Walt Disney Studios plans on being in Baton Rouge and Louisiana a lot more in the coming months in anticipation of its Christmas Day release of The Princess and the Frog, an animated film set in New Orleans. The movie trailer may possibly make its debut at this year’s Red Stick Animation Festival, set for April 22-25, says Emily Hoppe, a Disney marketing executive. Hoppe, who was the guest speaker today at a Red Stick Animation Festival lunch, says Disney filmmakers will teach younger students about animation as well as review and critique portfolios from university students. Festival events will also feature a prominent Disney theme. Stacey Simmons, director of the animation festival, said the relationship with Disney will help grow interest in animation in Louisiana and help generate sponsorships for the festival. “It’s huge the movie being set in Louisiana,” she says.
The Princess and the Frog is part of Disney’s return to its two-dimensional animation roots. The movie may also help export Louisiana culture around the world. Hoppe says research shows international audiences don’t know much about the South. Along with the animation festival events, Disney will have a presence in New Orleans later this year. The “Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales from the Walt Disney Studio” exhibit will begin at the New Orleans Museum of Art in November and run through mid-March 2010.—Anna Thibodeaux