‘Zootopia’ codirector pays tribute to Filipino-American
BEVERLY HILLS, California—A budding dream maker from the Philippines helped enliven “Zootopia,” a story about racism, that won best animated feature at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night.
In a backstage interview with the media after accepting the award, codirector Rich Moore paid tribute to the animated film’s cohead, Josie Trinidad, saying she brought “her own point of view to that story.”
“She’s from the Philippines. She’s a woman of color,” said Moore, who described Trinidad as “incredibly talented.”
He said the film was “about bias and discrimination and racism and the damage that does to our society and the damage that leading by fear does to society.”
Trinidad “has a wonderful story sense” and is “so great as a leader,” Moore told the Inquirer in an earlier red-carpet interview.
Trinidad began as an apprentice in 2004 and rose from the ranks. Her mother, Carmencita Lazo Trinidad, is from Canlubang, Laguna province. Her late father, Amado Fernando Trinidad, was born and raised in San Juan City in Metro Manila.
The PG-rated film follows a bunny named Officer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) as she struggles to prove herself in the Zootopia police force. She enlisted the help of a con artist fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) in uncovering a conspiracy.
Zootopia bested Disney’s “Moana,” “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Illumination’s “Sing,” and French-Swiss feature “My Life as a Zucchini.”
“We wanted Zootopia to be a film for kids, but also for adults, that talked about diversity,” said codirector Byron Howard.
Last year’s best animated feature, Pixar’s “Inside Out,” was codirected by another Filipino-American—Ronnie del Carmen. Trinidad said she was a “huge fan” of Del Carmen.
Filipino-Americans attending the 74th annual awards on Sunday (Monday in Manila) show echoed Zootopia’s timely message of diversity.
Fritz Friedman, former senior vice president of worldwide publicity for Sony Pictures Entertainment, said there was not enough diversity in Hollywood, “but I think they’re making good progress.”
“Hollywood is fast discovering that diversity and inclusion is not just a moral imperative and an important thing to do, but that diversity is also good business,” Friedman told the Inquirer.
“Because of the new technologies, the market has been segmented. Each community wants content that speaks to them,” he added.
Friedman was behind Sony Pictures’ successful publicity campaigns, including those for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” the “Spider-man” and “Men In Black” franchises, as well as such iconic television hits as “Seinfeld” and “Breaking Bad” TV-on-DVD series.
“It’s a great time for diversity,” said actor Reggie Lee, who stars as Sergeant Wu on NBC’s hit sci-fi police drama “Grimm.”
One of the show’s episodes featured the “aswang,” a creature from Filipino folklore—an idea Lee shared with the show’s writers.
Lee said he would like to bring Filipino storylines to the forefront.
Prior to Grimm, Lee was best known for his role as Secret Service Agent Bill Kim on the popular FOX show “Prison Break.” He also starred as Lance Nguyen in the blockbuster “The Fast and the Furious.”
Other Filipino-Americans who walked the red carpet at the Golden Globes included businesswoman Giji Kocher, formerly known as singer Djhoanna Garcia, Norberto “Jojo” Reyes III and Midred Deang of Insider Entertainment Group, and physician, producer and philanthropist Jeffrey Krebs.
Wearing an Oliver Tolentino gown, Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Janet Nepales said she was proud to bring Filipino-American actors, filmmakers and fashion designers to the prestigious Hollywood event to represent the Philippines.
“We continue to spotlight Filipino achievers around the world. That’s our goal,” said Ruben Nepales, the first Filipino chair of the HFPA board.
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