'Launchpad' Season 1 Brings Diverse Shorts To Disney+, Centered On The Theme Of 'Discover'
Photo Credit: Disney
Film

'Launchpad' Season 1 Brings Diverse Shorts To Disney+, Centered On The Theme Of 'Discover'

The first short films from Disney+‘s Launchpad series are dropping soon! Per Disney, the goal Launchpad is to “diversify the types of stories that are being told and to give access to those who have historically not had it.” Inspired by life’s journey, the first six short films for Disney+ are based on the theme, “Discover.” All six short films for season 1  will be available to stream on Disney+ beginning May 28.

Season 1’s films are:

  • American Eid, written and directed by Aqsa Altaf

    Ameena, a Muslim Pakistani immigrant, wakes up on Eid to find out that she has to go to school. 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

    A Chinese student at an elite U.S. boarding school realizes excellence is not enough when he tries out for a leadership position no international student has ever applied for. 

  • Growing Fangs, written and directed by Ann Marie Pace

    Val Garcia, a Mexican-American teen who is half human/half vampire, 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.

  • Let’s Be Tigers, written and directed by Stefanie Abel Horowitz

    Avalon’s not ready to process the loss of her mother, but when she’s put in charge of a 4-year-old for one night, she finds more comfort than she ever could have expected.

  • The Last of the Chupacabras written and directed by Jessica Mendez Siqueiros

    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.

  • The Little Prince(ss), written and directed by Moxie Peng

    When Gabriel, a 7-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.

Shadow and Act was present for a recent press conference on the films which was hosted by Variety’s Angelique Jackson. The panel featured the filmmakers as well as Mahin Ibrahim, director for Disney’s Diversity & Inclusion and Phillip Domfeh, who is the Launchpad Senior Manager.

For season one, we had over 1,100 applications,” said Mahin. “Our super-competitive process and our six filmmakers we’re really lucky to work with were standout filmmakers from the very beginning. In terms of the selection process, it was a multi-pronged approach. We worked with over 50 people to get us down to our final six. That ended with interviews both over the phone and in-person. Our creative executive mentors were part of the selection process as well as providing valuable feedback. Also, participating in interviews as well as their managers, the studio heads weighed in as well. A really 360 approach from top to bottom and gave us, again, these amazing six filmmakers to work with so extremely, extremely happy about that.”

The films were also produced during the pandemic, which is something that Domfeh spoke to.  “We had a lot of institutional support and it’s really not just the people that you see here,” he explained. “Obviously, these filmmakers spearheaded the vision, but I’m really proud to say that Disney in totality really came behind these filmmakers from our production executives to every part of the team that helped make each film. It’s just beautiful to see. Mahin and I say this constantly, what they accomplished during COVID really just positions them as true, not only filmmakers storytellers, but leaders, captains of teams and it’s not hard enough to just tell a really beautiful story. To do that facing a once-in-a-100-year term while is something that’s really [shows] that these guys are the real deal. They’ve really got it and we’re really proud of them.”

Watch trailers for the six films below:

AMERICAN EID:

DINNER IS SERVED:

GROWING FANGS:

THE LITTLE PRINCE(SS):

LET’S BE TIGERS:

THE LAST OF THE CHUPACABRAS:

Submissions for season 2, which will be based around the theme of Connection are being accepted through June 11. There is also a writer track this year as well. Learn more at https://launchpad.disney.com/

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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