In his review of Inside Out, the 2015 animated film about the power of emotions, film critic A. O. Scott included the caveat, “Young children may be mildly alarmed in places, especially at the sight of their parents weeping through the last 20 minutes.”
Adults who count Pixar films such as Inside Out, Up, Wall-E, and Monsters, Inc. among their favorites have Pete Docter to thank. Docter went from sketching flipbooks in the corners of his math textbooks as a kid to being one of the pioneering computer animation studio’s first employees. Over his 25 years as a screenwriter, producer, and director, he’s proven the emotional punch of the genre.
“There’s definitely a deep satisfaction to making stuff. If I’m any measure of other humans, I’d say creating is central to our makeup,” Docter told CT. “With the films I’ve made, I get to talk about things that are deeply important to me in mysterious ways I don’t fully understand—things like falling in love, parenting, death… the mysteries of life that we want to talk to each other about.”
With Academy Awards for both Up and Inside Out, Docter is one of just a few directors to win best animated feature twice. After Up’s 2009 release, the Christian and father of two said he doesn’t have a faith agenda with his movies, but that he hopes they can highlight “the importance of relationship, because I think that’s the heart of Christianity.”