Disney’s Short Circuit program offers incredible opportunities
Walt Disney Animation Studios set out to discover a whole new world of ideas and created the Short Circuit program in 2016. The goal of the program was to give people who worked in the Walt Disney Animation Studios the opportunity to pitch ideas for original short films and potentially have them selected for production with the support of the studio and other artists.
The studio wanted to encourage risk-taking in both visual style and storytelling and to find new voices to experiment in the studio’s new technical innovation in the filmmaking process.
The program has given 14 Disney Animation artists the opportunity to create their own short features, most averaging two minutes in length.
One award-winning Disney Animation VR short, “Cycles,” was directed by Jeff Gipson and created through the Short Circuit program.
Disney+ will debut 14 Short Circuit features on Jan. 24 on its new platform. More are expected in the future.
Many of the Short Circuit program directors worked on Disney films, “Frozen,” “Frozen 2,” “Zootopia,” “Moana,” “Big Hero 6” and “Wreck-It Ralph.”
Here are the 14 films in the series:
A story centered around the true meaning of creating a home and the life that it holds inside its walls.Jeff Gipson (Director) first joined the studio in 2013 as a lighting apprentice on “Frozen.” Gipson made his directing debut with Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first virtual reality short film, “Cycles” for which he won a Lumiere™ Award in 2019. He recently debuted his second VR short film “Myth: A Frozen Tale,” at the world premiere of “Frozen 2.”
A commuter’s disappointment in missing the bus turns into a colorful and unexpected joyride when the surrounding street art bursts to life, revealingthe heart of the city from an entirely new perspective.Kendra Vander Vliet (Director) joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2013 as a rough layout artist on “Frozen,” and went on to work on such films as “Feast,” “Big Hero 6,” “Zootopia,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and “Frozen 2.” She enjoyed the challenge of telling her story through color and street art, with over 100 custom mural designs created for the project.
A newly-formed raindrop falls to earth for the first time and has an unlikely and heartfelt encounter with a young girl that proves to be uplifting for both.Trent Correy (Director) started at Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2012 as an animation trainee in the Talent Development Program. Hemost recently oversaw the animation of the beloved character, Olaf, among others in his role as Animation Supervisor on “Frozen 2.” His other credits include “Frozen,” “Big Hero 6,” “Zootopia,” “Moana,” and multiple shorts.
ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
A lost baby elephant is taken in by a boy and his father to work on their banana plantation. As the two quickly bond, the boy discovers that his new best friend yearns for her family and home in the wild.2Brian Scott (Director) began his career at Walt Disney Animation Studios as an animator on “Frozen.” He then went on to work on such films as “Big Hero 6,” “Zootopia,” “Moana,” “Frozen 2,” and the 2015 Oscar®-winning short, “Feast” (on which he served as Head of Animation). A chance childhood encounter with a baby elephant, and, many years later, the arrival of his first child, provided the inspiration for “Elephant in the Room.”
Life is hard enough for an exchange student at a new school,but as the only earthling at a school for aliens, the central character in this fanciful story is the ultimate outsider and must prove her worth to be accepted by her unusual new classmates.Natalie Nourigat(Director) joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2015 as a story apprentice. Shehas gone on to serve as a story assistant and story artist on “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”
A child wants to play fetch with her pet. Unfortunately he’s wandered deepinto an imposing forest.Mitch Counsell(Director) started his Walt Disney Animation career as a Character TD on “Big Hero 6.” He has worked in a similar capacity on such films as “Zootopia,” “Moana,” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and most recently served as part of the “Tactics Team” consultancy group on “Frozen 2.”
A young girl faces off against an evil hairdresser as she goes through imaginative lengths to avoid her first haircut.Brian Estrada (Director)started at Walt Disney AnimationStudiosin 2013 as a production assistant on the 3D version of “The Little Mermaid,” and has worked in many different departments at the Studio including Story, Art, Editorial, Environment Assets, and Post Production, where he is currently the coordinator. At DisneyAnimation, his credits include “Zootopia,” “Moana,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and “Frozen 2.”
A grieving martial artist pays tribute to her recently departed teacher by creating a painted world using a magical form of kung fu. Jerry Huynh (Director) is a General TD at Disney Animation, with credits including “Moana” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” Huynh drew upon his family roots and culture in telling this very personal story.
JUST A THOUGHT
An awkward 12-year-old boy named Ollie experiences “bubble trouble” when his true feelings for a girl are embarrassingly revealed in the form of a physical thought bubble.3Brian Menz(Director) fell in love with animation at a young age and came to Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2008 as an animator on “Bolt.” He then went on to work on such films as “Big Hero 6,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Frozen,” “Zootopia,” “Moana,” and “Ralph Breaks theInternet, and is currently an animation supervisor on “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE
During a thunderstorm, a young boy’s effort to capture lightning in a glass bottle as part of a science fair project succeeds beyond his wildest expectations, but is shocked when he discovers the consequences of this unnatural feat.Virgilio John Aquino (Director)had early ambitions of becoming a comic book artist, but turned towards a career in animation at the age of 26.Starting as an effectsanimator on “Hercules” and “Fantasia/2000,” he went on to work as a modeler on such recent features as “Tangled,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Frozen,” “Big Hero 6,” and “Zootopia,” and “Frozen 2.”
This clever bit of balderdash lifts the lid on an originaltale about a hijacked hairpiece, a gang of larcenous leprechauns, and a budding romance. Nikki Mull (Director) startedas a trainee at Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2013, and is currently a Character Look Supervisor on “Raya and the Last Dragon.”Her credits include “Moana,” “Big Hero 6,” “Frozen,” and “Frozen 2.”
An adventurous young boy discovers that puddles can be portals to a fantastical world, but struggles to get his sister’s attention away from her phone to see the magic in the world around her. Zach Parrish (Director) joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2010 as an animator on “Tangled.” He then went on to work on such films as “Wreck-It Ralph” (Supervising Animator), “Big Hero 6” (Head of Animation), “Zootopia” and“Moana” (Animator), and “Ralph Breaks the Internet” (Workflow Supervisor and Animator).
Grim desperately needs one more soul to win his work competition, but his last scheduled collection at a rigorous bike race turns his world upside-down. At the finish line, he learns that life is not always about the trophy at the end of the race. Terry Moews (Director) is a 23-year Disney veteran, who came to Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1996 to supervise and shoot the live-action backgrounds for theinnovative computer-animated feature, “Dinosaur” (2000). Following “Dinosaur,” Moews was chosen to create the CG layout department for Disney’s “Chicken Little.” He went on to serve as Visual Effects Supervisor, Layout Supervisor, Studio Department Leader and Layout Artist on such films 4as “Bolt,” “Big Hero 6,” “Tangled,” “Frozen” “Zootopia,” “Moana,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and “Frozen 2.”
A luminous, ethereal stag bounds effortlessly through a dark expanse of the universe, leaving a galaxy of stars in its wake. When it accidentally creates a black hole that threatens to devour everything in sight, the stag is forced to make a decision that will leave a lasting impression. Jennifer Stratton (Director) startedwith Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2013 as a look development artist for Special Projects/Legacy, and segued into feature production where she has contributed to the look of such features as “Zootopia,” “Moana,” Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and “Frozen 2.” On “Zenith,” she wasparticularly excited to be working with the effects team to push the design of the characters, and bring unique, cool new visuals to the screen.
The series premieres exclusively on Disney + beginning January 24.