Waking Sleeping Beauty
DIRECTED BY DON HAHN
Could you imagine Walt Disney World without The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, or The Lion King? By the early 1980s, Disney’s fabled Animation Studios had fallen on hard times due to a series of box office flops and artistic conflicts. But in1984, dreams came true when Roy Disney, Walt’s nephew, hired Paramount’s Michael Eisner and Warner Bros’ Frank Wells to run the company. Eisner felt the ailing animation department needed a jolt and brought in Paramount executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, and the Walt Disney Animation Studio would go on to make film history. The artistic renaissance and celebration lasted for 10 years, but behind the scenes it wasn’t always pretty as giant egos clashed over creative and financial decisions. Animators from the day help tell this remarkable documentary’s inside story, including fears of cost overruns and failed projects, at times releasing tension with mocking artistic cartoons of themselves and their bosses. WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY’S director/Disney producer/former animator Don Hahn showcases brilliant footage including home videos, internal memos, and candid interviews, with all the key players—even those who famously left such as Tim Burton, Don Bluth, and John Lasseter.