It’s very clear that the Walt Disney Company of today looks quite different than it ever has before. With a growing line-up of productions that reflect the wildly diverse world we live in, the films, television shows, and theme park experiences are holding a mirror up to reality in new and invigorating ways. Look no further than “Encanto,” the company’s latest animated feature, which is centered around (very specifically) a Colombian family and has become a worldwide phenomenon.
“Bridging the Gap,” presented by Disney+, is a new digital episodic series centered on diversity that “aims to find common threads and themes of connection across various cultures, ethnicities, genders, religions and sexual orientations through immersive conservations among filmmakers, animators, creatives and talent.” Participants join host Brea Baker, a cultural commentator and activist, for a frank discussion of their lives and careers.
The first episode, “The Balancing Act,” which you can watch exclusively below, focuses on “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and how the creatives behind the movie were influenced by their own experiences as first- and second-generation Americans. After today’s episode, other new episodes will premiere during Black History Month and around other relevant cultural events, exclusively on the Disney+ YouTube channel.
Baker said (in an official statement): “I am so excited to partner with Disney+ and host this series of discussions celebrating the diverse talent behind stories that have impacted culture and pushed representation. For me, Bridging the Gap is about stepping out of the echo chamber. I can’t wait to explore the common threads which unite us and spark deeper reflection on how we build a better world.” Trevor Kelley, Disney+’s SVP of Marketing, added (in an official statement): “This great new digital series was born out of the real admiration we have for the tremendous storytellers at this company. With ‘Bridging the Gap’ our team has created a new platform where we can highlight some of those incredible creatives and unveil how we are all connected through the magic of creativity and expression.”
With the array of diverse new projects coming from the company, everything from Pixar’s “Turning Red” to the “Princess and the Frog”-themed redo of Splash Mountain, there will be plenty for Baker and her guests to discuss.