Launchpad is the latest project from Disney+, intent on highlighting diverse filmmakers and giving them a platform to showcase their skills. It’s a pretty genius move to be honest, and an exciting project that looks like it could have a good foundation to drive the platform forward for years to come.
In its simplest form, Launchpad brings together a collection of different short films ranging from 14 to 28 minutes in length. These bite-size chunks allow you to get a feel for different Directors, and the six shorts chosen for this first season are certainly diverse enough to warrant their place here.
The big theme tying everything together is the motif of “being seen.” With specific Directors chosen from underrepresented backgrounds, these unique perspectives offer up a whole range of different tonal styles and ideas, ranging from comedy and drama through to a more thought provoking art piece.
Of course, given Disney’s branding, this is all glossed over with a family friendly tone so don’t expect anything too heavy like some of the more recent anthology offerings. You certainly won’t find anything like Black Mirror here!
Instead, the upbeat tone lends itself to some feel-good morals and quirky ideas, with the films benefiting greatly from their short run-times. There’s certainly enough to whet the appetite and give this project a go.. Personally, I liked “Growing Fangs” the best, with a clever allegory about fitting in. However, your favourites will likely differ depending on your preferences.
As another gripe, it would have been nice to see something animated in here; a throwback to the old Disney hand-drawn animations or even a CGIed short as an ode to Pixar. Besides that, this is a solid six episode introduction to new and upcoming Directors. Given there are applications open for filmmakers next year, it’s clear Disney intends to keep this going for a while.
Given what we’re graced with in this first collection, there’s definitely scope to expand out. As a short-form film anthology, Launchpad certainly proves to be an intriguing launch pad, one that will hopefully serve as a decent starting platform for promising new filmmakers.