New Disney initiative supports female filmmakers

Women have a story to tell, and this new Disney initiative is showcasing just that.

According to Variety, Disney’s new “Dream Big Princess” project has “has selected 21 girls and women from 13 countries to develop digital short films about women who inspire them.”

In addition to giving female filmmakers the opportunity to tell stories about the influential women in their lives that work in industries ranging from entertainment and sports to government and science, Variety also says that they will participate in professional workshops that include a “training session with Apple technical experts, mentorship from the female-led production company Summerjax, and meetings with Disney film veterans.”

All shot on iPhone X cameras, each filmmaker’s project will be shared on Disney social media starting on Oct. 10, says Variety, and with each like and share of the films with the hashtag #DreamBigPrincess, Disney will donate $1 to the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign, which empowers and positions girls all over the world to be leaders.

One of the film’s subjects, Disney CCO Jennifer Lee, who Variety says won an animated feature Oscar for “Frozen,” says the Dream Big Princess initiative serves as an extension of Disney’s mission to inspire kids.

“Using the journeys of characters like Anna, Elsa and Moana to inspire kids to dream big is at the very heart of what all of us at Disney do,” Lee said, according to Variety. “The #DreamBigPrincess series is the perfect extension of that vision, providing a powerful platform for the next generation of aspiring filmmakers to create content about the women who have inspired them.”

Graphic designer gives Disney Princesses real-life ambitions

Disney princesses can be more than just pretty faces wearing fancy dresses. In fact, they can be whatever they want to be, thanks to the musings of a graphic designer.

According to PopSugar, graphic designer for Simple Thrifty Living Matt Burt decided to give the host of princesses new identities, envisioning them as “empowered boss ladies with successful careers in male-dominated fields.”

In his new depictions, Burt transforms Disney favorites Anna and Elsa into climate change scientists who have “dedicated their careers to studying climate change and presenting accurate, well-sourced information,” says PopSugar, while Belle becomes a university chancellor, thanks to her love of reading — oh, and a doctorate degree.

Other storied princesses were imagined as an animal rights activist (Cinderella), a UN ambassador (Jasmine), a Navy officer (Moana) and even a Title IX lawyer (Mulan).

In short, these ladies are getting down to business to defeat the patriarchy and show that they are much more than just dignitaries.

Disney teams up with designer for luxury shoe collection

Disney may be all about fairy tales and magic, but they may pale in comparison to the magic that is a brand-new Disney-inspired footwear collection.

According to PopSugar, fashion influencer and designer Chiara Ferragni has teamed up with shopDisney to “create a limited-edition capsule collection of footwear inspired by Minnie Mouse.”

The line, which is a total of only five pieces, offers both mules and sneakers as its primary styles, though don’t let that fool you: PopSugar says each pair is draped in “sparkly embellishments and luxe fabrics” that make these shoes just as stylish as they are comfortable.

As if you already weren’t getting the royal treatment, PopSugar reports that all styles are made in Italy with velvet, suede and patent leather.

So how much does a pair of these modern-day Disney glass slippers cost? By far the cheapest option clocks in at a lofty $299.95, while the most expensive totals $469.99.

Perhaps we’ll wait for a fairy godmother to send some our way!

To peruse the line, click here.

Disney launches #DreamBigPrincess campaign

Being a princess isn’t reserved for characters in Disney movies; in fact, they are coming to life and expanding their purpose, thanks to Disney’s new photo campaign.

According to Glamour, Disney recently launched an all-new campaign called #DreamBigPrincess, which “tapped 19 female photographers in 15 countries to create portraits of inspiring women and girls who live in the real world, not in Disneyland—everyone from park rangers in Kenya to a Chinese Paralympian to the author of a coding book for kids.”

In addition to showcasing girls that are powerful in their own ways, Glamour reports that Disney is also working with Girl Up,  a foundation part of the U.N. With every public photo posted to social media with the hashtag #DreamBigPrincess or every like on one of those posts, Disney will donate $1 — up to $1 million.

One of the photographers on the series was Kate T. Parker, says Glamour, who photographed her daughter’s soccer team, as well as Grace — an aspiring Paralympian —  depicting the girls as both athletic and strong, instead of merely meek and demure. Despite the girls’ lack of fancy outfits and royal palaces, Parker told Glamour that the girls she photographed are every bit princesses.

“Princesses are great role models, they show strength and power and determination,” she said. “Princesses can look perfect and be perfect and have their hair done, but then the next moment they can be having a mud fight.”

‘Mulan’ remake scores female director

What a revolutionary concept: a film with a strong female character is going to be directed by a female director.

According to GlamourThe Hollywood Reporter revealed on Feb. 14 that the live-action remake of Disney’s classic Mulan will be directed by Niki Caro, who beat out Asian directors Ang Lee and Jiang Wen for the job. Hong Kong-based Bill Kong will take up the role of executive producer on the film, says Glamour. 

Caro, who earned two Oscar nominations for her 2005 film North Country, is also making a bit of history by sitting in the director’s chair for the remake: Glamour reports that she will become the second female in history (after Ava DuVernay) to direct a film with a budget of $100 million or more.

The Hollywood Reporter also laid to rest early speculation that the film would star white characters — even a potential white male lead — by sharing that the studio is “focusing its casting search in mainland China for the main roles, including the legendary woman warrior herself.”


A ‘runway’ worthy princess dress

It’s only fitting that Disney’s first Latina princess gets a dress straight from the runway — Project Runway, that is.

According to WWDProject Runway All Stars alum Layana Aguilar designed the dress for Disney’s latest princess, “Elena of Avalor.” Elena, voiced by Young & Hungry star Aimee Carrero, will make her debut in the cartoon series on the Disney Channel in July, in which “the brave and adventurous teenager … saves her kingdom from an evil sorceress and must learn to rule until she is old enough to be queen.”

Although Aguilar may not have been summoned by royal command to craft the Latina princess’ dress, her talents were tapped for the project after being connected to Disney via Runway host Tim Gunn, according to WWD.

Gunn, who voices a character on Disney Junior show Sofia the First, was “the resource Disney turned to when it needed a designer to create a ballgown for Elena of Avalor,” reports WWD. After a meeting with Joe D’Ambrosia, Disney Junior’s senior vice president of original programming, “Aguilar was encouraged to create whatever she imagined.”

Aguilar drew inspiration for Elena’s gown from her own South American heritage, according to WWD, crafting the first-ever Disney princess gown with a print. WWD says Aguilar “tapped into a childhood memory of her grandmother embroidering colorful mandala flowers.”

“The feeling to it is very Peruvian, Inca-like,” she said of the dress. “When they first showed me Princess Elena and I read a little bit about that story, it took me back to that memory.”

Discussing the experience of designing the dress for the animated princess, Aguilar said, “This experience opened my mind to other experiences you can have as a fashion designer. We’re often so caught up in designing lines and doing trade shows. At the end of the day, you get so much more money and exposure from collaborations with major brands,” according to WWD.

But, for Aguilar, designing the gown was “a dream come true. I really wanted it to be something that has to do with my upbringing.”