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Wednesday, October 10 2018 09:45

Dream Big, Princess: Disney Launches Global Video Series featuring 21 Female Filmmakers from 13 Countries

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“A word I use over and over again is tenacity. I think it’s important to remember that it’s never going to be easy the first time out, so you just have to keep going at it again and again, especially if you firmly believe in what you do.” -- Kathleen Kennedy, President, Lucasfilm

It's incredible what a difference a few years can make. Upon the birth of our first daughter back in 2009, my wife and I were almost instantly inundated with information and opinions on the "Princess Complex" - what many felt was negative influence from the Disney Princesses and the like.  The Walt Disney Company was completely aware, and in recent years there's been a real effort to reinvent the Disney Princess brand to be something meaningful and empowering, and since the 2016 launch of Dream Big, Princess, kids everywhere have been presented with new ideas on just what a "Princess" could be. Now,  ahead of the United Nations International Day of the Girl (October 11), Disney has launched a new global video series offering advice and inspiration on achieving success for the next generation of young leaders around the globe. The #DreamBigPrincess video series, produced and directed by young women from the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up initiative, shares the stories of 20 trailblazing women across technology, entertainment, medicine, law, sports, arts, science, fashion and politics to show the next generation what’s possible if you dream big.

“Dreaming big is one of the most important things any of us can do – to keep aiming higher,” says Kennedy, who was interviewed for the series by Maud Webster, age 16, from the UK. “The #DreamBigPrincess series is giving a voice to a group of talented young women, helping them tell stories that kids can learn from, whatever their ambition.”

Disney provided support for the 21 Girl Up leaders through guidance and gear as each girl set out to capture the story of an individual role model. The aspiring filmmakers embarked on their creative journeys back in July, with ongoing mentorship from Disney, Apple and female-led production company Summerjax ahead of the series debut. Each video was shot on iPhone X and edited using Final Cut Pro X running on MacBook Pro.  

“There’s a line in Mary Poppins where she says anything is possible, even the impossible. I think that really symbolizes what dreaming big is all about, the idea if you want something big enough that the universe is going to conspire to give it to you,” says Emily Blunt, who was interviewed by Marisa Torre, age 17.

The Lineup of Women Featured in the #DreamBigPrincess Video Series Includes:

  • Asmaa Boujibar - Research scientist and the first Moroccan woman in history to join NASA Johnson Space Center.

  • Ashima Narain - Photographer, filmmaker and former photo editor for National Geographic Traveler India.

  • Blanca Treviño - President and CEO of Softtek, the leading IT services company in Latin America, champion for entrepreneurialism, IT and the role of women in business.

  • Emily Blunt - Golden Globe Award-winning actress and star of upcoming Disney movies Mary Poppins Returns and Jungle Cruise.

  • Celina Caesar-Chavannes - Canadian member of Parliament who served as Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister of Canada.

  • Jennifer Lee - Chief creative officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios, writer and co-director of Disney’s Frozen for which she won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

  • Jo Malone CBE - Founder and creative director of Jo Loves, responsible for creating some of the world’s most-loved fragrances, awarded a CBE in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honors List for her services to the British Economy and the GREAT Britain campaign.

  • Karen Jonz - Brazilian skateboarder, designer and musician who won the 2008 X Games women’s vertical and the World Cup Skateboarding Championship four times, first Brazilian to win the title of World Champion.

  • Karen Walker - Designer with a global, multimillion-dollar eponymous fashion label, awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to fashion design in 2014.

  • Kathleen Kennedy - Film producer and president of Lucasfilm, has produced more than 60 films, including three of the highest-grossing movies in motion picture history.

  • Leia Mi - Art director for Shanghai Disneyland who creates concept designs and provides art direction for Shanghai Disney Resort, was a creative designer at Walt Disney Imagineering.

  • Maria Teresa Ruiz - Chilean astronomer, the first woman to study astronomy at the University of Chile, the first female scientist to receive a PhD in astrophysics from Princeton University and the first woman to receive Chile's National Prize for Exact Sciences.

  • Martina Stoessel - Actress and singer who played the leading role on the internationally successful Disney Channel telenovela Violetta, first Argentine singer to reach one million views on YouTube in less than 24 hours for her single “Te Quiero Mas.”

  • Monica Lopez Hidalgo – Accomplished professor and researcher of neuroscience, one of the winners of the L'Oréal Unesco Conacyt AMC 2017 Scholarships for Women in Science for her research on the deterioration of cognitive functions related to age.

  • Dr. Ndifanji Namacha - Medical doctor and assistant lecturer of public health, Malaria No More UK youth ambassador, delivered a keynote speech at the 2018 Malaria Summit in London.

  • Paola Carosella – Award-winning chef and restaurateur, opened her first restaurant in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2001, has appeared as a judge on MasterChef Brazil since 2014.

  • Robin Roberts – Award-winning broadcaster and co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America.

  • Susan Prescott - Vice president of product marketing at Apple with more than 25 years of experience in the computing industry.

  • Virginie Delalande – Founder of Handicapower, first deaf person to become a lawyer in France.

  • Victoria Arlen – Accomplished motivational speaker, actress, model and swimmer, won three Silver medals and a Gold medal from the London 2012 Paralympic Games, joined ESPN as one of the company’s youngest on-air talents.

“The #DreamBigPrincess series documents a host of inspiring stories and diverse experiences, but the common message is clear,” says Zenia Mucha, Senior Executive Vice President, Communications, The Walt Disney Company. “Having a big dream is the first step on the path to success, and positive role models are critical in helping you continue on that journey – whether that’s a fictional entrepreneur like Tiana or a real-world success story like any of the women in this series.”

Doing Good: Raising Money for Girl Up - YOU Can Help:

Through Disney’s collaboration with Girl Up, the #DreamBigPrincess campaign aims to make a tangible difference for girls who face challenges in achieving their dreams. For each like or share of a video or photo posted publicly with #DreamBigPrincess on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, Disney Worldwide Services will donate US $1 to Girl Up in support of girls’ leadership and empowerment (minimum donation: $500,000/maximum donation: $1 million). This charitable initiative kicks off today and runs until November 20, 2018.

The initiative is part of Disney’s ongoing Dream Big, Princess campaign that encourages kids everywhere to dream big by highlighting key story moments and inspiring qualities that each Disney Princess showcases through her adventures, such as Merida’s bravery, Cinderella’s kindness or Tiana’s perseverance. Disney is committed to helping today’s youth create the future they imagine by providing them with inspiration and opportunity through transformative programming, of which this campaign is an example.

In honor of the new #DreamBigPrincess digital shorts series, all Disney Parks guests around the world are also invited to Disney bound in outfits inspired by their favorite female Disney characters on October 11, declared the International Day of the Girl by the United Nations. Disney bounding can include color schemes, patterns, accessories and more that speak to favorite Disney characters. Disney stores nationwide will also celebrate the launch of the initiative with in-store Dream Big, Princess events on Saturday, October 13th.

See all of the films in the #DreamBigPrincess series here.

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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