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A Tribute to Animation for International Animation Day

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They’re more than just movies.

They’re more than just characters.

They’re more than just stories.

They’re us.

They’re pieces of our hearts, of our dreams, of our lives.

In the twinkle of every eye, whether hand drawn or computer generated or sculpted from clay, we see a bit of ourselves as well as who we want to be.

These fictional characters and their stories teach us how to be real. How to be human.

When the sands of Agrabah danced across my screen and I saw Princess Jasmine for the first time as a young girl, I saw myself in her raven hair and dark eyes. Her teal costume was practically glued to my body after that day. But now I see past the physical similarities and recognize myself in her determination and desire for adventure– for a whole new world.

Jasmine taught me, and many others, to be strong. Judy from Zootopia emphasized the power of positivity and equality. Po from Kung Fu Panda proved that you are capable of so much more than you think. Hiro from Big Hero 6 showed the world that revenge is not the answer. Tiana from Princess and the Frog illustrated the importance of hard work and belief in your dreams. Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon conveyed the power of kindness and understanding toward the misunderstood. These animated characters and many more reach out from the silver screen and touch us in ways that go beyond what many understand.

Of course, these characters and their stories would not be possible without animators. These artists, these storytellers, bring to life the fictional people whom we adore line by line. From a blank page and a pencil, an animator’s characters are born. It is the animator’s innate talent to breathe life into colors and shapes, and for this, I have always admired them greatly. I look up to all animators, writers, directors, and producers, who combine their passions and skills to create beautiful masterpieces for me to enjoy time and time again.

So here’s to animation.

Here’s to the animators.

Here’s to you and me, the animation addicts.

Here’s to every film, show, short, or otherwise that have changed our lives.

Happy International Animation Day.

Which animated films have changed your life?

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About Hannah Ortega

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Hannah found Star Wars, Disney, and Marvel, and a fangirl force was awakened inside her. Hannah’s favorite animated movies are Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, and Aladdin. Movies such as these inspire her writing, which is her biggest passion. Hannah is an aspiring author and journalist, as well as a Christian, a horseback rider, and a cross country runner.