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The University of Southampton
FilmPart of Humanities

‘Making waves and making characters: a software perspective on Moana and Inside Out’ Seminar

16:00 - 18:00
20 February 2018
Lecture Theatre B, Avenue Campus, SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Malcolm Cook at .

Event details

Part of the Film Research Seminar Series 2017-18. All welcome.


Moana (Disney, 2016) and Inside Out (Pixar, 2015) are widely known for creating positive role models for girls. Celebrations of Moana and Riley rely on mapping the two animated characters to girls in actuality. The ocean in Moana has also been widely applauded for its realism, giving the impression that the water is an accurate depiction of real-world phenomenon. Again, the animated ocean is mapped onto actuality. I aim to take your attention in a very different direction, and argue that the ocean, and indeed all simulations in animation (and live-action films), never straightforwardly mimic reality; instead, they sit at the intersection of multiple technological and cultural influences. For Moana, these include Disney’s history of water animation, water as a character based on automated simulation and artistic control, and enduring ideas about the ‘magic’ of animation. I take this idea further for Inside Out, and claim that the design of the Emotions is informed as much by particle simulation software as by behavioural psychology. If Moana and Inside Out tell us anything about actuality, that actuality is both physical and digital.

Speaker information

Aylish Wood, University of Kent. Professor of Film and Media

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