Behind the Scenes of 'Coco'

Marcela Davison Avilés describes her role as a Latinx cultural consultant on the popular Disney/Pixar film.


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Photo courtesy of Marcela Davison Avilés

If you fell in love with Pixar’s 2017 animated film Coco just as much as the rest of the world, meet the cultural consultant behind it: Marcela Davison Avilés.

As the daughter of Mexican immigrants and a native of border-town Nogales, Ariz., she’s brought her firsthand knowledge of Latinx culture to a number of Disney/Pixar films. In her talk at BAMPFA, she will discuss her work as a cultural translator of Mexican heritage. In her role, she impacted Coco in all aspects of its production, from script development to casting, art direction, music, and public relations as well as consumer products and marketing.

Coco has been lauded for its cultural authenticity and celebration of Día de los Muertos, resonating with Mexican, Mexican-American, and Latinx communities across the world. Coco also has widely appealed to an international, non-Latinx audience.

Davison Avilés’ careful attention to cultivating relevant and accurate representations of Latinx culture has made her indispensable to major Hollywood studios and arts organizations. She heads the Chapultepec Group consulting firm and is the cultural advisor for Disney’s animated program Elena of Avalor.

Thu., Oct. 4, 12 p.m., free, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St., Berkeley, BAMPFA.org.

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