“Inside Out” is an award-winning animated film in which the emotions of a young girl come to life through the characters Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust. As the Pixar box office smash hit set opening week records, it also highlighted the need for mental health resources that engage kids in ways that are appealing and easy to understand.
After seeing the moving, Matt Vogl, executive director of NMHIC, and Sam Hubley, PhD, assistant professor at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center and University of Colorado Department of Family Medicine, sent a letter to the film’s director. To their delight, Pete Doctor replied with an invitation to meet! The result: to move forward on potential collaboration.
Imagine using Pixar creative power to bring to life resources teachers, parents and therapists could use to engage children in mental and emotional health topics. What might this look like? Potentially, we would use “Inside Out” and its characters as a backdrop in social and emotional learning tools for teachers, create visibility for these tools and the issues they highlight, and use this creative project to reduce the stigma of family mental illnesses.
This is a highly complex project for primary partners NMHIC and Pixar Animation Studios. Others eager to partner on the project include Kaiser Permanente, Foundation for a Better Life, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, and media companies Walden Media and Anschutz Film Group. Several theatre chains and foundations are potential partners. And we envision a national advisory group with representatives from top-tier universities.
“Inside Out” won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, a Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award, and the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film. In 2016, a poll of critics from around the world ranked it the 41 st best film of the 21 st century.