Since the days of Gari’s Game or For the Birds from Pixar, animated shorts have almost become as important to Disney as Stan Lee cameos had become in Marvel films. This is something that has also been adopted by Disney Animation. With their next feature Raya and the Last Dragon being released next month, we have learned what they have planned for the short film ahead of the feature presentation.
The short will be titled, Us Again. The film is a vibrant and original new theatrical animated short. It is being directed by Zach Parrish. It will be bringing together elements of dance, music, emotional storytelling, and inspired animation. This is the first short from Disney Animation since 2016’s Inner Workings. This had accompanied Moana in theaters.
Here is a description of Us Again provided by Disney:
Set in a vibrant city pulsating with rhythm and movement. An elderly man and his young-at-heart wife rekindle their youthful passion for life and each other on one magical night. The years fade away as the joy of dancing propels them across the exciting cityscape of their youth and revives fond memories and ambitions. “Us Again” is told entirely without dialogue and set to an original funk and soul musical score reminiscent of the mid-60s.
Parrish has been with Disney Animation for eleven years. He served as head animator on Big Hero 6. Joining him on this artistic experiment are Award-winning choreographer/dancer Keoneand Mari and acclaimed composer Pinar Toprak. Us Again is being produced by Brad Simonson. Executive produced by Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer for Walt Disney Animation Studios.
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“Working with Keone and Mari was the key to making this film work,” recalls Parrish. “From the very beginning, I knew that I wanted this film to be music-driven. And I felt that dance is a universal language that can translate into any culture. I loved that their dance style felt like it was made for animation. That there was this genuine, honest and organic connection between them. They were actually a married couple in real life. The story itself was inspired by my own grandparents, who faced getting older in different ways, along with my own physical limitations in playing sports resulting from getting older and injuries. I started thinking about how someone might look at the world differently as things change and they grow older.”
Sometimes these shorts seem like they could rival the feature film as far as emotional responses. They often feel just as memorable as the feature films that they open for. Overall it speaks to the quality of the teams at Disney Animation who know exactly what buttons to push in us to get a response.
What do you think of Us Again? Let us know in the comment section below!
Disney Animations’ Us Again, will debut exclusively in theaters with Raya and the Last Dragon on March 5th. Then is scheduled for a Disney+ release in June.