Disney+ is revving up its original content. Joining the Mandalorian, WandaVision, and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is Disney’s Launchpad. A series of shorts, all directed by different directors; is now currently on its first season on the streaming service. The kind of shorts you can find will be:
- American EID
- Dinner is Served
- Growing Fangs
- The Last of the Chupacabras
- Let’s Be Tigers
- The Little Prince(ss)
In a recent press junket, several of those involved in Launchpad sat down to answer some questions.
Those in attendance were:
- AMERICAN EID: Aqsa Altaf (Director)
- DINNER IS SERVED: Hao Zheng (Director)
- GROWING FANGS: Ann Marie Pace (Director)
- THE LAST OF THE CHUPACABRA: Jessica Mendez Siqueiros (Director)
- LET’S BE TIGERS: Stefanie Abel Horowitz (Director)
- THE LITTLE PRINCE(SS): Moxie Peng (Director)
- Mahin Ibrahim (Director, Disney’s Diversity and Inclusion)
- Phillip Domfeh (Launchpad, Sr. Manager)
Making of Launchpad
Mahin Ibrahim was first asked how proud they were about the Launchpad project, to which they answered:
“I think we cannot say this enough. We’re proud of our amazing filmmakers. They themselves have said that from day one that they are no tjust filmmakers but a filmmaker family. You can see that bond, that connection, even across Zoom, you can feel that collective heartbeat across all of them and so they have brought that to their films, as well as the spirit behind the collaboration on set. I love what one of our mentors Nicole Grindle from Pixar shared that. What you see on screen is emblematic of what happened off-screen and the culture of inclusivity and collaboration that they fostered behind the scenes. I’m very grateful to work with these amazing filmmakers.”
When asked about the process of choosing who to be in Launchpad season one, Mahin opened up:
“For season one, we had over 1,100 applications. 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 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 Last of the Chupacabra
Going right into the shorts, Jessica Mendez Siqueiros – the director of The Last of the Chupacabra – was asked about the inspiration behind the short:
“The film was inspired by the fact that my great grandma might not have Chapa who is aptly badly characters named after, lived till she was 100 years old. She died five days after her 100th birthday. My family has always been very, very proudly Mexican, very proudly Mexican American family, and have always been indigenous to the land that we were from in Arizona originally.”
The director continued to speak on how she wished to get closer with her grandmother and her heritage and that is where the inspiration to make this short came from.
Hao Zheng, the director of Dinner is Served; was asked the same question:
“Dinner is Served is about a Chinese student in an elite US boarding school trying to apply for a leadership position no international student has ever applied for. It’s pretty much based on my own experience when I first came to the States. I was 15 back then. I went to a high school in New York, and I just felt like nobody knew me when I first landed.
I really wanted to have people see me, so I literally applied for a reposition I can on campus. I participate in anything I can. Then at the end of the year, when I applied for those positions, I pretty much felt one after another. Then two upon that, there’s only one position left wishes, the maitre D of the dining room. That position is like every night during dinner, that person is the one that everyone sees because they announced the dinner. I decided to apply for that.”
Let’s Be Tigers
Stefanie Abel Horowitz; the director of Let’s Be Tigers; was then asked about having a child actor on set:
“Inspiration was at the time that I was writing it, my zany, my grandpa was going to be 100 just like Jessica’s grandma. My parents were going to be 70 and my nephew was going to be four. I was just thinking about this passing of the Baton of life that was happening. In my 20s, I was a babysitter and I took care of this really cute four-year-old kid who was so loving and so smart and so incredible and taught me about love, I think.”
Each story in Launchpad is a story that is one of inclusion and is incredibly personal to each director. You can watch all six short films on Disney+ right now!
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