Float (film)

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An image of the Float film poster
Official poster
Directed byBobby Rubio
Produced byKrissy Cababa
Screenplay byBobby Rubio
Story byBobby Rubio
  • Bobby Rubio
  • Eli Fucile
  • Luna Watson
  • Mika Kubo
Music byBarney Jones
  • Shaun Seong-young Kim (camera)
  • Michael Sparber (lighting)
Edited byGregory Amundson
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • November 12, 2019 (2019-11-12) (Disney+)
Running time
7 minutes
CountryUnited States

Float is a 2019 American animated short film directed and written by Bobby Rubio, produced by Pixar Animation Studios, and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the fourth film in Pixar's "SparkShorts" program, and focuses on a son's ability to fly and the choice his father must make. The short was released on Disney+ on November 12, 2019.


Dad (portrayed by Bobby Rubio) is playing with his newborn son Alex (portrayed by Eli Fucile) in the front yard of his house. While showing him a dandelion, Alex proceeds to float, surprising Dad. Watchful eyes begin to concern him as he grabs Alex and brings him back inside the house. Now 4-years-old, Alex (portrayed by Luna Watson) continues floating all over the darkened house as Dad has become a hermit with a disheveled appearance. He keeps his son on a leash and stuffs his backpack with rocks to keep him down,[1] although these precautions are later shown to not do much. They leave the house while trying to avoid the neighbors.

Dad pauses in front of a playground and watches the other kids play, but he turns to see that Alex has escaped and is interacting with the other children by floating, much to their overall confusion. Dad hurriedly grabs his son, who begins to have a temper tantrum while choking to near death, resulting in Dad asking his son why he can't just be normal (the only moment of dialogue in the film).[1] Alex grounds himself and sadly pulls his hood over his head. As he looks at all the park attendees, Dad, having answered his own question, cradles his son and sits on the swing set. He begins to swing back and forth, reinvigorating his son, and launches him in the air.[1] Alex continues to fly as Dad happily runs around underneath him.[2][3][4][5]


  • Bobby Rubio as Dad
  • Eli Fucile as Baby Alex
  • Luna Watson as Toddler Alex
  • Mika Kubo as Additional voices



Float is a short film that was directed and written by Bobby Rubio, and produced by Krissy Cababa and Pixar Animation Studios; it was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.[6] It is the fourth film of Pixar's "SparkShorts" program, and it lasts approximately seven minutes.[7] In January 2019, Rubio described the program as "different films from the kinds of films" developed at Pixar, while executive producer Lindsey Collins said that the shorts are referred to as SparkShorts because Pixar "[wants] to discover that creative spark" in its employees.[8] Rubio viewed the program as "a wonderful opportunity to tell [his] story".[8] He stated that Float is inspired by his son,[7] who has autism, and that he identified with the father from the short.[9] Rubio said that the boy from the short is "different from other children" since he can float.[7] He commented that while "the father loves his son wholeheartedly without restriction" at first, this begins to be altered by what the other people say;[1] as a result, he has to choose between deciding they are right and ignoring their thoughts.[1]

Since his son was growing up, Rubio decided he had "to tell this story" and "started storyboarding it".[6] The initial storyboards contained Caucasian characters, but one of Rubio's co-workers told him that he should depict Filipino-American characters instead. While he was initially unsure of this idea, he decided to make this change to "empower [his son] and empower children of color".[6] Rubio wanted to incorporate some of his own features as a Filipino-American into the characters' designs in order to make them look "authentic".[10] He commented that he was very "proud" that Float was released during Filipino American History Month.[10] Rubio said that seeing the viewers react to some scenes in the way he had expected them to was "amazing", stating that he "totally loved it".[10] According to Rubio, viewers had "several different" interpretations of the film.[11]

Krissy Cababa described Float as "a powerful story about being a parent and the struggles you go through as a parent with your kids".[6] She also characterized it as "an important story about acceptance and being able to love and celebrate the people in our lives".[6] Cababa said the short "was about celebrating people for who they are and not who you want them to be".[6] She stated that "people are talking about representation" due to Float, "sharing what this means to them and its importance".[6] She mentioned that the short is "a huge deal".[11] Cababa said the short had received "so much support" and a "positive feedback", saying this had been "really overwhelming".[11]


Barney Jones, who composed the music for the Pixar short film Smash and Grab, composed the music for Float. The score was released on February 28, 2020.[12]

Float (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by
Barney Jones
ReleasedFebruary 28, 2020 (2020-02-28)
GenreFilm score

Track listing[edit]

All music is composed by Barney Jones.

1."Bouncing Baby"1:33
2."Duck and Cover & Regret"1:17
3."I See You"1:18
4."Float End Credits"1:10
5."Float Alternate End Credits"1:07
Total length:6:25


Float was released on Disney+ on November 12, 2019,[13] alongside fellow "SparkShorts" entries Purl, Smash and Grab, and Kitbull.[1][14][15][16][17]


Float has obtained a generally positive critical response, with writers deeming it "touching",[7][9] "moving",[1] and "spot on".[1] The child on whom the short is centered was characterized as "extremely cute",[7] and as "adorable".[10] Alex Abad-Santos of Vox described the short as "one of the best new things on Disney+".[7] He commented that "facial expressions and body language carry the story" despite the general lack of dialogue, adding that "a small shift in posture or the way a frown sharpens an entire face wields so much emotion".[7] Abad-Santos stated that the short's "core story could be a story about assimilation and growing up as a minority" or "it could be about what [it is] like to feel different from those around you".[7] He said that "Float taps into the human instinct to fiercely protect someone you love, the worry that the world out there [will not] see them the way you do, and the hope that that big scary world will love this person as much as you do";[7] he stated that while this "sounds like a lot of ground to cover in seven minutes", the short manages to do that very well.[7] Fortune's Ellen McGirt said that Rubio's "own fear that his son would be judged by others is palpable" through this short.[9] Float was described as "a film about acceptance" with "a heartwarming story".[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Menta, Anna (November 15, 2019). "Pixar's Float on Disney+ Is a Moving, Must-Watch Metaphor for Autism". Decider.com. Archived from the original on December 15, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  2. ^ Orange, B. Alan (January 10, 2020). "Pixar Announces New Short Film Program SparkShorts". MovieWeb. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  3. ^ "SparkShorts". Pixar. January 18, 2018. Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  4. ^ Gentile, Dan (November 21, 2019). "How this Pixar storyboard artist made Float, a Disney+ short about his autistic son". SFGate. Hearst Communications. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  5. ^ Wolfe, E. (November 12, 2019). "Disney+ Review: Pixar SparkShorts Float is The Heartwarming Tale of a Very Special Child". Walt Disney World News Today. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Tangcay, Jazz (November 30, 2019). "'Float' Director Bobby Rubio on Unconscious Bias and Pixar's First Filipino American Character". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on December 15, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Abad-Santos, Alex (November 12, 2019). "Pixar's touching animated short Float is one of the best new things on Disney+". Vox. Vox Media. Archived from the original on December 3, 2019. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Introducing Pixar SparkShorts". Pixar/The Walt Disney Company/YouTube. January 10, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c McGirt, Ellen (December 5, 2019). "'Float' Is Breaking New Ground on Disney+". Fortune. Archived from the original on December 15, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e Yurong, Dale; Sarquis, Tim (November 7, 2019). "Pixar Makes Filipino-American Cinematic History". KABC-TV. Archived from the original on December 3, 2019. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c "Why Pixar's groundbreaking short 'Float' with Filipino lead characters almost didn't happen". KGO-TV. November 29, 2019. Archived from the original on December 15, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  12. ^ "Float Soundtrack". Soundtrack.Net. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  13. ^ Romano, Nick (October 30, 2019). "Pixar previews all six short films in SparkShorts trailer on Disney+". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  14. ^ "Tomorrow is a very special premiere for #FLOAT on @disneyplus! Thank you to @Bobby_Rubio for sharing his beautiful, personal story with us. Big thanks to Producer @kirbaba and everyone on the Float crew for making such a gorgeous film possible! ❤️✨#Pixar #SparkShorts #PixarFloat". November 11, 2019. Retrieved November 12, 2019 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ Worcester, Neil (November 14, 2019). "Short Film Review: 'Float'". Deluxe Video Online. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  16. ^ Crawford, Emille (November 18, 2019). "New Short Film on Disney+ Gives Autism a Voice and Viewers Perspective". Inside the Magic. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  17. ^ Nourse, Joelle Marie (November 18, 2019). "This Short Film on Disney+ Has an Autism Metaphor Everyone Needs to See". The Mighty. Retrieved December 3, 2019.

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