Don Hahn’s fascinating look at Disney studio’s animation revival of the mid-1980s will premiere at the Toronto International Festival in September. Titled Waking Sleeping Beauty, this informative documentary focuses on how artistic and popular hits such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King helped rebuild the studio’s image and led to the renaissance in feature animation.
Hahn, the Oscar-winning producer of The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and producer Pete Schneider use their insider knowledge to create a fascinating and candid perspective of what happened in the creative ranks set against the dynamic tensions among the top leadership, Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Roy Disney. The film uses a wide selection of interviews, home movies, internal memos and unseen footage to deliver a unique look at the studio’s goings-on during this period.
Toronto International Film Festival’s documentary programmer Thom Powers notes, ‘Waking Sleeping Beauty celebrates the rich history of Disney animation and honors the many writers, artists, and composers who created the Disney magic. The treatment is so thorough that it includes key figures who famously left Disney such as Don Bluth, John Lasseter, and Tim Burton. At one time, children imagined that Walt Disney’s signature meant a film was the creation of one man. This is a more grown-up portrayal that reveals the collaborative, often contentious, experience in all its complexity.’
After screening in various festivals, Waking Sleeping Beauty will be released in theaters in the spring of 2010.