Disney+ is showcasing the work of six filmmakers via its new program, Launchpad, which was designed to spotlight a new generation of dynamic storytellers
The collection of six short films debuts on the streaming service starting May 28.
The filmmakers, all of whom come from underrepresented backgrounds, were selected from more than 1,100 U.S. applicants and were given an opportunity to share their unique perspectives and creative visions. Each filmmaker was assigned executive mentors from the various divisions of the company, including Disney+, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production. Inspired by the journey of life, the first six shorts were based on the theme “Discover.”
Submissions for the second season of Disney’s Launchpad, which will be based around the theme of “Connection,” will be accepted beginning May 10, 2021, and will add a writers’ track.
“This first group of shorts by these six gifted filmmakers took our breath away. They are moving, provocative and entertaining, and they each convey a unique perspective on living in America today and the things you learn about yourself and others when you follow your own path,” said Mahin Ibrahim, director of Disney’s diversity and inclusion market, who also oversees Launchpad, said in a statement. “I am excited to share them with you, and I look forward to welcoming a new group of filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds for our next season of Disney’s Launchpad.”
The first six short films and filmmakers in Launchpad’s first season are:
American Eid, written and directed by Aqsa Altaf.
Producers are Leslie Owen and Steak House; executive producers are Julie Ann Crommett, Ibrahim, Alyssa Navarro, Chris Caraballo, Jason Alvidrez, Adam Nusinow, Mary Coleman, Nicole Grindle and Vanessa Morrison.
Ameena, a Muslim-Pakistani immigrant to the U.S., wakes up on the Muslim holiday of Eid and is unhappy when she learns she has to go to school because her new country does not celebrate the holiday. Homesick and heartbroken, she goes on a mission to make Eid a public-school holiday, and in the process, reconnects with her older sister, and embraces her new home, while her new home embraces her.
Dinner is Served, directed by Hao Zheng, written by G. Wilson & Hao Zheng.
Producers are Shincy Lu and Steak House; executive producers are Crommett, Ibrahim, Navarro, Caraballo, Alvidrez, Nusinow, Jessica Virtue and Rachel Yeung.
A Chinese student at an elite U.S. boarding school realizes excellence is not enough when he tries out for a leadership position for which no international student has ever applied.
Growing Fangs, written and directed by Ann Marie Pace.
Producers are Genevieve Faye, Melody Sandoval and Steak House; executive producers are Crommett, Ibrahim, Navarro, Caraballo, Alvidrez, Nusinow, Osnat Shurer and Halima Hudson.
Val Garcia, a half-human, half-vampire Mexican-American teen, has had to keep her identity a secret from both worlds. But when her human best friend shows up at her monster-infested school, she has to confront her truth, her identity and herself.
The Last of the Chupacabras, written and directed by Jessica Mendez Siqueiros.
Producers are Nicole Crespo and Steak House; executive producers are Crommett, Ibrahim, Navarro, Caraballo, Alvidrez and Nusinow.
In a world where culture has nearly ceased to exist, one lone Mexican-American, struggling to carry on her traditions, unknowingly summons a dark and ancient creature to protect her.
Let’s be Tigers, written and directed by Stefanie Abel Horowitz.
Producers are Sydney Fleischmann and Steak House; executive producers are Crommett, Ibrahim, Navarro, Caraballo, Alvidrez, Nusinow and Grant Curtis.
Avalon’s not ready to process the loss of her mother, but when she’s put in charge of a four-year-old for one night, she finds more comfort than she ever could have expected.
The Little Princess, written and directed by Moxie Peng.
Producers are Carver Diserens and Steak House; Executive Producers are Crommett, Ibrahim, Navarro, Caraballo, Alvidrez, Nusinow, Sarah Shepard and Karen Chau.
When Gabriel, a seven-year-old Chinese kid who loves ballet, becomes friends with Rob, another Chinese kid from school, Rob’s dad gets suspicious about Gabriel’s feminine behavior and decides to intervene.