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Just a day after Disney dropped the trailer for Frozen 2, it debuted first footage and artwork at the Annecy Animation Festival in France.
Head of animation Becky Bresee and head of effects Marlon West revealed that the story picks up three years after the ending of the first film. “It’s an evolution and an expansion of the story of Frozen, and many of the questions raised in the first movie become the mysteries that our gang are trying to solve in this film,” said Bresee, who said the main question of the film is: “Why was Elsa born with her powers?”
“[It’s] about two sisters trying to stay together while the world tries to tear them apart,” added West.
Key scenes revealed Elsa hearing a haunting sound from the forest, and key art showed her father telling her bedtime stories as a child. Bresee said the call was inspired by the ancient Swedish herding call Kulning.
Elsa’s father relays a tale of a battle that happened in the forest long ago when the spirits of the forest faced off against the people of the kingdom. Now the group — including Elsa, her sister Anna, Kristof and snowman Olaf — must head deeper into the woods to find out about the past, putting them in danger.
Another key scene showed Elsa swimming deep into the ocean, turning a wave into ice and descending into the depths of a stormy sea, while a happier vignette showed the characters playing charades together, though Elsa is distracted because she cannot stop hearing the cries from the forest.
Bresee and West said that the film is still in production, with seven weeks of animation to be completed and 10 weeks of special effects. It’s due out in France on Nov. 20 and the U.S. on Nov. 22. They revealed the French poster, which shows the four walking past a lake in bright sun, but the reflection in the lake is dark red.
Disney also world premiered three short films from its Short Circuit incubator. The first was Exchange Student from Natalie Nourigat, a fish-out-of-water story about the only human on an alien planet. The film had a watercolor on paper style, while the newsprint style story Just a Thought followed. That short, from director Brian Menz, explores what would happen if others could see comics-style “thought bubbles.”
The final short was from technical director Jerry Huynh, who told a story of grief and martial arts in a classic Chinese art style with swirling pinks and pale blues against a mountain backdrop. Huynh relayed an emotional speech and said the film, titled Flower in the Mirror, was inspired by the deaths of three family members within weeks of each other.
All three will debut on Disney+ when the streamer launches in November.
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