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Disney animator draws inspiration from Filipino family, friends

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Dec 03 2021 02:03 PM | Updated as of Dec 03 2021 04:52 PM

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Mikee Sevilla is one of the talented artists behind Disney’s new animated film 'Encanto: A Magical World.'

The Fil-Am animator, who went to high school and college in the Philippines, worked on the characters including the central character Maribel, a young woman who feels disconnected with her family but still tries her best to help them.
 
"I definitely connect with Maribel a lot. I know how she feels - her pain that she feels inside, and feeling like she's not included and her longing to belong, be accepted and loved by your parents. I feel like I deeply connect with that, and I hope the audience feels that as well even listening to her sing and all of the songs. I hope all the Filipinos really connect and enjoy watching the film," Sevilla says.

There are many similarities in culture and physical attributes between Filipinos and Latinos so in drawing Encanto's Colombian family, Sevilla felt right at home. "I'm drawing a lot of inspiration from my mom. There's a scene in the film where Abuela's late for something and she's touching her earring and fixing her hair. And people will see that and they'll see Abuela, but it's actually my mom."

Apart from Encanto: A Magical World, Sevilla's other animation credits include 'Raya and the Last Dragon,' 'Smallfoot,' and 'Spies in Disguise.'

"Animation is about performance and acting. So I'm always looking for an authentic way to portray a character... Growing up in the Philippines, I'm always drawing inspiration from my family and my friends who are Filipino. As much as I can, I try to sprinkle that into my work."