“It would be so excited to work on a Disney’s animation that features K-pop music,” said Disney animators Choi Young-jae and Yoon Na-ra at a virtual press conference for the movie“Encanto,” which is the company’s 60th animated feature, on Wednesday. Since the new film is set in Colombia, there are rising expectations that Disney would soon create an animated film based on the Korean culture since the company is putting efforts into reflecting ethnic and regional varieties in its works. “Disney is making a lot of effort to create multicultural intellectual property (IP) rights,” said Yoon, raising expectations that Disney would one day deal with the Korean culture as well.
Choi and Yoon are veteran animators, who worked for Disney for 15 and 8 years, respectively, participating in many works including Frozen, Frozen 2 and Zootopia. Animators use computer graphics (CG) to control muscles and joints of animated characters, helping them move naturally. This time, the two brought Encanto’s main characters, including Mirabel to life.
Since the family in the movie Encanto lives in the mountains of Colombia, there are many scenes, where the characters dance the traditional Colombian dance and make typical Columbian gestures. “When creating animated films set in specific regions, Disney puts a lot of effort, such as collaborating with local experts,” Choi said. “In Encanto, you will be able to see gestures that only Colombians will know.”
Collaboration through real-time communication is a must when creating animated films. There were a lot of obstacles in creating Encanto since animators worked from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We communicated as much as possible on FaceTime to feel like we’re working together,” Yoon said. “As a result, Encanto went beyond the limitations of exiting musical animations of Disney.”
The two gave valuable advice to young Koreans, who aspire to work for Disney, the “dream company” for aspiring animators. “Koreans are known for their persistence,” Choi said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of Koreans, who are capable of working for Disney, if they step up their game one step at a time.”
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