Following accusations of misconduct, that he later conceded to, the former chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and DisneyToon Studios Jon Lasseter will be leaving The Walt Disney Company at the end of the year after a brief consultancy period.
Now, Disney has unveiled that Peter Docter and Jennifer Lee will be named Chief Creative Officers of Disney’s animations division and serve in his place.
On the decision to elevate Docter and Lee, Alan Horn Chairman of the Walt Disney studios said:
“Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are two of the most gifted filmmakers and storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with,” said Horn. “Pete, the genius 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 to lead us into the future.”
Docter is an eight-time Oscar nominee who has been with Pixar since 1995's Toy Story where he served as lead animator and also holds a story credit. Docter then worked on the story for subsequent Pixar films Toy Story 2 and Wall-E as well as writing and directing the film's Monsters Inc, Up and Inside Out. Docter had this to say about the appointment:
“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 28 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.”
Lee is a relative newcomer to the world of animation, serving as a writer on Wreck-It-Ralph in 2012 before writing and directing the current highest grossing animated film of all time, Frozen. That film also made her not only the first female director at Disney but the first woman director to earn more than $1 billion at the box-office. Lee also released a statement when the news broke:
“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 95-year legacy for future generations.”
What do you think? Are you confident in Lee and Docter's abilities? What are your favorite films from the pair? Leave your thoughts below.