Surely, we find the good-old Disney classics and new releases amusing and enjoyable. But, do you know that Disney owns a program dedicated to showcase its employees talent? First developed in 2016, the Short Circuit series is an experimental and innovative program where anyone at the Walt Disney Animation Studios can pitch an idea and get selected to create their own short film of six to seven minutes long. In short, the Short Circuit series gives a new take on storytelling and visual styles. It's currently on a roll for its second season, and one story has managed to grab the world's attention; enter, Reflect.
Reflect follows the story of Bianca, a ballet dancer who battles her own reflection. The opening scene shows Bianca in an empty dance studio happily and confidently practicing by herself before her class begins and others walk into the room. As she scans the room, she becomes uncomfortable because she's the only plus-sized dancer, intensified by her instructor's feedback of "tight tummy, long neck."
But then, the room slowly changes until it is only Bianca and her reflection in the mirror breaks apart; symbolizing the way she perceives her body before she overcomes her self-doubt by channeling her inner strength, grace, and power.
Underlining the fact that Disney's classics often focus around the theme of romance or true love, its recent releases were truly a fresh breath of air. With Encanto that showcases intergenerational trauma or Turning Red that centers on puberty, today Reflect focuses on self-image and body positivity-the truthful tale of life is becoming more and more evident.
Not only the idea, the matter of representation is just as important. Bianca marks the first plus size female protagonist ever introduced by Disney. Even though Aladdin, Mulan, and Brave depict different cultures, Coco and Encanto successfully make an additional point to Disney's continuous attempt in expanding their storylines, as well as diversity in their animation.
It was a slow and long pace for sure, but this may signal that a positive shift is bound to happen. Fantasy and romance may never lose its glow, but creating something a lot of people can resonate with will never fail to tug our heartstrings.