Santa Cecilia is the main setting in the 2017 Disney/Pixar animated feature film, Coco. It is a small and lively Mexican town that cherishes music, and is located parallel to the fabled Land of the Dead.
The town of Santa Cecilia is a lively Town filled with decorative papeles picados just like in many Mexican towns. It is the town is where Miguel was born. It is also home to the Rivera Family Shoemakers industry which is the place where the Rivera family lives. This place is where Mamá Coco was born and after Héctor left his wife and daughter to play music, Mamá Imelda noticed that Héctor did not come back as she bans all the music and started a shoemaking industry which kept growing for many years. The town also has various stalls like the ones found in many Mexican towns.
One year later on Day of the Dead during the musical number "Proud Corazón", Miguel and his family celebrate with music after music was brought back to the Rivera family where Héctor finally crosses the marigold bridge when his photo was put back to the ofrenda after Mamá Coco remembers that Héctor wrote a song for her when she was little.
- “Santa Cecilia is inspired by real villages in Mexico,” says production designer Harley Jessup. “We stayed grounded in reality in the Land of the Living. It’s sun-bleached and dusty, but the color palette is accented by the brightly colored decorations for Día de Muertos. There’s a town square where people gather, the Rivera compound where Miguel’s great-great-grandmother built the family’s shoe business, and the local cemetery is prominently featured.”
Places of interest
- Mariachi Plaza - The park center of the town. In the middle is a commemorative statue of Ernesto de la Cruz which also shows his tagline "Seize your moment" on the statue. As said by Tío Berto, it is the place where mariachis usually perform. It is also the place where a mariachi listens to Miguel's story in which he tells him to shine his shoe in which the Rivera family confronts the musician for being a distraction to Miguel. It is also the place where talent shows take place, especially on Day of the Dead, where to participate, a musician has to bring his or her own instrument in order to be signed up for the talent show.
- Pantéon Santa Cecilia - The local cemetery which houses the mausoleum of Ernesto de la Cruz. When Miguel takes the guitar and plays it, he becomes invisible to everyone except for Dante and the skeletons he encounters. Whenever Miguel receives a blessing from Mamá Imelda in the Land of the Dead, he returns back to the mausoleum of Santa Cecilia. One year later on Day of the Dead after Miguel discovers proof that Héctor is a member of the Rivera family and is the actual author of the songs Ernesto played, Ernesto's legacy is ultimately tarnished in the cemetery with Héctor being remembered.
- Rivera Family Shoemakers - Established in 1921, this is the home on the Rivera clan and their shoemaking business. After Mamá Imelda bans all the music after her husband Héctor (seemingly) abandoned her and their daughter, Coco, she started a shoemaking store in which her industry continuously grew along with the Rivera family. The logo for the shoemaking industry is a large shoe with the words "Rivera Familia de Zapateros" engraved in it.
- The town is named after Saint Cecilia, a patroness of musicians, tying in with the town's music-loving nature.
- Santa Cecilia was also referenced in Cars 3 when one of the rookie racers on the treadmill, Gabriel, was homesick during Cruz Ramirez's training regime. It appears when Cruz shows the image to the rookie racer in which he exclaims that Santa Cecilia is his hometown.
- Santa Cecilia was also inspired by small town in Mexico specifically in Santa Fe de La Laguna, Michoacan which was built in 1533 and known for their thriving Purepecha culture and people who were also a large inspiration for Coco.
- Unkrich, L.; Molina, Ad.; Lasseter, J. (October 10, 2017). The Art of Coco. Chronicle Books, page 38.
- Kelly, Gretchen. "Journey to the Heart of Disney's 'Coco' in Mexico." Forbes, 12 Jan, 2018