May 31, 2023 13:10
The director of Disney-Pixar's latest animated feature "Elemental" was born in New York, where his Korean immigrant parents ran a grocery store. But Peter Sohn has had higher ambitions since he was a kid drawing things while studying the periodic table.
"When I first saw the periodic table at school, it looked like apartment complexes. All these little boxes reminded me of the families and the neighborhood I was growing up with," Sohn told reporters on Tuesday.
He is visiting here ahead of the film's release on June 14.
"Elemental" takes place in Element City where fire, water, air and earth live together. It is not only a story of how people from different cultures understand each other and learn to live together but also explores father-daughter dynamics.
"The idea of an immigration storyline boiled down to a father-daughter has been met with very positive reactions," Sohn said.
His personal experiences are reflected in the heroine Amber's encounters with culture clashes and prejudice. A water family she meets asks her, "How can you speak our language so well?" That is a question most Korean Americans encounter in the U.S.
He said it is distressing when people first encounter such prejudice, but that also helps them look at who they are.
Sohn joined Pixar as an animator in 2000 and took part in the production of "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles." In 2015 he made his directorial debut with "The Good Dinosaur."
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