Former chief creative officer John Lasseter is leaving the company at the end of the year and Disney has announced who will be taking over his roles at both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has announced that Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee will be taking on the chief creative officer roles at both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation. Of the pair, Disney said in a statement that they “will have creative oversight of all films and associated projects of their respective studios,” and will report directly to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
Jennifer Lee joined Disney Animation in 2011 as the co-writer of Wreck It Ralph. She went on to write and direct (with Chris Buck) Frozen, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature as well as bring in over $1.28 billion dollars worldwide making it the highest grossing animated film of all time. She is the executive producer on the upcoming Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2 and will return to write and co-direct the sequel to Frozen.
Pete Docter is the one of the original employees at Pixar, joining the company in 1990. He has written the stories for Toy Story 1 and 2 along with directing Monsters Inc and the Oscar Winning animated features Up and Inside Out.
“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 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.” Horn said in a statement.
Lee released a statement saying; “I am deeply grateful to everyone at Walt Disney Animation Studios and The Walt Disney Company for this opportunity,” she said. “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.”
Docter released his own statement saying; “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.”