Today, Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios announced a new upcoming original feature film ‘Luca.’ It sounds promising that this coming-of-age film can share the beauty of Italian geography and culture with animation.

Set in a seaside town on Italian Riviera, the story is about one young boy who experiences an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: he is a sea monster from another world just below the water’s surface.

With the juxtaposition of beauty and darkness, this film sounds similar to Disney’s ‘Coco,’ which excites me.

As I think back to the press trip I took for Disney’s ‘Coco’ years ago, I remember hoping they might develop a film that could show the beauty of the Italian culture as vividly as they showed authentic cultural elements for ‘Coco.’ In fact, if they could share movies with detailed accuracy for all cultures, it would be wonderful.

Disney tends to research culture with in depth detail for their films, whether their team spends time with Pacific Islanders for ‘Moana,’ goes on research trips to Mexico to prepare for ‘Coco,’ or learns about Norwegian Christmas traditions for ‘Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.’

'Luca' is set to open in U.S. theaters June 18, 2021.

I look forward to seeing how they research for this new film, especially since I’m an Italian-American who misses my own grandparent’s pasta and nostalgically yearns for that summer in my teens when I enjoyed gelato with siblings, cousins and friends on the streets of Florence.

Disney chose an Italian storyboard artist and director, Enrico Cararosa, for this movie. He was born in Genoa, Italy, and he was nominated for an Academy Award for the animated short film ‘La Luna.’

“This is a deeply personal story for me, not only because it’s set on the Italian Riviera where I grew up, but because at the core of this film is a celebration of friendship. Childhood friendships often set the course of who we want to become and it is those bonds that are at the heart of our story in ‘Luca,’” said Enrico Casarosa, director. “So in addition to the beauty and charm of the Italian seaside, our film will feature an unforgettable summer adventure that will fundamentally change Luca.”

From what I’ve read so far, ‘Luca’ sounds as though it will deliver a story that can bring the beauty of the Italian coastline to theaters (or homes?) with a fantastic twist. This sounds like a truly unforgettable summer film!

‘Luca’ is set to open in U.S. theaters June 18, 2021.

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