‘Float,’ Pixar’s first-ever short featuring Filipino characters, earns Peabody nod

“Float” is Disney+’s first nomination for the Peabody Awards.

Pixar’s first-ever short film featuring Filipino characters has been nominated in this year’s Peabody Awards.

Filipino American storyboard artist Bobby Alcid Rubio took to social media to share that his seven-minute short, “Float,” is one of the nominees in the award ceremony’s entertainment category.

“So honored to have @Pixar #PixarFloat to be nominated for the #PeabodyAwards. I am grateful that our #SparkShorts #ShortFilm about Acceptance and Celebration of our Differences is being recognized. I share this achievement with my wonderful producer, Krissy Cababa @cababapalooza, my amazing crew #TeamFloat and the entire Pixar Family!” Rubio wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday, May 7.

The organization on Wednesday revealed this year’s 60 nominees, chosen by a board of 19 jurors from nearly 1,300 entries, for the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and digital media during 2019.

“Float,” written and directed by Rubio and produced by fellow Fil-Am Krissy Cababa, tells the story of a father trying to keep his infant son’s special ability to fly a secret.

The animated short is based on Rubio’s relationship with his son Alex, who is on the autism spectrum. He submitted it to Pixar’s SparkShorts, an immersive storytelling program that gives studio employees six months and a budget to develop animated short films.

“I’m a storyteller at heart. I was thinking of doing this story about my son and me…I’ve been holding onto this story for eight years and I finally felt like it was time to tell it,” he told the Asian Journal in an interview last year.

The short was screened at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood last October before it made its Disney+ debut a month later when the streaming platform was unveiled.

Rubio has worked as a traditional artist and storyboard artist on films like “Pocahontas,” “Tarzan,” and “Treasure Planet.” He was also an assistant director and storyboard artist for “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” before moving to Pixar, where he has worked on “Up” and has since included “Brave,” “Monsters University,” “Inside Out” and most recently, “Incredibles 2” and “Toy Story 4.”

“At the end of the day, [‘Float’] is about the bond between father and son. It’s about unconditional love, especially amongst family members and amongst everybody. I want that to be the end thing that people get. It’s about love and acceptance and hopefully, that will resonate,” Rubio said in his Asian Journal interview.

“Float” is up against shows, such as “Chernobyl,” “Stranger Things,” “Succession,” “Fleabag,” and “Watchmen.” Apple TV+’s original comedy series starring actress Hailee Steinfeld — who is of Filipina descent — also garnered a nomination in the category.

“Float” and “Dickinson” mark the first Peabody Awards nominations for Disney+ and Apple TV+, respectively, since the two streaming platforms debuted last year.

“Peabody is proud to champion this year’s nominees who inspire our connection, provoke our thinking and delight our senses. From the communal strength of black women to the eminence of science to the conviction of those who speak up, these stories and their creators celebrate the diversity of human experience and of our democracy,” Peabody Executive Director Jeffrey P. Jones said in a statement.

“Amidst the challenges of our present moment, we can find empathy, entertainment and truth in these nominees,” he added.

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