Announced in 2019, the Launchpad program is designed to serve as an entry point for emerging filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds. It opens the opportunity to showcase their diverse perspectives through the production of original live-action short films under the mentorship of creative forces from The Walt Disney Company.
In 2019, six applicants were selected from 1,100. All had already produced films, but not using studio conditions. The commissioned production, based at Walt Disney Studios, began script development in early 2020. Directors were mentored and received instruction. Filming and post-production were delayed due to the Corona pandemic.
Last week, the time came. On May 28, the first season of six films launched on Disney+. “American Oath” (written and directed by Aqsa Altaf) is about a Muslim immigrant from Pakistan. “Dinner Is Served” (directed by Hao Zheng, written by G. Wilson and Hao Zheng) is about a Chinese student at an elite school. “Growing Fangs” (written and directed by Ann Marie Pace) centers on a Mexican-American teenager – half human, half vampire. “Let’s Be Tigers” (written and directed by Stefanie Abel Horowitz) is about a young woman’s experience of responsibility after losing her mother. “The Last of the Chupacabras” (written and directed by Jessica Mendez Siqueiros) sees a young woman unwittingly summon a dark and ancient creature; and in “The Little Prince(ss)” (written and directed by Moxie Peng), a 7-year-old Chinese boy has his first experience with homophobia.
Disney’s goal is to accompany the directors beyond the completion of the ‘launch pad’ films. The program serves as an incubator for the company’s future projects in producing its own video-on-demand content.
The call for submissions has just begun for Launchpad’s second season. The default theme is “connection.”
Deadline for applications is June 11, 2021, and filmmakers residing in the U.S. from underrepresented backgrounds are eligible.
URL: Launchpad Program
URL: Launchpad Disney+
see also our article: “Video-on-Demand: Kurzfilme bei Disney+” (in German only)