It’s been a long time coming, but the day is almost here. KVibe Productions’ first full-length feature film, Walt Before Mickey, is just about set for release, and there’s no shortage of excitement around here about it.
However, it may not be the story most people think of when they first hear the name, Walt Disney. This isn’t about his successful empire and global success, but about the years and years of his attempting to step up and change things, only to be pushed back down again and again.
Whereas Saving Mr. Banks took audiences back to the 60’s, when Walt Disney was already Walt Disney, reigning over his kingdom and looking for his next hit, Walt Before Mickey returns to the iconic visionary’s earlier days, when he didn’t know what a hit even was yet, much less how to create one.
The film is based on the book, Walt Before Mickey: Disney’s Early Years, 1919-1928, by Timothy S. Susanis. It takes the story all the way back to Disney’s childhood in Missouri where he first shows signs of the passion for animation that would drive his success, though his father doesn’t seem to approve.
We follow Disney to his first animation bullpen in Kansas City, and through a series of endeavors that quickly meet with failure, eventually driving him west in the 1920s to Los Angeles, the home of his future empire.
Though it’s a biopic and not some Disney fairytale, there’s no shortage of villains. Investors with bad intentions and greedy opportunists challenge young Walt every step of the way as we see his business prowess may not have matched his creativity, at least not at first.
That’s what makes this such a special film. Audiences tend to equate Walt Disney with one of his cartoons: fun and flawless. However, Walt Before Mickey proves that wasn’t the case at all.
Director Khoa Le and the entire KVibe Productions team was so proud to be a part of this kind of project. Imagine getting the chance to portray a legend as a human being, with the same kinds of troubles and doubts that anyone would have in similar situations.
There’s a certain responsibility that comes along with this kind of material. You don’t want to make such sweeping changes that the man’s life itself is a far cry from the truth.
However, there’s also a general responsibility to the audience to be considered. Rhythm and pace, peaks and valleys; these things still needed to be present for Walt Before Mickey to work successfully.
That’s the tricky part when doing the film adaptation of a book of any kind. It’s even trickier when the book is about a real person. Having said that, the challenge is part of the incentive for KVibe Productions and, let’s be honest, it’s Walt friggin’ Disney we’re talking about!
Imagine the thoughts running through our minds when first confronted with the project:
Walt Disney at rock bottom, rifling through a garbage can looking for food, a tiny mouse peaking out of his front pocket.
Walt Disney calling home, asking his parents for money.
Walt Disney asking his employee not to cash her check so that their studio could survive another week.
Walt Disney clearly scared about losing his brother.
Any audience yearns to see their icons in identifiable states of mind. These are the kinds of moments that any film and video production studio craves to get their hands on.
We’re no different here, and when the original director abandoned Walt Before Mickey along with the director of photography, and cast and crew took a 3-week hiatus, fate may have been intervening, unbeknownst to us.
When KVibe’s own Khoa Le got the call, he jumped at the opportunity to get involved. He was able to fly out to Orlando in between snow storms in New Jersey, and he immediately got the show back on the road.
It wasn’t easy, as the crew was a little demoralized when he arrived, but he managed to get them on board with his vision for the rest of the project.
Khoa saw a parallel in the film’s troubled production and the story they were ultimately trying to tell. Walt’s seemingly endless struggles to get his studio off the ground seemed to mirror the struggles to complete production on Walt Before Mickey, the film trying to tell that very story!
All that hard work and persistence eventually paid off. Walt Before Mickey gives the kind of inside look into a legend that allows audiences to see him in a whole new light. People can relate to someone’s behavior or ideas, personally, when they have a better idea of where the motivation and inspiration came from.
This is part of what made Walt Before Mickey so enjoyable for KVibe Productions itself. We got a chance to gain a deeper understanding of the genius media mogul ourselves, before being tasked with relaying it to the audience.
We talk a lot around here about our ability to show people things in a different light, and we believe we accomplished that on this project once again. People will get a glimpse of a different Walt Disney, not the old man sitting on the throne of an empire, living off his creations, but the man who hadn’t imagined what would become history yet, truly the Walt before Mickey.
Check out the official trailer below to see for yourself how we were able to portray Walt Disney like you’ve never seen him before, and visit the official Walt Before Mickey site to pre-order your DVD copy of the film.
KVibe Productions is a full-service video production company. Whether it’s a product video production, a corporate video, or a commercial production, KVibe offers the total package of multimedia services from development through distribution.