‘Float’ Is Pixar’s First Animated Short to Have Filipino Characters

‘Float’ Is Pixar’s First Animated Short Film to Feature Filipino Characters 

Directed by Bobby Rubio, Pixar’s animated short ‘Float’ marks an important milestone for Filipino representation.

If there’s any animation studio that has mastered the art of tugging at heartstrings and making everyone cry, it’s Pixar Animation Studios. For the first time in its history, Pixar has featured Filipino characters in the lead roles of an animated short film called Float. This heartwarming film was directed by Bobby Rubio, a Filipino-American animator born in San Diego, California, and it has just been released on YouTube.  

Float was first released on 12 Nov 2019 on Disney+, a streaming platform which, ironically, has yet to launch in the Philippines. Thankfully, Pixar has uploaded the animated short on YouTube for free, and Filipinos have the opportunity to watch the film in its entirety.

Pixar brings Filipino representation to the screen with Float

Float tells the story of a single Filipino-American father, who discovers that his son possesses the ability to float. Concerned over what his neighbours might think, he raises his son in isolation. What follows is a poignant film that speaks to the vulnerability of protecting someone who is precious to you, as well as the fear of feeling like an outsider in the community you belong to.  

‘Float’ Is the First Animated Short From Pixar to Star Filipino Characters

Image credit: Pixar

Earning praise for centering Filipinos as the main characters, the seven-minute animated short has also been commended for its portrayal of fatherhood and neurodivergent representation. According to Variety, the story behind Float was inspired by Rubio’s real-life experiences with his son Alex, who was diagnosed with autism. 

“I did not want Alex to think that I was ashamed. I wanted him to know that his dad loved him, and he was worth it,” said Rubio, who has worked on Pixar movies such as Brave and Inside Out. “I wanted to empower him and empower children of colour. 

Sharing a message of hope and inclusion to the world

‘Float’ Is the First Animated Short From Pixar to Star Filipino Characters

Image credit: Pixar

Pixar’s decision to make Float available online to the public comes as a timely response to the surge of Anti-Asian sentiment across the United States. In an official statement released on Instagram, Pixar Animation Studios and the SparkShorts filmmakers of Float claim they are standing in solidarity with Asians and Asian-Americans, choosing to honour and celebrate diversity against the rise of unprovoked hate crimes against these communities. 

“We are proud of the onscreen representation in this short and have decided to make it widely available, in celebration of what stories that feature Asian characters can do to promote inclusion everywhere,” the statement reads.  

You can watch Float here, or by playing the video below.

 

Also read: Live Out Your Pixar Fantasies With Toonme

Certainly, it’s a great time to witness Filipino representation on-screen. From Disney’s animated short titled “From Our Family to Yours” — which paid tribute to lantern-making rituals in Pampanga and the family-centric Christmas traditions of Filipinos — to Pixar’s latest short Float, we’re seeing more animation studios committed to sharing messages of hope, acceptance, and inclusion through their storytelling.

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Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer who covers travel, food, shopping, and pop culture. She has a soft spot for stories about Japan and Italy. While she waits patiently for her next adventure, she enjoys writing about the coolest places to stay around the world and where to find them.

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