“This movie makes us proud to be Colombian”, the cast of ‘Encanto’ shared their experience of filming with Disney

Based in Colombia, Encanto becomes the first animated film from the popular country-based production company. The cast is also made up of Carolina Gaitán, Maluma, Angie Cepeda, among others. REUTERS / Luis Jaime Acosta

On the afternoon of November 10, Gaira’s Cumbia House became the scene of a meeting full of color, diversity and talent. Before the press, Carlos Vives, Mauricio Castillo, Olga Lucía Vives, Alejandro Riaño and María Cecilia Botero presented their characters in ‘Encanto’, the new Disney film based in Colombia. The feature film, which will hit theaters in the country on November 25, it keeps in expectation the followers of the popular audiovisual production company who want to see Colombia represented in the animation that only Disney knows how to do. The event, presented by Diego Sáenz, allowed the actors and singers to talk about their experience making the film.

Carlos Vives, owner of the restaurant, and interpreter of the main song of ‘Encanto’, was in charge of welcoming the guests and thanking his colleagues for their presence at the establishment. The musician, behind songs such as ‘The land of forgetfulness’, ‘Carito’ and ‘La bicicleta’, attracted, one by one, by the hand of Sáenz, the talent of the film to the stage, who prepared to answer the questions of journalists.

Mauro Castillo. REUTERS/Ringo Chiu
Mauro Castillo. REUTERS/Ringo Chiu

María Cecilia Botero, actress who plays the grandmother of the Madrigal family, recounted, in the middle of the press conference, that she had initially rejected the role after she learned that one of the demands was to know English. At first, and under the highest confidentiality controls, the actress did not know that it was a Disney production, however, she found out later, when they told her that she had won the role.

Botero only appeared at the casting after a second invitation from Disney, and after the first rejection of the paisa. “My character is very cool. She is a grandmother, and not the typical Disney grandmother who is all tenderness, all beauty, no, she is a grandmother all berraca, tough, taking up arms, well Colombian, one of those who decide to throw the family on their shoulders “, he detailed.

Olga Lucía Vives, for her part, gives life to the protagonist of the story, Mirabel, one of the daughters of the Madrigal family. The young singer, belonging to the female musical group Ventino, explained that she was in Mexico when she was invited to participate in a casting for ‘something’. The mystery about the project caught her attention, and she felt comfortable auditioning when she realized she had to sing. After some time without knowing the results of that test, and in the middle of a family dinner, Olga received a call in which they communicated the good news: she would be the protagonist of a Disney movie, and she would fulfill one of the biggest dreams of their life.

Photograph taken from Instagram @olgaluciavives
Photograph taken from Instagram @olgaluciavives

“Honor my country (…) in every corner of each image you can see something Colombian, nature, clothes (…) I saw that Wayúu backpack that the characters carried, I said ‘my family on the part of My mother, who are from La Guajira, will be happy ‘(…) I felt completely happy. My family resembles the Madrigal family. I loved the whole process. Hopefully people, when they hear the songs say ‘okay, this is Maribel and not Olga’ “, commented.

Mauro Castillo, actor who lent his voice to Félix Madrigal, explained that the most important thing for him, in addition to his opportunity to act and give his musical touch to the film, was to show and relate the beauty of the country’s Pacific and Atlantic coast . “Represent those five million, perhaps, Colombians who recognize themselves as Afro-descendants. It’s crazy, it’s awesome. The character has a lot of good vibes, they are going to love it, they enjoy life. It is a dream. It is inspired by Colombia, of course, but also by something that is even more beautiful, which is the family “, he stated.

Alejando Riaño, for his part, played Bruno, that mysterious character from the Madrigal family. His biggest disadvantage, or at least, the one that he considers that way, it was the film’s need for him to sing. Riaño is not usually related to music, so he thought that his lack of experience would be transcendental for him to be denied his participation.

Colombian singer and songwriter Carlos Vives poses for a photo during an interview with Reuters in Bogotá, Colombia, November 10, 2021. REUTERS / Luis Jaime Acosta
Colombian singer and songwriter Carlos Vives poses for a photo during an interview with Reuters in Bogotá, Colombia, November 10, 2021. REUTERS / Luis Jaime Acosta

“It was something new for me (…) The most important thing in this is, first, that it be something from Disney, and secondly, to show through Disney that Colombia that we have all wanted to show, that we all carry in our hearts, that it is not shown on the outside. It is the real Colombia, it is not a utopia, that’s why people come here and fall in love ”, Riaño explained that, in addition, he was excited to show his children that their father was part of a Disney movie.

The turn to talk about his experience at the press conference was for Carlos Vives who, despite not having a character in the film, framed his name and his voice in the interpretation of the official song of the film. ‘Colombia, my charm’ is the main theme of the animated film and, to the rhythm of vallenato, and with the voice of Vives, it transports those who listen to it home.

“Colombia is a country that has not yet been discovered. It is very complex that elsewhere they do have the dimension of diversity that exists in Colombia. We are going to see the joy of telling a story that has a very beautiful message, a message of inclusion, of recognizing each other. We are all born with a gift, with something very powerful, and it is up to us to know how to use it “commented the musician.

Liliana Valencia, a journalist, was part of the team that produced ‘Encanto’, specifically, in the cultural area of ​​the construction of the film. The profession revealed that Disney, to create the film, had advisers who allowed the events related, and the way to do it, to be as close to reality. For example, there were biologists who worked hand in hand with the animators to design each of the animals in the feature film. Likewise, there were anthropologists and historians who provided important details. The communicator, specifically, collaborated on the issue of ethnic representation, for the creation of Afro-descendant characters. He was in charge of advising the physical creation of the characters, including important characteristics such as the hair of each of them

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