Destino (the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian word for "destiny") was storyboarded by Disney studio artist John Hench and artist Salvador Dalí for eight months in late 1945 and 1946; however, financial concerns caused Disney to cease production. The Walt Disney Company, then Walt Disney Studios, was plagued by many financial woes in the World War II era. Hench compiled a short animation test of about 18 seconds in the hopes of rekindling Disney's interest in the project, but the production was no longer deemed financially viable and put on indefinite hiatus.
In 1999, Walt Disney's nephew Roy Edward Disney, while working on Fantasia 2000, unearthed the dormant project and decided to bring it back to life. Disney Studios France, the company's small Parisian production department, was brought on board to complete the project. The short was produced by Baker Bloodworth and directed by French animator Dominique Monfrey in his first directorial role. A team of approximately 25 animators deciphered Dalí and Hench's cryptic storyboards (with a little help from the journals of Dalí's wife Gala Dalí and guidance from Hench himself), and finished Destino's production. The end result is mostly traditional animation, including Hench's original footage, but it also contains some computer animation. The 18 second original footage that is included in the finished product is the segment with the two tortoises.
The finished product was meant to be part of the cancelled film Fantasia 2006 but when the short was completed after the film's cancellation, Destino, as well as three other completed segments, was changed to a short subject.
Destino premiered on June 2, 2003 at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in Annecy, France. The six-minute short follows the love story of Chronos and the ill-fated love he has for a mortal female. The story continues as the female dances through surreal scenery inspired by Dalí's paintings. There is little dialogue, but the sound track features a song by the Mexican composer, Armando Dominguez.
Destino was released theatrically in a very limited release with the film Calendar Girls as well as Triplets of Belleville. As of 2008, Disney has confirmed releasing the short with "their next feature release as a short" which would mean, at this date, Destino will accompany the theatrical release of Walt Disney Pictures' next release Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
The short film was very well received; it won many awards and was nominated for a 2003 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.
The film was shown as part of the exhibition Dali & Film at Tate Modern from June to September, 2007, as part of the Dali exhibit at the LA County Museum of Art from October, 2007 to January 2008, and at an exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art called Dalí: Painting and Film from June to September 2008.
The Disney DVD "True-Life Adventures, Volume 3" has a trailer for Destino and mentions a DVD release. In 2007, the True-Life Adventure series was suspended and those titles previously announced were moved to the Walt Disney Treasures line. Destino was subsequently scheduled for release on November 11, 2008.
From the January 20, 2008 press release: Destino began in 1946 as a collaboration between Walt Disney and the famed surrealist painter Salvador Dali. A first-hand example of Disney's interest in avant garde and experimental work in animation, Destino was to be awash with Dali's iconic melting clocks, marching ants and floating eyeballs. However, Destino was not completed at that time. In 2003 it was rediscovered by Walt’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, who took on the challenge of bringing the creation of these two great artists to fruition. In addition to the completed Destino, this exciting addition to the Walt Disney Treasures line also includes an all-new feature-length documentary that examines the surprising partnership between Dali and Disney plus two new featurettes; "The Disney That Almost Was," an examination of the studio's unfinished projects; and "Encounters with Walt," which addresses the surprisingly diverse group of celebrities and artists who were attracted to Walt Disney's early work.
A June 2008 press release for the Walt Disney Treasures line revealed Destino is now being excluded from a 2008 "Treasures" release. According to "Treasures" host Leonard Maltin, the film is still likely to see an eventual DVD release, yet not necessarily within the "Treasures" moniker. An August 2008 Disney press release stated Destino is now due for a 2010 DVD release and "will be available to own for the first time along with an all-new feature-length documentary that examines the surprising partnership between Dali and Disney."