The iconic and yet very personal nature of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang are such that when it came to The Peanuts Movie, it was still a family affair. “There are four generations of Schulz family involved in the film,” director Steve Martino told me last month onstage at The Contenders Presented By Deadline in front of a packed DGA of Academy and Guild members.

contenders-sold-out“Charles Schulz, Sparky, he’s our production designer,” added the Ice Age: Continental Drift helmer of the legendary cartoonist who passed away in 2000. “Everything that went into the film is referenced from the comic strip, what he drew.”

Commemorating the 65th anniversary of Peanuts’ comic debut and a half century of the beloved A Charlie Brown Christmas special, the Blue Sky Studios produced and Fox distributed film was released domestically and around much of the world the November 6 weekend of the Contenders. Peanuts The Movie has already scored a Best Feature nomination at the Annie Awards. “I think what Charles Schulz always did, and what I love about the film, is he focused on the humanity,” Martino said of bringing the characters to life for generations both new and old.

Click on the video above of my chat with the Peanuts The Movie director as part of the Fox panel to discover more of what went into bringing an American legend to the big screen of 2015.