For many, college was a time of exploration. Every student was exploring something different, be it science, independence, or even his or her own individuality. I was a film student, and as such studied any and every cinematic genre and historical fulcrum I could to better understand the technology, business, and wonder of the film industry. More often than not, that exploration landed me on the innovative, magical, story driven shorts of Walt Disney.
If you excavate your way down through Disney’s vast library of films, you’ll eventually end up at the company’s roots: animated shorts. Animation, and animated shorts in particular, were the foundation of the first incarnation of The Walt Disney Company when Walt and Roy Disney launched the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in 1923. Throughout the years, the Walt Disney Company has produced a number of shorts, many of which played before various Disney features. In the late ’90s, Pixar fueled a renaissance for animated shorts at Disney, and have since released two volumes collecting those films on DVD. Now, Walt Disney Animation Studios is releasing its own shorts collection, bringing twelve of its films, produced between 2000 and 2015, to Blu-ray and Digital HD for the first time.
The centerpiece, and main selling point of the Short Film Collection is Frozen Fever, the Frozen follow-up which premiered before Cinderella earlier this year. Other shorts in the collection include:
- Feast, the Oscar winning short which played before 2014’s Big Hero 6
- Get A Horse!, which played before Frozen in 2013
- Paperman, the Oscar winning short which played before Wreck It Ralph in 2012
- Tangled Ever After, which played before Beauty and the Beast 3D in 2011
- The Ballad of Nessie, which played before Winnie the Pooh in 2011
- Tick Tock Tale (2010)
- Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa (2010)
- How to Hook Up Your Home Theatre, a Goofy short which played before National Treasure; Book of Secrets in 2007
- The Little Matchgirl (2006)
- Lorenzo, Oscar nominated in 2004
- John Henry (2000)
The collection of contemporary shorts is itself fantastic, but, for film buffs like me, the special features are just as great, offering a glimpse behind the magic of one of cinemas oldest artforms. A short documentary called @DisneyAnimation: A Short Story on Shorts includes historical context and behind the scenes interviews about the legacy, process, and technical innovations of Walt Disney Animation’s shorts program. The set even includes a bonus short, the 1995 Academy Award nominated Runaway Brain.
The Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection will be available on Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on August 18th.