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Disney Premieres 3 New Experimental Animated Shorts at Annecy

Festival presentation spotlights Short Circuit program’s ‘Just A Thought,’ ’Exchange Student,’ and ‘Jing Hua’ along with special inside look at ‘Frozen 2,’ the highly anticipated upcoming ‘Frozen’ sequel. 

'Jing Hua,' by Jerry Huynh.

When it comes to sharing exciting new animated projects, there’s arguably no place a more appreciative, enthusiastic and knowledgeable audience can be found than at the Annecy Festival. And each year for many years now, the folks at Walt Disney Animation Studios have provided some of the best sneak peaks (think Get a Horse!) and teased some of the most highly anticipated animated projects in the industry during the annual, week-long animation love fest by Lac d’Annecy filled with one great reveal after another.

This year was no exception – today, in front of a packed Bonlieu Grande Salle filled with cheering, exuberant animation fans, Disney didn’t disappoint. Head of animation Becky Bresee and head of effects animation Marlon West took to the stage to give an extended inside look at the making of Frozen 2, the highly anticipated sequel to Frozen, the most successful animated feature film in history. In addition, Disney showcased three new animated short films, the latest in their experimental Short Circuit program -- Just A Thought, by Brian Menz, Exchange Student, by Natalie Nourigat and Jing Hua, by Jerry Huynh.

You can find full bios on Bresee, West and the three shorts directors in AWN's Disney Annecy preview.

'Just A Thought,' by Brian Menz.

'Exchange Student,' by Natalie Nourigat.

The Short Circuit program began in 2016, providing anyone at Walt Disney Animation Studios the opportunity to pitch an idea and potentially be selected to create an original short film with the support of the Studio and their fellow artists. The goal of this innovative program is to take risks in both visual style and story, surface new voices at the Studio and experiment with new technical innovation. The program has so far given 20 Disney Animation artists the opportunity to create their own short, most averaging 2:00 minutes in length. Last year’s award-winning Disney Animation VR short, Cycles, directed by Jeff Gipson, was created within the Short Circuit program as well. The short films within Short Circuit will be available Spring of 2020 on Disney+ in the U.S., Disney’s upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service.

In the just released Frozen 2 trailer, Disney has revealed a tad more of the secretive storyline.  Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she'll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey far beyond the gates of Arendelle. In Frozen, Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In Frozen 2, she must hope they are enough.  The film opens in theatres November 22. 

'Frozen 2.'

Source: Walt Disney Animation Studios

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.