The Walt Disney Company has introduced Disney Launchpad, a new shorts incubator with the goal of providing opportunities to filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds.

  • Through this new program, up to six directors will be invited to share their diverse perspectives and create original, live-action short films under the mentorship of creative executives from across The Walt Disney Company, for proposed initial exhibition on Disney+.
  • The first theme Disney Launchpad will use for its first set of short will be “Discover.”
  • Launchpad is open to experienced directors from underrepresented backgrounds with diverse and varied perspectives, including but not limited to:
    • Women
    • People of color
    • The LGBTQ community
    • Various religious groups
    • Military veterans
    • People with disabilities
    • And Others
  • The long-term goal of the program is to launch successful filmmaking careers for these filmmakers.
  • As part of the immersive seven-month program, directors will take part in storytelling and professional development classes primarily led by the American Film Institute (AFI), the program’s educational partner.
  • Each prospective director is asked to submit a resume, lookbook, a directing sample that showcases their unique tone and cinematic style, a script for their short and an essay explaining how they come from an underrepresented background or have a diverse perspective.
  • Disney Launchpad could serve as an entry point for emerging filmmakers who may in turn make The Walt Disney Company a part of their journeys long after they have completed the program.

What they’re saying:

  • Julie Ann Crommett, vice president, Multicultural Audience Engagement, The Walt Disney Studios: “Talent is evenly distributed amongst the population, but opportunity is not,”
  • Alan Bergman, co-chairman, The Walt Disney Studios: “At The Walt Disney Studios, we believe that great stories come from everywhere, and we are committed to telling inclusive stories and working with filmmakers who bring diverse perspectives to the table. The Disney Launchpad gives us a platform to empower a new generation of filmmakers to share original stories that resonate with our global audience and reflect the world we live in.”
  • Mahin Ibrahim, director, Diversity and Inclusion, Market, The Walt Disney Studios: “We really wanted to treat this like a true pipeline program. We want to put the directors through the best-in-class studio operating system in the world and treat them the way we would if they were to direct something else for us.”
  • Crommett: “We talk about really wanting the directors to feel that we’re making a real, tangible investment in them—not just in their film and in making a piece of content, but in them as filmmakers and humans. We want it to feel like the entirety of The Walt Disney Company is behind them. We want them to succeed and we want to work with them for their whole career.”