Brenda Chapman - Life and Career

Life and Career

A native of the state of Illinois, Chapman studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). During her summer breaks, she began her professional career working in syndicated television animation. After graduating with a BFA in character animation, she was a story trainee on Disney's animated film The Little Mermaid. She was one of several key story artists on Disney's Beauty and the Beast, where she worked closely with future Disney director Roger Allers to define many of the key sequences and motifs used in the film. She later served as head of story for the Disney animated feature film, The Lion King.

Chapman also worked in story and development for other Disney animated films such as The Rescuers Down Under and The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Fantasia 2000. She joined DreamWorks Animation at its inception in the fall of 1994.

Chapman was one of a team of three directors who worked on 1998's The Prince of Egypt, along with Steve Hickner and Simon Wells. She became the first woman to land a directing role in an animated feature by a major studio; three others had helmed independent efforts before her (Lotte Reiniger of The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Joy Batchelor of Animal Farm, and Arna Selznick of The Care Bears Movie).

She also worked on Chicken Run, and several projects in development while at DreamWorks.

Chapman moved to Pixar in 2003, where she had a brief stint on Cars before beginning development on and directing Brave. Chapman conceived the project and was announced as the director of the film, making her Pixar's first female director. In October 2010, however, she was replaced by Mark Andrews following creative disagreements. There were rumors that she subsequently left Pixar, but she remained on staff until shortly after the release of Brave, and started work as a consultant at Lucasfilm at the end of July 2012. In January 2013, she will return to her old employer, DreamWorks Animation.

Other credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Shrek, WALL-E, Ratatouille, Up and Toy Story 3.

She is married to director Kevin Lima (Enchanted).

Read more about this topic:  Brenda Chapman

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