Disney Announces New Chief Creative Officers for Disney Animation and Pixar
Yesterday Disney announced Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter would be assuming control of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixer Animation Studios respectively, succeeding John Lasseter who announced his departure from Disney earlier this month.
In announcing their appointments, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said:
“Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are two of the most gifted filmmakers and storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Pete, the creative force behind Up, Inside Out, and Monsters, Inc., has been an integral part of Pixar almost since the beginning and is a huge part of its industry-leading success. Jenn, in bringing her bold vision to the boundary-breaking Frozen, has helped infuse Disney Animation with a new and exciting perspective. Each of them embodies the unique spirit, culture, and values of these renowned animation studios, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them lead us into the future.”
Lee joined Walt Disney Animation in 2011 as co-writer on Wreck-It Ralph, before going on to write and co-direct Disney’s mega-hit Frozen (along with writing its recent Broadway adaptation). In addition to her new role as Chief Creative Officer for Walt Disney Animation Studios, Lee is currently in production of Frozen 2, which she will again write and co-direct along with original co-director Chris Buck, as well as being a member of Disney Animation’s Story Trust, and an executive producer on this year’s Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.
In her own statement she said:
“I am deeply grateful to everyone at Walt Disney Animation Studios and The Walt Disney Company for this opportunity. Animation is the most collaborative art form in the world, and it is with the partnership of my fellow filmmakers, artists, and innovators that we look ahead to the future. My hope is to support the incredible talent we have, find new voices, and work together to tell original stories. The great films of Disney Animation – the films I loved as a kid and my daughter has grown up loving – are magical, timeless, and full of heart, and it is our goal to create films that carry on and grow this ninety five year legacy for future generations.”
Docter is one of the original employees of Pixar Animation Studios, joining the company in 1990 and serving as a supervising animator on the original Toy Story. During his time with Pixar he has directed three movies, won two Oscars for Best Animated Feature for Up and Inside Out, and served as part of the company’s creative Brain Trust. In addition to his own movies, Docter also executive produced Brave and Monsters University.
In his statement, Docter said:
“I am excited and humbled to be asked to take on this role. It is not something I take lightly; making films at Pixar has been my chronic obsession since I started here twenty eight years ago. I am fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented people on the planet, and together we will keep pushing animation in new directions, using the latest technology to tell stories we hope will surprise and delight audiences around the world.”
Both Lee and Docter will report directly to Disney Chairman Alan Horn. Andrew Millstein and Jim Morris will remain as President of Walt Disney Animation Studios and President of Pixar Animation Studios respectively, overseeing the business affairs of the companies whilst Lee and Docter oversee the creative sides.
Both Disney Animation and Pixar have seen incredible success under Lasseter’s guidance, and this marks an exciting new chapter for both companies. As an animation fan, I’m delighted that Disney have chosen to appoint individual CCOs for the two studios, and I’m looking forward to seeing Disney and Pixar each finding their own direction under Lee and Docter.