Walt Disney Animation Studios is releasing a new short called Us Again. The first new animated short from Walt Disney Animation Studios to debut in theaters in five years, it will arrive ahead of Raya and the Last Dragonin theaters on March 5th. It will be released on Disney+ in June. The last short to be shown ahead of an animated theatrical feature was Inner Workings, ahead of Moana. Us Again is directed by Zach Parrish and “brings together dance, music, emotional storytelling and inspired animation” a statement from Disney said.
Here is the official description for Us Again:
Set in a vibrant city pulsating with rhythm and movement, an elderly man and his young-at-heart wife rekindle their youthful passion for life and each other on one magical night. The years fade away as the joy of dancing propels them across the exciting cityscape of their youth and revives fond memories and ambitions. “Us Again” is told entirely without dialogue and set to an original funk and soul musical score reminiscent of the mid-60s.
Walt Disney Animated Studios President Clark Spencer said, “We’re thrilled to be premiering our first new theatrical short in five years, ‘Us Again,’ exclusively on the big screen alongside our incredible new feature, ‘Raya and the Last Dragon.’ Zach has tapped into elements from his personal life, and collaborated with the very best in the world of dance and music to create this very special film. We are so proud of what they have accomplished and look forward to sharing it with movie theater goers in March, and then in June on Disney Plus.”
Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer for Walt Disney Animation Studios added, “One of my priorities has been to bring back theatrical animated shorts and to give artists at our Studio an opportunity to explore new ideas. ‘Us Again’ has so much spirit and energy, and pushes the boundaries of our short form storytelling.”
Zach Parrish has worked at Disney Animation for eleven years. He served as the head of animation on Big Hero Six and directed Puddles, a Short Circuit Film. He has also worked on multiple other projects at the studio. For this project, he was joined by choreographers/dancers Keone and Mari along with composer Pinar Toprak. The short film is produced by Brad Simonsen and executive produced by Jennifer Lee. It is being billed as an “experimental and musical fantasy.”
“Working with Keone and Mari was the key to making this film work,” shared Parrish. “From the very beginning, I knew that I wanted this film to be music driven. And I felt that dance is a universal language that can translate into any culture. I loved that their dance style felt like it was made for animation, and that there was this genuine, honest and organic connection between them because they were actually a married couple in real life. The story itself was inspired by my own grandparents, who faced getting older in different ways, along with my own physical limitations in playing sports resulting from getting older and injuries. I started thinking about how someone might look at the world differently as things change and they grow older.”
Simonsen added, “It was fascinating to see the process and the close collaboration between the music, the choreography and Zach’s vision for layout and animation. The film has a timeless and life-affirming message and an emotional resonance that is uniquely entertaining. Zach’s love of dance and animation, and his willingness to take chances as a filmmaker, made this a true labor of love.”
Keone observes, “Mari and I have always dreamed of having our particular style of movement being incorporated within animation. Our style is very new and young and we were like kids in a candy store working with Zach and the team to capture it and see our movements realized through the characters in the film.”
“From the first time we saw the storyboards, I was already tearing up,” adds Mari. “The characters were easy to relate to and to empathize with. As a married couple, we tried to imagine being their age, and we also thought about our own grandparents in bringing the characters to life through dance.”
For those who want to see Us Again as soon as possible, get tickets for Raya and the Last Dragon today and see both of these animated projects when they come to the big screen on March 5th.
What do you think about Us Again? Are you excited to see it? Will you see it in theaters or wait until it is on Disney+ in June? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!