Disney announced Disney Launchpad: Shorts Incubator “to share diverse perspectives in original live-action short films.”
The program will give up to six directors from “underrepresented background to present diverse perspectives through the production of original, live-action short films for proposed initial exhibition on the upcoming streaming service Disney+.” The shorts have the opportunity to live on Disney+ and might even be developed further given their “quality, performance on the platform, future, and other factors.”
The six directors will be paired with creative executive mentors who work for The Walt Disney Company. They will be challenged to create original films based on the theme of “Discover.”
Disney specifically indicates they are looking for scripts that have the tone and feel of “Moana, Coco, or Sister Act.” They are really looking for stories that “have an optimistic ending.”
“At The Walt Disney Studios, we believe that great stories come from everywhere, and we are committed to telling inclusive stories and working with filmmakers who bring diverse perspectives to the table,” said Alan Bergman, Co-Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “The Disney Launchpad gives us a platform to empower a new generation of filmmakers to share original stories that resonate with our global audience and reflect the world we live in.”
The Disney Launchpad: Shorts Incubator will be a seven month program based at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. Not only will the directors be challenged to create their own original films but they will be taught a curriculum of “professional and storytelling classes primarily led by the American Film Institute.”
It will specifically involve three months of script development and professional development classes. Classes with the American Film Institute will be held once of twice a week on the Disney studio lot. from 7 pm to 10 pm PT. There will also be a field trip to the AFI campus in Los Angeles on a Saturday. Following the classes, the students will be given a staggered production schedule. It includes up to four weeks of pre-production and principal photograph and up to six weeks of post-production.
“We know the best films and content are those that showcase the diversity of the wider world,” said Julie Ann Crommett, Vice President, Multicultural Audience Engagement, The Walt Disney Studios. “Launchpad recognizes the importance of diversity in front of and behind the camera by bringing together the most talented filmmakers with the world-class talent and resources of The Walt Disney Company.”
In a press release from Disney they specifically note:
“The Launchpad is open to the public as well as employees of The Walt Disney Company and its affiliated entities from underrepresented backgrounds with diverse and varied perspectives, including but certainly not limited to women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, various religious groups, military veterans, people with disabilities, and others.”
In their FAQ section they list a number of examples of what they define as “underrepresented backgrounds”:
• African American
• Alaska Native
• First Nations
• Middle Eastern
• Military veterans
• Native American
• Native Hawaiian
• Pacific Islander
• People with disabilities
• South Asian
They do state that “if you do not see yourself reflected in the categories provided, in the open text field in the application, please let us know how you come from an underrepresented background and can present a diverse perspective (five hundred (500) word limit.”
Applicants must be physically present in the United States to apply and they have to be legally qualified to work in the United States.
Applicants can apply for the program at Launchpad Disney before July 2, 2019 at 12:00 PM PT. Applicants will need to submit a script, essay, lookbook, directing sample, resume, and legal agreements in order to apply.
If you are selected you will be given a small living stipend for living and relocation expenses if you live outside of Southern California. However, they will not provide travel, housing, or transportation arrangements for those selected.
What do you make of this new program from Disney? Do you plan on applying?