According to material displayed in the trailer, and during its runtime, the 2022 Pixar animated feature film "Turning Red" is set in the Canadian city of Toronto, and takes place in the in universe year of 2002.

Has the creative team behind the movie ever addressed (In the form of interviews, behind the scenes footage, social media content, etc) why they chose to set the film 20 years in the past: Potentially several years before most of their target audience was born. Or why they chose to center it around a Chinese-Canadian family rather than setting it in one of America's many Chinese-American communities: such as those found in San-Fransisco or New York?

For example, were there commercial reasons behind this such as sponsorship and marketing tie-ins. Or personal reasons, such as the background of the creative team creating a personal connection to this location and time period.

Or was the decision made due to contemporaneous events, such as the current anti-Asian sentiment being expressed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic (Such as the rash of "pushing" attacks on older Asian Americans)?


1 Answer 1


The film was written and directed by Domee Shi, a Chinese-born woman who moved to Toronto as a child, and is inspired by her own personal experiences, as per this interview with CNBC:

Through [the 2019 short film] "Bao" and now "Turning Red", Shi says she’s encouraged to tell stories that reflect her own experience as an Asian woman from Canada, while exploring issues like complicated parent-child relationships and learning to express, rather than suppress, tough emotions.

Shi would have been 15 in 2002, when the film was set, and explained her nostalgia for the time period in this interview with Fandom.com:

Shi – who, like Mei, grew up in Toronto – said the decision to set Turning Red in 2002 was essentially ingrained in the story from its inception, recalling, “I think we established early on that it was going to be a period piece, in more ways than one. The reason why is because I just have such nostalgic and fond memories of that era and I thought wouldn’t it be so fun to bring it to life on the big screen in an animated film. There’s something about the culture, the fashion and the music that is just so specific and funny. It was just a really fun and cool time.”

The filmmakers said it was also a fascinating time for technology because things were changing so quickly and specifics from that era can feel both familiar and long gone, with Shi noting, “The internet was there and mix CDs and Kazaa were a thing but it was right before the nightmare that is the internet right now with social media.”


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