The history of beautiful animated films is no perfect fairytale. Sure, now we have Finding Nemo, Coraline, Kung Fu Panda, and The Princess and the Frog. And yeah, it all stems from the rich heritage of golden age classics, like early Mickey Mouse reels, Snow White, Looney Tunes, and Sleeping Beauty. But the late 1970s brought a “dark age,” when animation studios were shut down, artists fired, projects canceled, and the medium itself was thought to be dead. That’s where the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty steps in, telling the true story of how animation, and the love for the art, was brought back to life by a group including Roy Disney (of Disney family fame), John Lasseter (Pixar, Toy Story, The Incredibles, Up, Wall-E, etc.) Tim Burton (Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman, Alice in Wonderland, etc.), and Don Bluth (An American Tail, The Land Before Time, The Secret of NIMH, etc.) and dozens of others. Together, they brought us the Disney Renaissance, revived the entire industry with new classics like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. On March 26th, in select theaters, you’ll get to see the story for yourself. But for now, check out the trailer!
Waking Sleeping Beauty is no fairytale. It is a story of clashing egos, out of control budgets, escalating tensions… and one of the most extraordinary creative periods in animation history. Director Don Hahn and producer Peter Schneider, key players at Walt Disney Studios Feature Animation department during the mid1980s, offer a behind—the—magic glimpse of the turbulent times the Animation Studio was going through and the staggering output of hits that followed over the next ten years. Artists polarized between the hungry young innovators and the old guard who refused to relinquish control, mounting tensions due to a string of box office flops, and warring studio heads create the backdrop for this fascinating story told with a unique and candid perspective from those that were there. Through interviews, internal memos, home movies, and a cast of characters featuring Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Roy Disney, alongside an amazing array of talented artists that includes Don Bluth, John Lasseter, and Tim Burton, Waking Sleeping Beauty shines a light on Disney Animation’s darkest hours, greatest joys and its improbable renaissance.