Why Jennifer Lee inspires me

This is for my Arts Award Bronze on my art inspiration. I chose Jennifer Lee who is the first official Disney director and inspiring role model!

Why Jennifer Lee inspires me

I chose Jennifer Lee as my art inspiration. I researched her career, life and work from different resources on the internet and I learnt that, in 2018, Jennifer Lee became Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios - replacing Disney Pixar icon John Lasseter who was a pioneer and worked on successful films such as Toy Story and Cars.

The reason why Jennifer Lee inspires me is because she is the first official female director of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ theatre feature animated films - 76 years on from the first Disney feature-film in 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She was a writer before a director which, in animation is unusual because usually in the animation world, you would work hard as an animator for years before getting handed a major project. It’s amazing because it only took Lee one project, Wreck-It-Ralph to gain trust of major figures at WDAS and she proved her worth on the script by shaping the dynamics in the story and adding complexities to the characters - which greatly contributed to the films success. 

Lee is also the first woman to solely write a screenplay for a Disney animated film since Beauty and the Beast in 1991, which was written by Linda Wolverton.

I love the films and complex characters she has created. She has also helped on some other Disney films and received credit for ‘Creative Leadership’ on the 2014 film Big Hero 6 and 2016 film Moana and Zootropolis to which she received screen credit as one of the writers who developed the story. I love all those films and the storylines to which she contributed to.

In March, 2011, Phil Johnston (a former classmate of Lee’s), asked her to join him at Disney Animation in Burbank to help him write Wreck-It-Ralph. 

 Lee then wrote the screenplay for the Disney classic Frozen in 2013, which she co-directed with Chris Buck (and again for Frozen II). For Frozen, Lee earned more than $1 billion in gross box office revenue and at the time, Frozen was the highest-earning film with a female director until surpassed by Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman. 

Lee has also won one Academy Award, BAFTA Award and Annie Award and has been nominated for one BAFTA Award and two Annie Awards. 

Jennifer Lee is such an amazing role model for aspiring female directors in the future like myself - especially if they want to work at Disney! Frozen was also the first time she directed a film herself and her confidence and lack of self-doubt really inspires me and encourages me to think and act the same way.

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Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca Taylor

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