Disney is launching a new experimental short film program called Short Circuit, and the company laid out all the details of its new slate of animated originals, each heading to the Disney+ streaming platform, at 2019's D23 Expo on Sunday.
SYFY WIRE was there for Disney's rollout of the new venture, which will ostensibly give a home to the work of budding filmmakers, while perhaps giving Disney the inside track on potential new creators. One of the people introduced in the program could very well be the next big Marvel or Star Wars director in a few years.
Showcasing a fresh batch of six endearing short films, each from a different Disney artist, Disney gave the green light to a diverse lineup of inaugural short films bound for the small screen once Disney+ launches.
First up in the Short Circuit series is Exchange Student by Natalie Nourigat, a fish-out-of-water tale about a little girl who's an exchange student in a school on an alien planet:
The intrepid star is an outcast among all the alien kids, until one day one of the aliens kicks a ball over the schoolyard fence, and into the forbidding forest beyond. The girl goes to retrieve it — and is almost attacked by some plants. But her shriek causes the plants retreat, a move that turns her into a hero to all the alien kids who'd been keeping her at such a distance.
Next up was Elephant in the Room by Brian Scott, which follows a little boy on a banana plantation, who makes friends with the baby elephant that serves as a laborer at the farm. One day the baby hears its elephant family out in the jungle, and the little boy goes out there, leading the big elephants back to the farm — where the baby is set free to go rejoin them.
Then came Puddles, with Tangled animator Zach Parrish explaining he got the idea for the short film after working as head of animation on Big Hero 6. In Puddles, a little boy tries to get his phone-gazing sister to join him in some splashy fun — especially once he encounters a magical fantasy land after hopping all the way into one. But the only way he can grab her attention is to grab her phone first...and then the both of them dive in to explore the new world he's found.
Fun fact: The puddle world in Puddles is inhabited by fish from Moana — a cool little Easter egg Parrish unwrapped for fans in the room.
Up next was Just a Thought by Brian F. Menz, a comic strip-style vignette about a little boy in a school where, all of a sudden, everyone can see his thought bubbles about the girl he has a crush on…including her.
Describing getting free rein to make Just a Thought as “the highlight of my career so far,” Menz said the look of the film was inspired by old-school Sunday comics in the newspaper. Menz confessed that his 17 year-old self was just as shy as the thought-bubble boy in the story…and that he’s now married (with seven kids) to the girl who, back in high school, got up the nerve to ask him out.