The Ancestors Are Smiling: “Moana” Exclusive from Director Ron Clements

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, Moana is an Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature Film. The film is also nominated for Best Original Song for “How Far I’ll Go” — written by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The animated features tells of teenager Moana who has always felt drawn to the ocean, despite her father’s dictate that no one on their Polynesian island is to go beyond its encircling reef. When danger threatens her home, Moana searches for mischievous demigod Maui, who becomes an unlikely ally as she matures into the hero her people need.

It’s that element of an authentic tone that makes “Moana” such a global favorite and the one to beat this award season.

The creative team paid attention to detail and those details were found in the tales told by the storytellers who inhabited the ancient Polynesian islands. It’s those very same stories which center on the sea, and tells how these people found their way, traveling from island to island without the use of modern instruments, relaying on their knowledge of nature, the stars, the waves and the currents to survive and get home.

Here is what Moana director Ron Clements shared exclusively about being why stories are vital.

Q: What do you love about being a storyteller?

RC: The late Pixar animator and writer Joe Ranft has a powerful saying that I’ll paraphrase: “Stories are just as important as food, water, you need stories.” You need stories in your life to survive. Stories are important. They give people something that people need. They’re gifts in a way. When people enjoy a story, they seem so appreciative, so happy. Even now, we’re meeting people who loved The Little Mermaid and Aladdin and they come up to us and say, “Thank you so much for my childhood.” They say it in such a way as if you’ve given them a present. That makes me so happy; it’s overwhelming.

The 89th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, live, on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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