As part of a program aimed at discovering new storytellers and storytelling techniques, Disney+ released a short film in January featuring a non-verbal character with autism. And you should watch it with your kids.
The film, called Loop, manages to give us insight into Renee’s perspective—how she sees and interacts with the world—in just 9 minutes. Her canoeing partner, Marcus, has to help her navigate the lake by learning how to communicate with her. Despite his initial frustration, Marcus figures out how patience and being attuned to what calms her helps them overcome obstacles together.
According to an interview with director Erica Milsom featured on Popsugar, Pixar had a little help in developing Renee’s character:
In an effort to make Renee’s story as realistic as possible, Pixar consulted with individuals from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, who gave feedback and insight into what Renee might be thinking or feeling throughout the film. As a result, the short film includes instances of Renee reacting strongly to sound or touch and even reflects her point of view in the way the camera angle shifts.
Milsom’s work has featured characters with disabilities in the past. Her 2017 short film So Much Yellow is set in the 1960s and follows the story of a family as they make the difficult decision to institutionalise their son with Down syndrome.