Digital Editor Halima Ahad praises Disney’s Once Upon a Studio; a joyous film that celebrates the centenary of the iconic studio
‘Once Upon A Studio’ (2023) charts a wonderful relationship between old and new characters that have spanned across Disney’s 100 years. The new short film celebrates Disney’s iconic milestone of reaching 100 years as a studio, not to forget every character who has played a significant part in the classic and modern Disney films.
Once Upon A Studio was in the minds of its directors, Dan Abraham and Trent Correy, since eight months before pitching it to Disney Animation Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee in late 2021. “Because we built the pitch for so long, the short hasn’t actually changed much,” Correy tells The Walt Disney Company in an exclusive interview, “We changed characters out and tightened up the pacing…”
The short film first begins with two colleagues leaving the Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank after a long day of work. Disney legend Burny Mattinson, who had worked in the studios for 70 years, shuts the studio and then the fun begins for the many iconic characters of Disney.
Mickey Mouse first begins by encouraging the others to come out and soon they warm up to the idea of coming together. Mickey’s main motive is to get all the characters together and have a special 100th Anniversary Studio portrait.
According to Variety, eighty percent of characters in Once Upon A Studio were hand-drawn whilst the rest were computer-generated which shows how far Disney has come in recent years when it comes to producing and distributing animation for audiences worldwide.
Producer Bradford Simonsen tells Variety, “We used our animation research library where we pulled out model sheets for the animators to work from.” This shows the commitment that directors and producers of Once Upon A Studio were willing to go to in order for the short film to be a massive hit.
As well as this, many of the voice actors of iconic characters came back. Forty voice actors were brought in to reprise their characters from the past. Whilst recording their lines, they recalled what their characters truly meant to them. For Correy and Abraham, their first voice recording was Auli’i Cravalho as Moana, crossing over with The Little Mermaid (1989)’s Flounder.
Everyone has their favourite Disney character and I am truly certain that yours will make a cameo in this special short film. Their reappearances create a childlike sense of nostalgia which should definitely not be missed.
Once Upon a Studio is available to stream now.
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