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Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Will Open Rome Film Festival

Disney and Pixar’s existential cartoon “Soul” has been set as the opening film of the Rome Film Festival, which is scheduled to take place as a physical event Oct. 15-25.

A festival rep said she was unsure whether the film’s director Pete Docter, who is also chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios, will be able to make the trek to Rome.

It is also unclear what Disney’s release plans are for “Soul” for which the studio has set a Nov. 20 U.S. release date, though Variety has reported it is instead exploring various other options, including moving it straight to Disney Plus. A Disney rep did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Soul” had previously been selected to launch from the cancelled Cannes Film Festival, so it carries the Cannes 2020 label.

It is the third Disney/Pixar film from Pete Docter that made the cut for Cannes.

Jamie Foxx voices the role of a middle-school band teacher named Joe Gardner who due to a minor misstep is transported to the Great Before, a place where souls are developed before they go to Earth.

“I believe that Pixar represents one of the most exciting and revolutionary new events in cinema in the past 30 years,” said Rome fest chief Antonio Monda, who added that he is “proud and extremely pleased to inaugurate the 15th Rome Film Fest with an extraordinary film that can speak to everyone.”

“Soul,” which is co-directed by Docter with playwright Kemp Powers (“One Night in Miami“), is the feature producing debut of Dana Murray, who was nominated for an Oscar for the 2017 short film “Lou.”

“Pete Docter makes films that go emotionally deep,” Murray said, speaking about “Soul” in a recent interview with Variety.

“People will walk away really thinking about their lives. We get so wrapped up in our to-do lists. [It’s about] appreciating the smaller things, a theme most people can relate to now that we’ve been sheltering in place. Just enjoying a piece of pizza on the street with friends — small things that feel like the biggest deal right now.”


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