Recent trends on the productions of Disney animation subsidiary Pixar, from shorts to feature-length, seem to touch very deeply into contemporary cultures, societies and traditions outside that of the United States. In 2017 they took Mexico – and China – by storm with their family-oriented fantasy “Coco”, which features the Mexican Dia de los Muertos holiday. The following year, Pixar’s opening short for “Incredibles 2” was “Bao”, a touching allegorical fable of a Canadian Chinese mother whose empty-nest syndrome is briefly assuaged when a bao she was cooking comes to life like a child. It seems Pixar may be set to continue this trend on; and the next culture they may spotlight: Filipinos, those living in America.
The Philippine Star has it that a Filipino-American story artist for Pixar Animation Studios has been put in the lead to do something that may well be the culmination of a lifelong dream: creating an animation project featuring Filipinos or Filipino-Americans as the primary characters. Pixar artist Bobby Rubio happily made an announcement on his Twitter page about the planned short animation project, which will be titled “Float” and which he will headline as writer and director. This 3D-CG animation will be part of a Pixar animation initiative called “SparkShorts”.
Rubio shares further information about “Float”, such as that its two lead characters are Filipino-Americans. Judging from the initial images shown of it, they are either a father and child or a sibling duo, with the child seemingly having the ability to float in the air as implied by the title. “I am proud to tell our stories,” Rubio wrote in his announcement tweet. “I know what it means to see our culture represented on screen! #RepresentationMatters.” This is meaningful for Rubio considering that, Filipino roots aside, he was born and raised in San Diego.
Bobby Rubio’s animation credits include working on “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and another Disney-Pixar masterpiece, “Up”. This range of experience makes it understandable that Pixar Animation would put him in a leadership position on “Float” as part of “SparkShorts”, which aims to showcase the talents of Pixar’s artist and animator stable. Three shorts have already been completed to be shown in the first “SparkShorts” batch, which will premiere at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood this Friday, January 18, and run for a single week. These initial shorts are titled “Purl”, “Smash and Grab” and “Kitbull”. “Float” is slated to come out in a second “SparkShorts” batch later this year.
Image courtesy of Animation Magazine