Disney’s streaming TV service Disney+ recently launched to much fanfare with a slew of content from Disney, Marvel, and Pixar. However among all the shows and movies available, one animated short, “Float”, has been getting a lot of attention and giving viewers all the fuzzy feels.
The 6 minute short, produced by the king of computer animation Pixar, tells the poignant story of a father and his young and gifted son who has the special ability to float. Obviously, floating isn’t something anyone can do, so in order to protect his kid from social ridicule, the father hides his son’s talent to make him seem “normal”.
“Float” is generating buzz for not only its heartwarming tale, but also its feature of Filipino characters, even if they’re CGI. The animated short was written and directed by Filipino-American Pixar animator Bobby Alcid Rubio, who used his real life relationship with his son Alex as inspiration.
“I’m a storyteller at heart. I was thinking of doing this story about my son and me. I’ve been holding onto this story for eight years and I finally felt like it was time to tell it,” Rubio told the Asian Journal.
“Float” resembles Rubio’s real life in a couple areas. First the story is a metaphor for the relationship between parents and children who’ve been born with special needs. Rubio’s son, Alex, has autism. In “Float”, the special floating power represents any aspect that could make a child “different” in greater society. It could be challenging for a parent to not only shield their child, but also deal with other people. Secondly, the main characters are Filipino. Over the last couple years, more and more Asian characters and faces have been feature on screens, and it’s exciting to see this transpire in the animated world (side note: Disney did produce “Mulan”).
“I wasn’t even thinking of them being Filipino. It was through my colleagues that had pointed out, ‘This is your story. This is about you and your son so the characters should be Filipino.’ This is just my unconscious bias. I’m not used to seeing Filipinos as lead characters and it felt very empowering to have my coworkers push this diverse person of color to be a lead,” said Rubio.
Rubio started conceptualizing “Float” over 2 years ago and was encouraged to submit it to Pixar’s SparkShorts program, which awards select projects the resources to be developed into an actual animated short. Ultimately, “Float” was 1 of the 6 concepts chosen and made it onto Disney+. If you have the streaming service, it’s definitely a must-watch.