Over the weekend, Netflix debuted the trailer for "Vivo," starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, who indeed has had one heck of a year. The film, which comes out on August 6, is an animated kids movie, but, like so many others the streaming has released this year, it's just as enjoyable for adults, if not more so. This especially includes "The Mitchells vs. the Machines."
It tells the story of Vivo, a kinkajou, also known as a rainforest "honeybear" who is on a mission from Havana to fulfill a promise to his dear friend. Vivo's friend, a musician named Andrés, is invited to the farewell concert of his long-lost love, Marta, in Miami. It is up to Vivo to get a message to her sharing Andrés' love for her in the form of a song he wrote. Vivo is accompanied by Gabi, Andrés grand-niece.
Townhall was given the opportunity to attend a behind the scenes session of the film, where Oscar nominated Kirk DeMicco who directed and wrote the film, as well as Quiara Alegría Hudes, who also wrote the film, shared their insight and inspiration. The latter worked with Miranda for "In the Heights."
The role of Gabi was based off of Hudes' sister, who is actually 13 years younger than her. The similarity between Gabi and her real-life persona is uncanny.
Not only is it a heartwarming story, but it's one where the music steals the show. A particular draw for older audiences is that singer Gloria Estefan plays the role of Marta.
Hudes shared the special place Estefan has in her and her mother's heart:
To share a little bit of the inspiration and a personal story about Gloria in my life - when her song Conga, which we all know it came out, I remember my mom and I were driving. My mom is from Puerto Rico. And my mom had to pull over. Her breath stopped. She said this is going to take us to a whole other level. And the fact that there's a woman doing it is gonna take our culture to a whole other level. I'll never forget that. The song had such an impact on my mom that she had to stop driving and pull over on the highway shoulder. So it was really an honor to bring that diva energy into Marta and that personal history of music that has changed our lives.
The film has been several years in the making; Miranda had been working on it since 2009, actually. He had the song and the story in 2016, when various crew members began to join onto the project.In many ways, "Vivo" seems similar to Disney Pixar's "Coco," specifically when it comes to the main theme of music and the influence of Latino culture. However, it still stands on its own, and is worth a watch to be sure.