Hampton Roads Talent Create Viral “Encanto” YouTube Videos
Words and Images Courtesy of Philip Odango of Canvas Cosplay.
A community of over two dozen diverse actors, performers, filmmakers and photographers came together to celebrate the joy of Disney’s hit film “Encanto” in a viral multimedia project. Conceived by Norfolk director, producer and costume maker Philip Odango, the Encanto Cosplay Project highlights multiple locations and local talent – many of whom are performers of color and Latin descent – throughout Hampton Roads, including Norfolk Botanical Gardens, The Hermitage Museum and Gardens, and Stage Right Lighting. "Hampton Roads is filled with diverse talent and organizations," says Odango. "Representation matters, and our communities are filled with joyful stories of creativity and passion, and the people who live them."
Odango collaborated with Disney’s Encanto film production designer Lorelay Bové and lead costume designer Neysa Bové for insight on the animated costume designs. He toured the backstage of Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández at The Sandler Center for the Performing Arts to study the Latin dance costumes. Odango handmade over 30 costumes in his studios in Norfolk at the NEON Arts District, and inside Macarthur Center at artist cooperative For All Handkind, through the support of JOANN Fabrics and Fabric Hut.
The Encanto Cosplay Project has received positive responses from the Encanto filmmakers:
Odango mostly notably created the Dolores Madrigal costume worn by the real Encanto voice actor Adassa to comic conventions.
For many of the Latin performers, the Encanto Cosplay Project is a way to reconnect with their own Latin heritage.
For performer Angelica Michelle (Mirabel), "As a person of color adopted from Colombia into a white family and white environment, it was easy to grow up with identity issues. Encanto’s themes of belonging, family, and the lesson that “you are more than your gifts” is one that I needed to hear."
Says performer Aila Shai Castane (Dolores), “Blackness is deeply woven into the fabric of Latinidad. Latinos have been Black. We've been here. And our contributions to Latinx culture will always be present. Dolores' character is affirming in so many ways, and embodying her - even for one day - lets me know that I am seen and taking up space is something I will never shy away from. Because little Aila deserves it. Present-day Aila deserves it. And future Aila deserves the inclusive world I have been building and continue to build by simply being me without apology."
Says performer Sarah Storminger (Luisa), "As a white-passing female with Latin roots, I was also thrilled to see the variety of skin tones, hair types, and body shapes represented throughout the character design.”
Filmmaker, producer and Power Ranger actor Michael Copon adds, "Our foundation in life is built on stories… memories from our families past, amazing moments we currently are living, and the legacy we leave behind… I love sharing moments with such a huge family because they have built the best stories I’ve had in my life thus far!"
“What Else Can I Do?” - Over 5.3 million views on YouTube
“Waiting on a Miracle” - Nearly 2 million views on YouTube
“Surface Pressure” - Over 35k views on YouTube
“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” - Just launched
Meet many of the Encanto Cosplay Project performers will be attending Tidewater Comic Con next weekend on Saturday May 14 at the Encanto-themed Photo Booth.