Moana is the 56th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, and released in 2016. John Musker and Ron Clements (who previously directed Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Frog) are the directors of this Polynesia-situated CGI musical film. It was before its release described as a "Mythic adventure set around 2000 years ago and across a series of islands in the South Pacific". Mark Mancina composed the music for the film. Alongside Mancina, Dave Metzger conducted and organized an orchestra to perform Moana's film score.
After directing The Princess and the Frog, Musker and Clements started working on an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's "Mort", but rights problems prevented them from continuing with that project. To avoid similar problems, they pitched three new ideas.
Moana is Musker and Clement's first fully computer-animated film. Moana Waialiki is Disney's first Polynesian princess. Although the movie was initially rumoured to be made in the hand-drawn/computer-animated technique introduced with Disney's short film Paperman, Musker said that "It is far too early to apply the Paperman hybrid technique to a feature. The Meander digital in-betweening interface still has a host of production issues (including color) that need to be perfected."
The main character is Moana, a lovely sea voyaging enthusiast and the only daughter of a chief in a long line of navigators, who have forgotten their roots. When her family needs her help, she sets off on an epic journey. The deuteragonist is a demi-god named Maui (pronounced the same way as the Hawaiian island) and the movie also features spirits and gods taken from Samoan, Polynesian, and Hawaiian mythologies.