The Swan Princess 25th Anniversary Celebration

Princess anniversary celebrations seem to be an ongoing theme this year, but nothing can compare to the one I experienced last night. I was invited to the 25th anniversary celebration of The Swan Princess as a social media influencer. This event was everything a Swan Princess party could be and more. From the sprawling pink carpet outside the W Hollywood Hotel to the ice swan sculpture in the lobby, no stone was left unturned for this massive celebration of the 1994 animated classic. The elegant reception lasted for roughly two hours before moving to the Arclight Hollywood for a 4K Ultra HD remastered screening of the movie preceded by a speech and award ceremony from producer Seldon Young. Cast, crew, and fans from all over the world blended together in their Sunday best to celebrate their love of The Swan Princess.

Reporters, videographers, and cosplayers lined the pink carpet as Seldon conducted interviews for the press. The carpet was pink in honor of lead actress Michelle Nicastro, who starred as Princess Odette in first three Swan Princess movies and sadly lost her battle with breast cancer in 2010. At the check-in table, volunteers handed out badges and complimentary commemorative cells featuring Odette and Derrick over a castle background emblazoned with the date and location of the event in gold foil. I have never seen so many people cosplaying the same character at a single event. While there were one or two Prince Dereks walking around, nearly everyone woman in attendance dressed up as some form of Princess Odette. I did more of a soft cosplay by wearing a white dress that subtly resembled Odette's, while my friend Amy wore the black version of that her imposter had on during the ball. She wasn't the only one with that idea. Even the hostess who conducted the Q&A and interviews for the YouTube live stream got in on the fun and dressed up as the "black swan" while she spoke to the cast and crew.

The fun continued upstairs where a full banquet was being held in the movie's honor. Near the elevators, a glass swan was on display in front of a sign-in board that featured an art piece from the movie's supervising animator Steven Gordon that was created exclusively for the 25th anniversary. The banquet was decorated like a wedding with Swan Princess-patterned fabrics surrounding the columns and flowers garlands draping the ceiling. A life-sized cardboard backdrop of Odette and Derek was available for photo ops as well as a traditional photo booth. Dinner was served with a complimentary buffet, open bar, and decorative cakes that were judged in a contest later that evening. Each table had a centerpiece featuring an original sculpture of a character from the movie. There was also a wall of original cells from the film and a table where two artists drew sketches for the attendees. I spent a good chunk of the evening talking to the exuberant Talia Ellis, who drew a sketch of Jean-Bob for my friend and Odette for me. Both artists were hand-picked by Steven Gordon to entertain the guests with their drawings and conversation.


The screening at the Arclight ran a little long due to Seldon's many surprise announcements. He gave special attention to fans who had traveled from other countries and posted tribute videos for the movie on YouTube. Then he discussed what a massive impact the film had on both its fans and creators asthe last animated movie with hand-painted art cels. Afterward, he presented the "Swanscar" awards to some of the most influential people who worked on the film. These limited edition foil trophies of Odette transforming into a swan were crafted exclusively for the event. The final surprise was a performance of "Far Longer Than Forever" featuring Liz Callaway, the original singing voice for Princess Odette. The 4K presentation of the movie was a vast improvement over the initial DVD release. Similar to the 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray of The Little Mermaid, there were a few shots where the separation between the painted cels and backgrounds was visible. Afterward, the hostess sat with the producers, screenwriter, and director of the movie for a quick Q&A where they discussed their favorite characters and how they met.

I am so grateful to The Swan Princess team for allowing me to be part of such a magical event. The Swan Princess was a staple of my childhood. Last night, I had an unforgettable experience mingling with the crew that brought it to life. Even though I felt a little out of place at such a fancy event, the cast and crew did everything in their power to make each guest feel welcome. When I told director Richard Rich that I am an aspiring screenwriter, he introduced me to screenwriter Brian Nissen. We also met actress Adrian Zahiri, who played Young Odette, and she was absolutely lovely as well. The whole evening feels like it was a magical dream dream, but I now have this lovely commemorative cel to remind me that it really happened. It's great to see that the team that put the movie together is still going strong after all these years.


legogirl8 said…
Im so happy for you that you were able so experience this! It must have been such a magical evening <3

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