In just a few short weeks from now, Disney+ subscribers will see how messy growing up can be in Pixar’s Turning Red. Based loosely on director Domee Shi‘s life, the film follows Mei Lee (Roseling Cheng), a confident 13-year-old girl struggling to balance her life as a dutiful daughter to her mother (Sandra Oh) and the chaos of her youth. And things get more complicated when she finds out that if she gets too excited or stressed, she turns into a giant red panda.
Turning Red marks the first time, in Pixar’s 36 year history, that a woman of color has directed a full-length feature film on her own at Pixar. Shi won an Academy-Award winning short in 2019 for her directorial debut on Bao. While the win was a huge honor for her, Shi blazed a trail for future female directors to not be afraid to tell their stories.
The Nerds of Color had a chance to talk about Turning Red with Shi and what it meant for her to be such a trailblazer. We also chatted about the film’s semi-autobiographical nature and its unique animation styles.
Turning Red launches on Disney+ on March 11, 2022.