Avatar Connection to Disney Creator’s Coachella Set Design

A Coachella crowd waves their arms in the air at a colorful stage for entertainer Anitta.

Indio, California Coachella Music Festival Main Stage
Screenshot: Coachella/YouTube

The great return of the festival to the music scene is coming to an end as Coachella finished last weekend. io9 was able to assist through a media pass to capture all the sights and sounds (read our Danny Elfman report here) – which included not only music but also creative sets and installations. Using technology and physical sets, the performers really brought out their universe, especially Brazilian singer Anitta, who collaborated with Disney Imagineering Legend Joe Rohde to build a hometown kingdom in the middle of the desert to drive his propelling setlist.

In an interview with Nylon magazineAnitta, a Latin Grammy nominated artist and MTV Europe Music Award winner, shared how she connected with the Pandora: The World of Avatar creative executive. “I was watching this Disney World documentary and I saw this guy Joe [Rohde], he built the Animal Kingdom park,” she said. “There is so much fantasy, nature and magic. I managed to bring it to this point. Walt Disney was a dreamer, and that’s how I am… Gotta bring my country [to Coachella]. Somehow.”

Anitta at Coachella with a set designed by Joe Rohde

Screenshot: Coachella/YouTube

Anitta brought her culture to her daytime set – featuring guests Snoop Dogg, Saweetie and a digital Cardi B – through an AR wall-mounted use of screens that wrapped the stage and practical backdrops to encompass the Brazilian favela neighborhood where she grew up.

Rohde, who led the charge with teams to bring authentic cultural representation to Disney Parks in the Animal Kingdom of Walt Disney World, shared the following in an Instagram post“One of the functions that a set brings to a performance is to concretize abstract ideas. Anitta comes from the favela, a place people have a lot of preconceptions about. A place that many people never leave, but a place to live. How to convey three ideas at once? 1. The vitality of the favela. Although he is “poor”, he is dynamic and full of life. Life creates the texture, the age, the evidence of life and the living. Dimensionality is therefore important. 2. A difficult concept… the whole favela seems so solid, so real, that it must be all there is. The favela is all there is, the only place. But this is not the case. People like Anitta transform and expand the place and the idea of ​​the place…so the setting has to appear unchanging, but actually change. Show that change is possible. 3. To convey emotion to a huge space and a crowd. Thus the set whose size is limited must merge with the media in a kind of collage. So it’s hard to say what reality we see on the screen. Guest CardiB appears as a goddess not only on a screen but in a world. The penultimate image is not digital media but a live stream of the scene. Everything becomes big, transcending the limits of the favela. Like a biography of Anitta in stage transformation.

Rohde’s Retirement from Disney Igenius was a momentous occasion and his impeccable touch on experiences has been noticeable since his departure. When you pass through or see a Rohde environment, you know. Seeing a favela on stage in the middle of a polo field in California transported audiences to Brazil in the same way that visiting an immersive Disney park can take you to the fantasy world of Avatar in his country on the theme of Pandora. It’s for date the most credible land based on modern intellectual property, with a distinct signature even the Star Wars-related fields are missing.

Joe Rohde with director James Cameron at Pandora the World of Avatar

Joe Rohde with director James Cameron at Pandora the world of avatar
Screenshot: Disney/YouTube Parks

In a Disney Parks Specialdirector James Cameron, who worked closely with Rohde, described the immersion experience by saying, “You could come here 50 times and have 50 different stories. (He even asked Imagineering, “Could we come over here and shoot some scenes?”) I’d like to like the Avatar the movies as much as I love Pandora because it feels more real and true to its universe (enough for me to care) than the Batuu of The edge of the galaxy made for Star Wars. Seeing Rohde perform on other mediums, like music sets for a world-leading artist, was truly amazing. And though he’s no longer at Disney, he’s embarking on bigger, farther-flung projects with his new gig, working with Virgin Galactic as a strategic advisor.


Want more io9 news? Find out when to wait for the last wonder and star wars versions, what’s next for the DC Universe in Film and TVand everything you need to know about Dragon House and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.



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