Jury Coordination and Notes

Childhood Memories of Favorite Disney Movies by Raven Devanney, age 16

There are certain things from childhood we remember. Events, people or things that we can recall and somehow stick with us for life no matter how insignificant they may seem. I have the most random memories from when I was younger, and among those memories I find films scattered about.

I was the type of kid who watched everything. Sure, the Teletubbies were a regular occurrence on my TV, but my parents began showing me classics from an early age. I watched documentaries about the strangest things, definitely topics most 6-year-olds wouldn’t usually consider entertainment. But out of all the films that I have ever watched, classic Disney animations have stuck with me the most from my childhood.

I’m not sure what it is about good old fashion animations, but I will always have time to sit down and watch “Alice in Wonderland,” “Snow White,” “The Aristocats” and so on. I think what makes movies special are the feelings we happen to associate them with, and remembering feelings that you had when you were little is wonderful. The cinema is supposed to be an escape of some sorts, taking you away from the real world. So when I curl up with a good Disney movie it transports me for a brief time back to when everything was so simple. Having a very hectic life that I’m assuming will only get more chaotic with age, an escape, or almost a time machine to simpler times is a life saver.

I remember watching “101 Dalmatians” religiously every time I visited my grandmother. I had every toy to go along with the film and I have the fondest of memories of my grandmother and I playing with our little plastic Dalmatians while watching the film and eating micro-waved popcorn on her fuzzy grey carpet. I also have a deep love for “Lady and the Tramp.” I have always found that film so sweet. I even named my cocker spaniel “Lady” after the leading pup from the film. I had Lady since I was 5-years-old and she traveled the country with me, comforted me when my little heart felt broken, and of course watched dozens of films with me. She passed away earlier this year after a fantastic 11 years with me, so “Lady and the Tramp” is even more sentimental now.  One of my favorite Disney films that probably doesn’t come to mind when you think of Disney is “The Brave Little Toaster.” I remember that film terrified me when I was growing up but, as a child whose best friend was the vampire that lived in my closet, I enjoyed films that scared me. So “The Brave Little Toaster” to this day is on my list of obscure favorite movies (and for some reason it still creeps me out a little).

Because of these memories, and the many others that I associate with just about every Disney film out there, they will always be special to me even when I reach my adult years. I think that’s what makes any film special and what makes it a classic. I know that now, we are constantly bombarded with high tech special effects and stunning visuals, so it’s easy to forget where the film industry started. Even with animated films, things are so much more advanced. You never really see good old fashioned sketch art on the screen any more. It’s always the digital images that you’d see in “Frozen” or “Toy Story.” I think that because of what I’ve grown up watching, I’ll always prefer to watch “Aladdin” or “The Lion King” over a newer animation.

Classic Disney animations will always have a soft spot in my heart, and I know everyone out there has a film, or films, that take them back to the good old days. Whether it’s a Disney movie or an obscure foreign film, childhood cartoon, indie documentary or the Teletubbies, there’s something that warms everyone’s heart. What’s yours?

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