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The Walt Disney Family Museum just announced a new advisory committee to complement its Board of Directors. The committee is made up of eleven extraordinary individuals, some with connections to the Disney legacy, some independent, whose personal and professional achievements and experience will provide important strategic guidance for the museum. Among the new members are animator Andreas Deja, producers Don Hahn, and Pixar Animation Studios creative genius John Lasseter.

The museum’s Advisory Committee is made up of the following distinguished members:

Andreas Deja first applied for a job as a Disney animator at the age of 10. Born in Poland and raised in Germany, he recalls writing the Studios immediately after seeing The Jungle Book. The Studios wrote back to Andreas explaining that there were no openings, but they were always on the lookout for new talent. At the age of 20, Andreas applied again and was accepted. Andreas began his Disney career working with Eric Larson, one of the legendary “Nine Old Men,” and went on to work on animated films such as The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, Oliver & Company, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Andreas oversaw the animation of Triton in The Little Mermaid, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, Scar in The Lion King, Mickey Mouse in Runaway Brain, the title character in Hercules, and Lilo in Lilo & Stitch. In 2007, Andreas was honored with the Winsor McKay Award from the International Animated Film Association.

Don Hahn is producer of the worldwide phenomenon The Lion King and the classic Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Don is Executive Producer of the acclaimed Disneynature Films Earth, Oceans, African Cats,and Chimpanzee, and Disney’s Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie. Don’s other credits include Hunchback of Notre Dame, Atlantis, Fantasia 2000, and The Emperor’s New Groove. Don’s books on animation, art, and creativity include the best seller Brain Storm, the acclaimed educational series Drawn To Life: The Complete Works of Walt Stanchfield, and the much anticipated Before Ever After: The Lost Lectures of Disney’s Animation Studio due out in the fall of 2015. Don also serves on the Board of Directors of PBS SoCal.

John Lasseter maintains creative oversight of all films and associated projects from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, and Disneytoon Studios, and is involved in a wide range of activities at Walt Disney Imagineering. John made his directorial debut in 1995 with Toy Story, the world’s first feature-length computer-animated film. John also directed A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Cars (2006) and Cars 2 (2011). John has executive produced all Pixar features since Monsters, Inc. (2001). To date, Pixar’s films have earned more than $8.5 billion in gross box-office receipts. Since assuming creative oversight of Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2006, John has served as executive producer on all of its feature films and serves as executive producer for Disneytoon Studios’ films. In John’s role as Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering, John was instrumental in bringing Radiator Springs to life with the successful 2012 launch of Cars Land, a massive 12-acre expansion of Disney California Adventure Park. Prior to the formation of Pixar in 1986, John was a member of the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd. John was part of the inaugural class of the character animation program at California Institute of the Arts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in film in 1979.

annieawards-42ndlogo

The Annie Awards, which honor excellence in animation in film, video, and television, were held last night, and Disney won many of its categories in TV, but got snubbed when it came to the movies.

Big Hero 6 was nominated for Best Animated Feature, and Outstanding Achievement Directing in an Animated Feature Production, but lost in both categories to Dreamwork’s How to Train Your Dragon 2.  Last year, Disney won both categories on the strength of the blockbuster film, Disney’s FrozenBig Hero 6 did walk away with one award, for Animated Effects in an Animated Production. Baymax would be proud.

Disney did much better with television, winning eight trophies overall. Five of them went to the Disney Channel’s “Disney Mickey Mouse” show, which had the second-most wins of any title.

The Walt Disney Family Museum also won the evening’s Special Achievement Award, which recognizes the unique and significant impact the winner has had on the art and industry of animation.

Here are all the Annie Awards that Disney won on January 31, 2015:

Editor Note: This article is republished in honor of Grandparents Day, September 7, 2014. It was originally written after a 2011 event at The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.

Family togetherness and memories of shared experiences to last a lifetime … those are at the heart of Walt Disney’s many creations — from cartoon characters and heart-warming movies that have entertained generations to Disneyland, which has delighted guests between the ages of 2 and 102 since opening in 1955.

Family meant a great deal to Disney, both personally and professionally. His daughter, Diane Disney Miller, told me that despite her father’s success, she and her sister, Sharon, lived a fairly typical family life. The girls had two loving, caring and protective parents. Her dad, she said, was a hugger who enjoyed family dinners at home, weekly outings with his girls, even time regularly spent driving his daughters to school on his way to the studio.

Walt was happy with his little family, even though Diane learned many years later from her aunt that he had wanted more children but that doctors had advised her mother, Lillian, not to attempt another pregnancy after a series of miscarriages.

It would have “only been me,” Diane said, if her parents hadn’t gone out and adopted her sister, Sharon. Walt and Lillian would later become “very loving” grandparents. And, making Walt a grandfather was the “best thing I ever did for him,” Diane said.

Diane and her husband, Ron Miller, parented seven children; six were born before Walt’s death on Dec. 15, 1966. Five of them — Chris, Joanna, Tammy, Jennifer and Walter Miller — shared memories of their maternal grandfather in a special program on Sept. 17, 2011, at The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. Ron Jr., born in 1963, was too young when his grandfather died to participate with his siblings and Patrick Miller wasn’t born until 1967.

The program, arguably the best talk in the museum’s nearly five-year history, provided an intimate look at Walt’s family life from his adored grandchildren. Now adults, they had a unique relationship to one of the most creative and influential men of the 20th century. They said both their parents and grandparents did everything they could to give them a fairly typical family life.

The following offers highlights of the program. It’s been plussed and sprinkled throughout with material obtained during an exclusive interview after the event.