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  1. #1

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    Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing 'Brave'

    Short article and comments at Cartoon Brew:

    EXCLUSIVE: Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing Pixar’s “Brave” | Cartoon Brew: Leading the Animation Conversation

    "Crazy rumors floating into our offices this afternoon from reliable sources. We hear that Brenda Chapman, the first woman director at Pixar, has left the studio and is no longer directing Brave (previously titled The Bear and the Bow). We hear that she was pushed aside from full directing a while back, and that story artist Mark Andrews (who also co-directed the Pixar short One Man Band) has taken over directorial duties. We understand that the change officially happened last week, although it had been inevitable for some time.

    These type of directorial shake-ups happen so frequently at other feature animation studios that they hardly merit reporting, but this holds special significance because Chapman was slated to be the first woman director at Pixar after twelve straight features directed by men. By contrast, Sony Pictures Animation had a woman director on its first feature (Jill Culton on Open Season) and DreamWorks had a woman director on its second feature—The Prince of Egypt. Who was the DreamWorks woman director? Brenda Chapman."


    So much for Pixar's first female director.

    The E-Ville Boy's Club continues on...

    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

  2. #2

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    Re: Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing 'Brave'

    Wow. I'm totally shocked that no one is posting in this thread.

    Brenda Chapman has left Pixar. She was pulled off of Brave, which was her film from the beginning. Apparently, she wrote the original story for her daughter.

    Brenda was the only female of Pixar's Sacred Seven, and the first female director for the studio. Now her film, the one she conceived and brought into production, has been turned over to Mark Andrews.

    This is BIG news, folks.

    The silence here is deafening.

    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

  3. #3

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    Re: Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing 'Brave'

    Been thinking about this since it broke publicly. It is disappointing and quite depressing news. Given that is such a personal project even more so. Perhaps she'll have the opportunity to return to WDAS or be tendered an offer at DreamWorks Animation, etc. Either way she'll have the unique experience of watching her film become another blockbuster notch on the Pixar belt.

    Mark Andrews co-directed the excellent short, 'One Man Band' and served as a second unit director on Andrew Stanton' upcoming 'John Carter of Mars' so it seems he'd be one of the most obvious in-house candidates.

    This is still the best post on the subject I've seen so far:

    On Cartoon Brew, Pocahontas director Mike Gabriel posted the following comment:
    “Brenda is a class act. A beautiful soul. A star talent in the industry who continues to inspire, more so in adversity than a smooth ride. The Brave release is heartbreaking from the outside but may be a blessing from the inside. You never know.”
    Pixar's 'Brave' Move: Reshuffling of Directors - Heat Vision
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  4. #4

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    Re: Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing 'Brave'

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post

    Brenda Chapman has left Pixar. She was pulled off of Brave, which was her film from the beginning. Apparently, she wrote the original story for her daughter.
    Ms. Chapman did not respond to telephone messages. Contrary to blog reports, Ms. Chapman remains on staff at Pixar. It is not unusual for animated films, particularly those made by Pixar, to change directors midway through a project. It happened on “Toy Story 2” and “Ratatouille,” for instance.
    First Woman to Direct a Pixar Film Is Instead First to Be Replaced - NYTimes.com
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  5. #5

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    Re: Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing 'Brave'

    It's my understanding that she's still under contract. Apparently, many of Pixar's brain trust, including Lasseter, have their contracts up for renewal next year. I'm guessing that Brenda's contract will also be up for renewal.

    Betchya Brenda and/or Disney doesn't renew it.

    If I were Brenda, I wouldn't.
    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

  6. #6

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    Re: Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing 'Brave'

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    Short article and comments at Cartoon Brew:

    EXCLUSIVE: Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing Pixar’s “Brave” | Cartoon Brew: Leading the Animation Conversation

    "Crazy rumors floating into our offices this afternoon from reliable sources. We hear that Brenda Chapman, the first woman director at Pixar, has left the studio and is no longer directing Brave (previously titled The Bear and the Bow). We hear that she was pushed aside from full directing a while back, and that story artist Mark Andrews (who also co-directed the Pixar short One Man Band) has taken over directorial duties. We understand that the change officially happened last week, although it had been inevitable for some time.

    These type of directorial shake-ups happen so frequently at other feature animation studios that they hardly merit reporting, but this holds special significance because Chapman was slated to be the first woman director at Pixar after twelve straight features directed by men. By contrast, Sony Pictures Animation had a woman director on its first feature (Jill Culton on Open Season) and DreamWorks had a woman director on its second feature—The Prince of Egypt. Who was the DreamWorks woman director? Brenda Chapman."


    So much for Pixar's first female director.

    The E-Ville Boy's Club continues on...


    Sounds like you are complaining based on only one fact, and ignoring all other considerations. Pixar is the most successful and consistantly successful movie company in history. No other studio has every had the string of success that Pixar has had. It's been proven over and over again that Pixar continually stretches and challenges itself with stories, places, themes, characters, stories, and technological advances. They have proven that they don't rest on previous successes.

    And as others have pointed out, it's not unusual for new people to be assigned on various projects, and to have substantial changes to certain animation projects, Aladdin had major changes, Emperor's New Groove, changed substantially. Even in Walt's day, often projects were shelved, because the current story just wasn't working, and take a look at the fact that Walt moved the main story man for The Jungle Book off that project, too. One of the more recent dramatic changes occurred at Disney Animation, when Chris Sanders was moved off of "American Dog" (which became Bolt) and subsequently left Disney.

    The resentment in your post seems rather unfounded.

  7. #7

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    Re: Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing 'Brave'

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    The resentment in your post seems rather unfounded.
    Before passing final judgment on my "resentment," I invite you to read the comments at the Cartoon Brew article. At last count, there were over 300. Clearly the online community feels as strongly as I do about what's happened.

    If you don't have the time or inclination to read all of the comments, then search for the ones by John Sanford and Floyd Norman, both of whom worked at Pixar, as well as Mark Walton and "redrum," who is probably Lee Unkrich under cover (for obvious reasons).

    Sanford and redrum have seen the original film. They both work in the industry at senior levels, so they're fully capable of commenting on it from a professional perspective. They were both very impressed with Brenda's storytelling and quite upset that she was dumped off the project. Both have stated quite emphatically that this film would have been a bold new direction for Pixar that the studio needs in order to remain fresh and relevant. And that's precisely what put Pixar on the map: bold and fresh storytelling.

    This was a major slap in the face for Brenda Chapman, one of the "Sacred Seven" of Pixar. According to some posters on CB and venerable Disney insider leemac over at LP, Brenda is indeed gone from Pixar. The NYT blog entry cited in the CB update is incorrect; Brenda is no longer on staff but is "waiting for the pay-off on her contract to be resolved," according to leemac.

    Brenda was precisely the kind of director Pixar has desperately needed. Having a female director telling her story about a strong female protagonist was an important first for Pixar. Now with Brenda's ousting and Mark Andrews being put in charge, no telling what we'll get instead. According to redrum, "...the entire story is probably going to be changed and that’s a real shame."

    Since the original story was a fairy tale Brenda wrote for her daughter, I doubt the vision Mark has for the film will be anywhere close to what Brenda had envisioned, or what Sanford and redrum saw a few years ago when production began. This is no longer a story that a loving mom wrote expressly for her daughter. Try as he might, Mark simply cannot reach that level of personal involvement, which gave the story its heart and soul.

    No matter how the final film turns out, it will never match what it could have been and should have been. That is why I have so much "resentment" for what Pixar has done to Brenda Chapman and Brave.
    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

  8. #8

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    Re: Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing 'Brave'

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    Before passing final judgment on my "resentment," I invite you to read the comments at the Cartoon Brew article. At last count, there were over 300. Clearly the online community feels as strongly as I do about what's happened.

    If you don't have the time or inclination to read all of the comments, then search for the ones by John Sanford and Floyd Norman, both of whom worked at Pixar, as well as Mark Walton and "redrum," who is probably Lee Unkrich under cover (for obvious reasons).

    Sanford and redrum have seen the original film. They both work in the industry at senior levels, so they're fully capable of commenting on it from a professional perspective. They were both very impressed with Brenda's storytelling and quite upset that she was dumped off the project. Both have stated quite emphatically that this film would have been a bold new direction for Pixar that the studio needs in order to remain fresh and relevant. And that's precisely what put Pixar on the map: bold and fresh storytelling.

    This was a major slap in the face for Brenda Chapman, one of the "Sacred Seven" of Pixar. According to some posters on CB and venerable Disney insider leemac over at LP, Brenda is indeed gone from Pixar. The NYT blog entry cited in the CB update is incorrect; Brenda is no longer on staff but is "waiting for the pay-off on her contract to be resolved," according to leemac.

    Brenda was precisely the kind of director Pixar has desperately needed. Having a female director telling her story about a strong female protagonist was an important first for Pixar. Now with Brenda's ousting and Mark Andrews being put in charge, no telling what we'll get instead. According to redrum, "...the entire story is probably going to be changed and that’s a real shame."

    Since the original story was a fairy tale Brenda wrote for her daughter, I doubt the vision Mark has for the film will be anywhere close to what Brenda had envisioned, or what Sanford and redrum saw a few years ago when production began. This is no longer a story that a loving mom wrote expressly for her daughter. Try as he might, Mark simply cannot reach that level of personal involvement, which gave the story its heart and soul.

    No matter how the final film turns out, it will never match what it could have been and should have been. That is why I have so much "resentment" for what Pixar has done to Brenda Chapman and Brave.
    No, the "article" and the OP are obviously just trying to turn this into a "gender" issue, and none of the comments have any proof to offer. Several of the comments also point to the Chris Sanders example, that changes do occur regularly, and I pointed to the Jungle Book and several other, too. The article is obviously just dredging up one fact, and trying to turn it into a "sexism" issue, rather than look at all the facts behind the change of directors. Don't call up the "sexism" issue if it doesn't exist, that would be considered liable. And no PROOF has been provided in any of the comments or the opinions expressed. If the article is going to make such accusations, then it needs to be preparred to back those statements up.

  9. #9

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    Re: Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing 'Brave'

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    Don't call up the "sexism" issue if it doesn't exist, that would be considered liable. And no PROOF has been provided in any of the comments or the opinions expressed. If the article is going to make such accusations, then it needs to be preparred to back those statements up.
    There has been a strong element of sexism in Pixar's features since day one. Not one main protagonist has been female; all of the stories have revolved around a central male character. None of the directors at Pixar have been female until they hired Brenda Chapman. And she's the only female member of the Brain Trust, at least until she's officially out the door.

    Replacing Brenda with another director automatically dictates her replacement to be male since she is the only female director currently at Pixar, and leadership isn't about to hand over a feature film to a senior animator, male or female, without previous experience on a short. This is why Gary Rydstrom, a newbie to animation, was made the director of Lifted, to give him some experience before tackling a larger project like newt.

    The situation with ditching Brenda and her original story is not necessarily driven primarily because of sexism. But given Pixar's historical absence of female protagonists and female directors, a trend which would have been reversed with Brave, it's nearly impossible to conclude that sexism hasn't played even a marginal role in these developments.

    The commenter on CB, redrum, obviously works inside Pixar and most likely knows what's going to happen with the film. This individual stated "the entire story is probably going to be changed" and not necessarily for the better. Given that Mark Andrews is incapable of relating to the story on the same intimate level as Brenda, both because of his gender and lack of maternal connection to the protagonist (Princess Merida is Brenda's daughter), the story that he ends up writing and directing will be vastly different than the one Brenda was telling. And that is what the comments on CB are driving at, the difference between what Brenda envisioned and what Mark will envision.

    Brave will become a different story but most likely not a better one. And the difference will be found in muted feminism that's more palatable to male audience members who are uncomfortable with strong female protagonists. In my book, that's the very definition of sexism.
    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

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