Walt Disney: How “Encanto” Inspired a Global Network of New and Diverse Vocal Stories…

Encanto tells the story of the Madrigals, an amazing family who live in a wonderful and charming place called an Encanto. Each child received a magical gift that is unique to them, that is to say with the exception of Mirabel (voiced by Stéphanie Beatriz). But after the family’s home is threatened, Mirabel may be their only hope. The voice cast also includes Adassa, María Cecilia Botero, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Mauro Castillo, Angie Cepeda, Jessica Darrow, Rhenzy Feliz, Carolina Gaitán, Diane Guererro, John Leguizamo, Maluma and Wilmer Valderrama, and the film itself is a celebration of the culture, diversity, music and people of Colombia.

While voice dubbing for global markets is standard practice in the industry, Disney Studios Content is committed to further diversifying its voice dubbing talents around the world. With this in mind, several advances have been made for the 60th feature film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Encanto, which is released in theaters around the world today. A Spanish-language version of the film, with an all-Colombian distribution, is shown in around 30 countries in Latin America and Spain. Much of the dubbing was recorded and produced in Colombia and features voice actors who are all new to Disney.

Berenice Esquivel, Production and Creative Manager, Disney Character Voices Latin America, has led efforts to give each character the best possible voice while striving to be as authentic as possible. She first hired a consultant, Andrea Bravo Puerto, with whom she had worked almost two decades earlier at Disney Channel (Latin America). “She was my eyes in Colombia for some Disney Channel productions that I was doing at the time,” Esquivel says. “She was perfect for Encantobecause she worked all over the country. ”

Esquivel and Bravo Puerto created a working group, working with a translator to interpret the script for several weeks. “We wanted to add flavor with Colombian phrases and typical words,” Esquivel explains. “Andrea brought a lot of material, like pictures and readings, so that we could learn more about the accents from each part of the country.”

“It was a really interesting experience,” adds Esquivel. “In Latin America, all the actors and actresses take courses to learn to speak in neutral Spanish in order to obtain contracts for commercials, soap operas, etc. It was a challenge for us, because they are never asked to ‘use theirs native accents in productions. At first they were so weird in the booth, because for them it wasn’t a normal thing. They are trained to do other accents. ”

Equally important to the filmmakers was that every line of dialogue and voice represents Colombia’s rich diversity. “We’ve done so much work to make sure we celebrate and showcase the beauty of Colombian culture,” said producer Yvett Merino.

The casting for this film took place during the pandemic, which posed challenges for both open and in-person casting calls. But the team persevered, finding the right fit for each role. In fact, it was the Esquivel team that found Botero, who voices Alma alias Abuela in the original and Spanish versions of Encanto. “We looked high and low for someone to play our Abuela,” Merino recalls. “Together with our casting director, Jamie Roberts, we reached out to the Latin American team to see if they knew anyone. We looked at their distribution list because they know the Latin market so well, and they came up with the name María Cecilia. She really brings out Abuela’s sternness, but there’s also such warmth in her voice. ”

As Disney Studios Content seeks to tell more inclusive stories, it strives to build and strengthen its network of diverse voice-dubbing talent across the globe. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; it is something that needs to be addressed in every single market, given the demographic differences in each country. For example, in Italy, a Colombian consultant was hired to advise on pronunciations and oversee the dub. In France, a Colombian musician, Julian Ortiz, voices Félix (Mirabel’s uncle) and a famous Colombian conductor in France, Juan Arbelaez, voices Agustín (Mirabel’s father). They gave advice on pronunciation, while intentional and deliberate training was offered to help the two new voice actors.

Through focused efforts, Disney is leading the charge in helping to build and expand the dubbing community around the world. For example, in Poland, a Colombian sound engineer was hired as an advisor, with Encanto scoring his first theatrical credit. In addition, Peruvian and Cuban singers were used for the dub choirs. In Germany, three roles were voiced by Latin American actors and four actors new to Disney were hired; in Portugal, two roles feature Latin American actors (Abuela and Julieta, Mirabel’s mother); and in the Czech Republic, a Uruguayan actor plays Felix and a Latin American engineer has been hired as an advisor.

“This is the first time that Disney Animation has created a story that focuses on a Latin family, and I’m so excited people can see each other and relate to the Madrigals,” Merino said. “This is the movie I wish I had as a little girl. It doesn’t matter where you are from or what language you see this movie in, I hope you and your family will see yourself there.”


The Walt Disney Company published this content on November 24, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on 24 November 2021 09:29:11 PM UTC.

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