Merida who lives in Scottish kingdom. You recreated Scotland and the costumes of the Middle Ages ? in detail. Nowadays, producers of movies are not paying much attention to the details. Why do you think it happens?
I think filmmakers do pay attention to details, but it varies among films. At Pixar, we believe that research is important, so we put a lot of thought and effort into getting the details right. We wanted to create a believable, authentic world, something that would be immersive for our audiences.
It's easier to take short cuts when making films, but on Brave, we felt it was important to go deep into research, because we did not want to create a stereotypical Scotland. We wanted a film that would be a new classic and withstand the test of time. That meant it had to feel ageless, and we were not going to take short cuts. Every filmmaker is different, but the decisions made on Brave were all about what our story required: a believable, immersive, rugged Scottish world with rich characters and costumes. The land had to feel epic and adventurous for our adventure story; the forests had to be dark for the more intense moments in the story; and the landscape had to be lush and inviting so that we would understand why Merida craved her freedom, riding her horse through the Highlands.
Armenians were very proud to hear that you are a producer of Oscar winning film. We would like to know have you ever thought about making an animation film based on Armenia's history or with Armenia's? mountainous? landscape.
I adore Armenia's mountainous landscape, and I saw many areas of Scotland that made me think of Armenia. I even learned that Armenia has standing stones, ancient relics like those depicted in Brave! ? I can't comment on specific film ideas I've considered, but I can say that I've heard wonderful ideas from fellow artists and friends about animation and live-action films that could do great justice to our country. I hope that these projects move forward, though they all require financial and community support.
You once said that your father was a priest in the Armenian church. Have you preserved any Armenian traditions in your family? Do you celebrate Armenian holidays or cook Armenian dishes?
We live a pretty typical Armenian-American life; I, along with my husband and children, all full-Armenian, are active in our Bay Area Armenian community. And of course, we eat every bite of shish-kebab and pilaf we can! We celebrate Armenian holidays and attend the local Armenian church in which I was baptized, raised and married.