SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A San Diegan is breaking barriers through his Pixar animated film, “Float.”
Bobby Rubio is the writer and director of the short film, which is about a young boy who is different because he can float. It is also a personal story, inspired by Rubio’s own relationship with his son, who is on the autism spectrum.
“It’s a human story,” Rubio said during an interview from his Bay Area home. “I think that's why everyone can relate to it. [It is also] a story about being an outsider and I think we've all been there.”
Rubio has been with Pixar for 14 years, previously working at Pixar and Nickelodeon. “Float” is the first Pixar animation to feature Filipino lead characters. Rubio said it almost didn’t happen.
“I think I had this unconscious bias that the characters have to be white,” Rubio said. It was his higher-ups that told him otherwise. They asked how his son would feel seeing a story inspired by his family with characters that did not look like him.
“[It] hit me because it wasn't about me anymore. It was about my son and how he would feel about it,” Rubio said. “I didn't want him to feel that he wasn't worthy.”
Rubio grew up in San Diego and went to Morse High School. He said his love for art grew in the sixth grade thanks to his teacher Mr. Edwards.
“He allowed us to create our own comic books and draw in class as long as we had our grades up,” he said. “That was my introduction. I created a superhero, a Filipino American superhero. I named him ‘The Charger’ after the San Diego Chargers!”
While the Chargers are not representing San Diego anymore, Rubio still is.
“If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I'm trying to create a Filipino American superhero. And I want to set it in San Diego,” he said.
With hate incidents and crimes against the Asian community on the rise during the pandemic, he hopes art can be a form of healing.
“We are known as the invisible minority because we just blend in,” Rubio said. “I think now with the way things are going in the world, it's time to speak up and step out of the background.”
In solidarity with the AAPI community, Pixar released “Float” on YouTube in February.
“Our stories are important. Our stories resonate with the world,” Rubio said.