Disney celebrates 25 years of Disney Pixar’s Toy Story with virtual Pixar Fest launch

Disney has launched a new virtual family festival celebrating the 25th anniversary of Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story, and its 20 years of support of the charity, MediCinema.

Called Pixar Fest, the event will premiere on Sunday, August 9th with a collection of Pixar movies on Disney+, weekly watchalongs, animator masterclasses, quizzes, arts and crafts for kids, and new product releases.

Tasia Filippatos, SVP Disney EMEA, said: “Pixar revolutionised the art of animation 25 years ago with the release of Toy Story and since then has brought us some of the most iconic and unique moments in filmmaking history. Pixar Fest will give fans of all ages the chance to celebrate their favourites through a host of activities and even cast their vote in ‘The Golden Lamp Awards’. We hope the line-up brings some summer holiday fun and movie magic to homes across the UK.”

As part of its ongoing worldwide commitment to provide comfort and inspiration through movie moments and help reduce isolation for seriously ill children in hospitals, Disney has also pledged £750,000 to MediCinema to help reach more children by developing and building additional state of the art hospital cinemas in UK and Italy.

Visits to these cinemas help improve wellbeing, and combat isolation and the anxiety of spending time on the wards.

Kat Mason, chief executive of MediCinema, added: “In our 20th anniversary year and 20 years of working with Disney, we are incredibly happy to be the recipient of this donation that will help ensure our cinema services can impact so many more children and their families.

“In addition, all money raised from the prize draws will help to make sure we can keep our current services running, which is more important now than ever for children and their families facing time spent in hospital.”

Disney has marked the launch of Pixar Fest with the release of never-seen-before Toy Story artwork, which showcases the early designs and evolution of Buzz Lightyear. It features early character sketches including a variety of different faces, suit colours and wing designs, before he was transformed into the Buzz we know today.

Pixar historian, Christine Freeman, said: “Buzz is one of our most popular characters, and it’s fascinating to see the different ways that Pixar’s artists imagined him during the evolution of his design. Even his name changed over time – from Tempus of Morph to Lunar Larry, to Buzz Lightyear. You can see the LL belt buckle (for Lunar Larry) in a few of these early designs.”

Ever since Woody and Buzz landed at movie theatres in 1995 in the first fully computer-animated feature film, Pixar movies have become favourites of fans across the globe.

To date, there have been 23 full-length Pixar films and 21 shorts, collecting 37 Academy Awards with Disney Store’s top-selling Pixar merchandise of all time including its Buzz Lightyear talking action figure.

The line up of virtual activity taking place throughout Pixar Fest, includes Sunday watchalongs on Disney’s social channels with streamed movies on Disney+ such as Toy Story, Cars, Inside Out, and The Incredibles, as well as Pixar quizzes hosted by Edith Bowman.

Patients in MediCinema hospitals will be able to watch along on bedside screens at the same time.

On top of this, talent including Tony Hale, animators and celebrities including Katie Piper, Danny Jones, Myleene Klass and Aston Merrygold will be unveiling their favourite Pixar moments over the last 25 years as part of ‘The Golden Lamp Awards’- with MediCinema nurses and volunteers shortlisting a special Moments that Matter category for fans to vote for their top Pixar moment.

Meanwhile, shopDisney’s Pixar Fest Party At Home packs, which include everything fans need to host their own Pixar party will also be up for grabs via weekly competitions, while an online masterclass with a Pixar animator, hosted by film aficionado Mark Kermode, to teach fans how to draw Pixar characters and learn some of the secrets behind the animations, hosted on Disney’s social channels on 12th August.

BAFTA Kids will put on a virtual animation masterclass on 15th August where children submitted their questions to discover everything that they need to know about how to become a top animator.

Fans can also help to raise funds for MediCinema through Pixar Fest’s Charity Tuesdays to win money-can’t-buy Pixar prizes, including a drawing lesson with a Pixar artist and an exclusive piece of Pixar artwork through prize draws run by MediCinema.

Fans around the globe will be able to celebrate their favourite Pixar characters with new products from Mattel and Funko. Also launching is a new range of merchandise honouring the heritage of Pixar at shopDisney, including a new line of Aliens products that feature the Toy Story favourites as different characters from Pixar movies, including WALL•E and Up’s Russell.  Other “Pixar Alien Remix” toys will see Toy Story’s Aliens dressed as other Pixar characters including Carl from Up, Dot from A Bug’s Life, Dory from Finding Nemo, Edna from The Incredibles, Sulley from Monsters, Inc. and Princess Merida from Brave.

Pixar Fest will run from August 9th to September 6th this year.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent some six years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@bizmedia.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobHutchins3 if ranting is your thing...

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