The first Pixar short featuring half-Filipino characters was made available on YouTube where it has garnered more than two million views since it was first uploaded last Saturday.
“Float” is a short animated film by Filipino-American animator Bobby Rubio who said that it was inspired by how he handled his son’s autism diagnosis.
The film was first released in November 2019 through Disney+ which is not yet available in Southeast Asia.
It tells the story of a Filipino-American father raising his son who has the ability to levitate, which makes him worry about what other people might think.
Rubio admitted that he initially didn’t consider making the characters Filipino but was otherwise convinced by a co-worker.
“When I first thought of the short, I actually was thinking of making the characters white,” he said in a 2019 television interview.
“And it’s because of my unconscious bias, I assume, because I was like, I don’t know if anyone wants to see a Filipino-American,” Rubio added.
The Pixar creative said that he remembered being told by a co-worker: “This is a story about you and your son. How’s your son going to feel when he looks up at the screen and that character is white.”
“That hit me and I didn’t want my son to think that he wasn’t worthy of it. So from that point on, I was like, ‘Okay, I’m doing this. We’ll tell our story.’ And we’re going to make them Filipino-American,” Rubio added.
He said that when he first learned about his son’s autism, he struggled and “went through a depression.”
Meanwhile, his film was warmly received by fellow Filipinos who shared that the short film touched their hearts.
— Gus Agustin 🏳️🌈 ♊ #ReviewBoys #TheGusStation (@GusAgustin) February 28, 2021
“Y’all can’t see me but this short film made me bawl,” another online user wrote.
“Float” was made available by Pixar as a way to stand in solidarity with Asian and Asian-American communities following the surge of recent attacks against them in the United States.
One involved a Philippine-born US navy veteran who died after being held by police officers in what his family’s lawyer referred to as the “George Floyd technique.”
Another Pixar short that features Asian characters, “Wind,” was also made available by the animation studio on YouTube. It was created by Korean Edwin Chang. — Featured video from Pixar via YouTube