The filmmakers from Disney & Pixar’s Soul, director Pete Docter, co-director and screenwriter Kemp Powers and producer Dana Murray, partnered with American anthropologist/educator Dr. Johnnetta Cole and globally-renowned jazz pianist Jon Batiste to offer an exclusive sneak peek at the film as a part of the Essence Festival of Culture during a virtual panel titled Finding Soul.
The sneak peek features the song “Parting Ways” written, produced and performed by Cody ChesnuTT. Both Dr. Cole and Jon Batiste, who lent his expertise to the jazz arrangements and compositions in Soul, serve as cultural consultants on the film.
Here is a synopsis for the film provided by the wonderful team over at Pixar:
Joe Gardner is a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22, who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.
Directed by Academy Award-winning director and Pixar Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter (Inside Out, Up) and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray (Pixar short Lou), Soul features an all-star voice cast that includes, Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained), Tina Fey (Mean Girls), Phylicia Rashad (Creed), Angela Bassett (Black Panther), Ahmir Questlove Thompson (The Roots), and Daveed Diggs (Hamilton).
Disney and Pixar’s Soul opens in U.S. theaters on November 20, 2020.