Alongside its growing slate of Disney series and movies, upcoming SVOD Disney+ will offer 20 original animated shorts from the media giant’s experimental shorts program, Short Circuit. The content will be available for streaming in the US from spring 2020.
Launched in 2016, Short Circuit gives Disney artists at Walt Disney Animation Studios the opportunity to create their own original animated short film with the help of the studio and their peers after a pitching and selection process. The aim is to nurture new talent and raise the bar for visual style and technical innovation. Twenty shorts averaging two minutes in length have been produced to date, including the studio’s first VR short, Cycles, from first-time director Jeff Gipson (previously a lighting artist on Disney movies like Frozen, Zootopia and Ralph Breaks the Internet).
Before heading to the SVOD, three new shorts—Just A Thought, Exchange Student and Jing Hua—will premiere next month at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France.
Directed by Brian Menz, Just A Thought follows an awkward young boy and is inspired by Menz’s tween years and his love for Sunday newspaper comics. Since joining Disney in 2008, Menz has worked on features including Bolt, Frozen, Moana and Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Using a watercolor aesthetic, Natalie Nourigat is the director of Exchange Student. She joined the House of Mouse in 2015 as a story apprentice and moved up to become a story assistant and story artist on Ralph Breaks the Internet. Prior to Disney, she drew comics and created storyboards for commercials and the web series Bee and Puppycat.
Jing Hua (Flower in the Mirror), meanwhile, comes from Jerry Huynh, who started at Disney as an intern in 2011 before landing technical director roles on Moana and Ralph Breaks the Internet. Huynh’s short, which employs a Chinese calligraphy brushstroke style, is inspired by his life growing up in a family of Chinese-Vietnamese refugees and uses a Chinese .
Short Circuit’s streaming distribution follows the official launch of Disney-Pixar’s experimental storytelling initiative SparkShorts in January. Its first three shorts are Brian Larsen’s Smash and Grab, Kristen Lester’s Purl and Rosana Sullivan’s Kitbull. Disney’s experimental kick also got a boost in April when Marvel Animation’s Guardians of the Galaxy TV series introduced a new storytelling format that mixes animation styles in a new four-episode arc.
Disney+ is set to launch in the US in November. The international roll out will continue over the next two years, but no specific territories or dates have been announced.