Guadalupe Gómez passed away on Friday (October 14) shortly before the opening of Pinocchio at BFI London Film Festival yesterday (October 15).
“I just want to say, my mother just passed away, and this was very special for her and me,” del Toro said. “This is not only the first time you’ll see the movie, it’s the first time she’ll see the movie with us. Thank you.”
While speaking on stage, del Toro said that he and his mother both felt a very strong connection to the original 1940 Disney classic and its themes of love, loyalty and honesty.
“I saw the film as a kid, and it’s a film that bonded me with my mom for an entire life,” he said. “It affected me because Pinocchio saw the world the way I saw it. I was a little bit enraged that people demand obedience from Pinocchio, so I wanted to make a film about disobedience as a virtue, and to say that you shouldn’t change to be loved.”
Pinocchio has been in gestation for nearly 15 years, with del Toro having first teased the stop-motion film in 2008.
Gregory Mann, whose 13th birthday coincided with yesterday’s premiere, voices the titular character in the upcoming Netflix film alongside David Bradley as Geppetto and Ewan McGregor as Sebastian J. Cricket.
Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson and Burn Gorman also star in the film.
Pinocchio opens in select cinemas in November and premieres on December 9 on Netflix.
Other world premieres at this year’s London Film Festival include Asif Kapadia’s new film Creature, and Nora Twomey’s Cartoon Saloon animation My Father’s Dragon.
The BFI London Film Festival previously hosted the European premiere of the original Knives Out in 2019, staged in Leicester Square.