Wetherby woman's tribute to late father in Oscar-winning Pixar animation, Coco

A Wetherby woman working in California for Pixar animations has designed a cartoon tribute to her late father in a scene of the Oscar-winning animation 'Coco'.

William George Leaf. (Credit: Alison Leaf)
William George Leaf. (Credit: Alison Leaf)

Earlier this month the Disney Pixar production, Coco, won Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song in the Oscars 2018.

But behind the scenes, Wetherby-born woman, Alison Leaf, was one of the many animators who worked on the award-winning film, and included a subtle special tribute to her late father, William George Leaf, in one of the scenes.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Alison said: "Coco is set during the annual Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico, where people honour their departed by displaying photos and decorating grave sites with flowers, food and personal items.

Scene still of Coco. (Credit: Pixar)

"In the sets department at Pixar, we were tasked with decorating numerous grave stones and so it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to create a dedication to my father, William George Leaf or 'Bill', as everyone used to call him.

"Dad was a resident of Wetherby, an incredible joiner and craftsman, who had a passion for cricket which he played for over 50 years.

"Unfortunately, they don't play cricket in Mexico, so I wasn't able to decorate his grave with a cricket bat - but I was able to dress in the tools of his trade, a hammer, a hand saw and I also included a harmonica, which he loved to sit and play at home.

"His initials WGL are written with marigold petals on the top of the grave stone and I also sprinkled in a handful of leaves - a symbol which Dad carved into his furniture."

Scene still of Coco. (Credit: Pixar)

Although discreet, once pointed out, Alison's tribute (shown in the bottom left corner of the scene still) is impossible to miss.

As well as the opportunity to include an animated tribute, Pixar staff working on Coco were invited to include pictures of the loved ones they had paid tribute to in a digital 'ofrenda' - the Spanish term for the collection of objects placed on a ritual altar when a loved one dies.

Alison added: "I worked on Coco for over a year and there wasn't a day that went by without me thinking of Dad who was one of the most kind, caring and supportive fathers anyone could wish for.

"Coco is a film which celebrates the importance of family so I'm very grateful that I had the opportunity to honour my father, in this beautiful movie."

Alison's mother, Pamela said she was 'touched' to see the picture of her late husband in the ofrenda when she went to see the film with her other daughter, Helen, at Wetherby cinema.

Pamela said: "It's there forever and a day and I think it is wonderful."

Bill Leaf, as he was better known locally, died aged 65 more than 20 years ago, while playing cricket.

Pamela said: "He died playing the game he loved. We always said that he would go with his boots still on."