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Adrian Molina Makes Directorial Debut with New Pixar Film Elio

What happens when a young boy is mistakenly selected as the ambassador of the entire planet? CalArts alum Adrian Molina (Film/Video BFA 07) explores this intergalactic premise in his directorial debut with Pixar Animation Studio’s Elio.

The film follows Elio Solis (voiced by Yonas Kibreab), the imaginative son of Olga (America Ferrera), a scientist working on a top-secret military project. As Olga and her team work to unscramble a signal from outer space, a phone call she receives from Elio accidentally transports him to a grand council of extraterrestrials—the Communiverse. Elio takes up the mantle of Earth’s representative, all the while overcoming a series of trials and befriending interesting alien lifeforms in a galaxy-hopping journey of self discovery.

The film’s first trailer was screened at the recently concluded 2023 Annecy Film Festival (watch above). Elio is slated for release in theaters on March 1, 2024.

Though Elio marks Molina’s first time directing an animated feature, his credits span many of Pixar’s previous films, including The Good Dinosaur (2015), Toy Story 4 (2019), and Luca (2021). He notably co-directed Coco (2017), which won Best Animated Feature at both the 90th Academy Awards and the 45th Annie Awards. In 2016, Molina was honored by Variety for its second annual “10 Animators to Watch” event, alongside Seth Boyden (Film/Video BFA 15) and School of Film/Video faculty Maureen Furniss.

Picture of Taya Zoormandan

Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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Adrian Molina Makes Directorial Debut with New Pixar Film Elio