If you watch one video today, let it be Pixar's newest short film Loop — a lesson in empathy and human connection told with the help of gorgeous animation techniques. Currently available on Disney+, the SparkShorts film follows the story of Renee, a 13-year-old girl who has autism, is nonverbal, and loves canoeing. Renee is played by Madison Bandy, a young woman with autism who is mostly nonspeaking.
While at canoe camp, Renee is paired up with a counselor name Marcus who embarks on an unexpected journey to find compassion within himself when he realizes Renee communicates differently compared to other people he's met. "Marcus is a teenage boy; he is not autistic and he hasn't actually hung out with a lot of people who communicate in the way that Renee does," said writer and director Erica Milsom in an interview during a behind-the scenes look at the creation of the short film.
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.
Renee's beautiful story is one of empathy, understanding, communication, and connection meant for children and adults alike. Watch the full making of Loop video here to learn more about the work that went into the project, and watch the full short film on Disney+.