As the Annecy International Animation Film Festival starts up online today, Connected director Mike Rianda showed off some sneak peek work-in-progress footage of Sony Pictures Animation’s upcoming release. He also discussed the inspirations for the movie, which include Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse, his own “insane family” and a longtime fascination with technology.
Rianda was introduced in a pre-recorded video by producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller who appeared against backdrops of the southeastern French town, and said the film is being finished. Miller noted, “It’s coming together beautifully. We’re almost there, excited to bring it to all of you this fall.”
Connected is the story of an everyday family’s struggle to relate while technology first disconnects them from one another in their daily lives, then rises up to take over the world. The film was originally dated in September, and is currently due to start offshore rollout in early October and go domestically on October 23.
Aiming to create something different, with groundbreaking animation techniques inspired by Lord and Miller’s Oscar winner Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse, Rianda said, “It’s a really exciting time for the studio. After Spider-Verse, it was sort of encouragement from the whole world that people want to see new movies and fresh animation styles.”
The trailer, released back in March (check it out again below), sees Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) accepted into the film school of her dreams, while her nature-loving dad Rick (Danny McBride) decides the whole family should drive Katie to college together and bond one last time. Joined by mom Linda (Maya Rudolph), little brother Aaron (Rianda) and their pug Monchi, the family’s plans are interrupted by a tech uprising as the electronic devices people love decide it’s time to take over. The extra footage unveiled today included a scene from the family’s road trip.
Rianda, known for his work on Gravity Falls, explained the story employs “two things I really love: my insane family and technology. As a kid, I was fascinated by robots and as an adult by technology and how it’s affecting the world in very real ways. What is great about humanity is that it can’t be replaced by robots. (But) what about technology is going to bring us together and what about technology is going to tear us apart?”
Rianda added, “We wanted to make a movie where the artists who made the movie could really have a say.” The team, including co-writer Jeff Rowe, Head of Story Guillermo Martinez and Production Designer Lindsey Olivares (the latter two also making an appearance in the Annecy group chat), “got to try out all our ideas, filled with stuff that cracks us up and makes us laugh and cry,” Rianda said.