New Disney-Pixar film has some Hamilton ‘Soul’


The message from the new Disney/Pixar film “Soul” hits home for Hamilton-native Trevor Jimenez.

The animated film — coming out on Disney Plus on Christmas Day — deals with a character who chases his dream of being a jazz pianist but through an unexpected journey, realizes there is much more to life.

Jimenez has liked to draw since he was a kid and took lessons at the Dundas Valley School of Art and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. He graduated from the animation program at Sheridan College in Oakville in 2007 and within five years found himself working at Pixar Animation Studios near San Francisco, working on such films as “Finding Dory” (2016) and “Coco” (2017). He worked as story lead and a story supervisor on “Soul.”

Jimenez was nominated for a 2018 Oscar for his 15-minute animated short “Weekends.”

He was pleased the film got nominated — it was beaten by Pixar short “Bao” — but he said the best part was making the film and working with, and sharing it, with people in his life.

“There’s chasing your dreams but there is more to life than that,” says Jimenez, who lives in California with his wife, Janine, and daughter.

“Even after the film got nominated for an Oscar, I was thinking when I got there the best part of it all was making the film and the people. There were the unexpected elements of the journey. The message (of “Soul”) resonates with me deeply.”

Jimenez’s job on “Soul” was part writing, part picking shots, but he worked on the scene where the main character has his “epiphany.”

“Soul” tells the story of middle-school music teacher Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) whose journey begins through a funny accident, just after he wins the gig of his dreams. He winds up in “The Great Before” that helps souls find their personalities, helps souls find their spark, and is paired with Soul 22 (Tina Fey) who has no interest in living on Earth.