Posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
The Toronto International Film Festival has added five new documentaries to the line-up, including Ahead of Time, Once Upon a Time Proletarian, Stolen, and The Sunshine Boy. Read more about those films on indiewire. But the film I’m really looking forward to is Waking Sleeping Beauty, the directorial debut of Oscar-nominated Disney producer Don Hahn (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast).
Here is the official plot synopsis:
This isn’t a fairy tale, but rather the true story of how the Disney animation team went from stagnation in the mid-1980s to a startling rebirth with a staggering output of hits – Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and more – over a ten year period. Director Don Hahn, who was a key contributor on many of these works, brings an insider’s perspective to the film.
Hahn has called the film “an incredible almost Shakespearian story of an era that started with CalArts in the 1970s and ended with Lion King, the biggest box office success in history to that time. The talent of today’s industry: Lasseter, Musker, Bird, Clements, Keane, Selick, Burton, Rees, Kroyer, Bluth, all of them came from that era.”
From what I understand, its the first time that Disney has allowed an honest documentary chronicling the Disney creative process since the infamous 2002 documentary The Sweatbox, which aside from a couple film festival screenings, has never been seen by the public. The Sweatbox was an uncensored account of the troubles of making The Emperor’s New Groove. You can read more about the infamous doc on Jim Hill’s site.
While I don’t expect this film to be as hard hitting as The Sweatbox, I do think Hahn’s film will present an honest account of the animation golden age. By the way, if anyone has a copy of The Sweatbox (extremely doubtful), please shoot me an e-mail, as I’d love to see it.