'Loop' is probably the first animated short film to center such a diverse character. Pixar has been highly praised for the new movie.
A new Pixar short film is coming to streaming platform Disney+ on January 10, 2020. Unlike the production house's previous films, this one breaks quite a few barriers. Called Loop, the animated short film will feature a non-verbal girl of color with autism as one of the main characters. For many viewers on the autism spectrum, this is a major breakthrough; think about the last few animated shorts you've seen, how representative have they been? Did they have an inclusive or diverse cast? While they may have had some women as leads or some characters of color, it is highly unlikely that learning disabilities were centered. it looks like things are finally, finally changing.
In their description, Pixar gives us a peek into what the short film is going to be about. The description reads, "A non-verbal, autistic girl and a chatty boy are partnered on a canoeing trip. To complete their journey across an urban lake, they must both learn how the other experiences the world." Through Loop, two underrepresented groups will finally gain recognition. And by the looks of it, people are rather excited. Tiffany Cavanaugh stated on Twitter, "Hoping Pixar represents the Autistic Community positivity with the upcoming film Loop. According to what I heard, and the fact that it’s a non-verbal female Autistic POC, and the rainbow infinity symbol is used and no puzzle piece, it gives me hope. We’ll see." Autism entertainment consultant Kerry Magro wrote on his blog, "I’m very glad that this character will be a girl and also nonverbal, two groups who are underrepresented in our entertainment industry currently. I’m looking forward to checking this out and hope that the character is a realistic portrayal of someone on the autism spectrum."
Loop is an experimental short film that comes from Pixar's new SparkShorts division. SparkShorts was created to give new storytellers a platform to develop their own narratives and make sure audiences heard their voices. Jim Morris, the President of Pixar Animation Studios, stated, "The SparkShorts program is designed to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows. These films are unlike anything we’ve ever done at Pixar, providing an opportunity to unlock the potential of individual artists and their inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than our normal fare." While there remain many questions, such as whether the representation is actually good representation, how many black, autistic, non-verbal, and non-speaking people were involved in making this movie, and how low-income autistics will get access to watch the film, Pixar is making a positive, important change in the right direction.