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Directors of ‘Frozen’ Bring The Disney Animated Film to Life


Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho. Photo courtesy of Disney

The Walt Disney Animated Feature Film “Frozen” was directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee and Produced by Peter Del Vecho. Chris Buck first pitched the film five years ago, and production took about two and a half years, which is fairly short, considering more animated feature films take about three to four years. Jennifer Lee joined the team a little later after finishing her work on “Wreck-it-Ralph” creating a dream team that made the magic happen to develop this beautiful animated film.



Queen Elsa in “Frozen.” Photo courtesy of Disney.

The film is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale “The Snow Queen.” In the original story, the Snow Queen was a villain, but they choose not to take that direction when creating the film “Frozen.” “We kept her a villain for a long time, but it wasn’t resonated with us,” said Lee. “We didn’t want to tell a good vs. evil story.”

Chris Buck had pitched a different story idea while working on the film. “What if they were more connected and were sisters, then that was it. We all emotionally felt it,” said Lee. They made Elsa such a three-dimensional character in the film, “It was how we felt, and we were connecting with every scene – it told us what it was going to be,” said Lee.


Anna in the film “Frozen” Image courtesy of Disney

Queen Elsa’s sister, Anna, goes on a journey of love in the film, “We always knew this would be her journey,” said Lee. “We always wanted a heroine that was flawed, that had imperfections, that wasn’t this perfect character on a pedestal. That was always our goal,” said Buck. Kristen Bell helped to mold the character, Anna, in the film, “We had the best time working with her,” said Lee. Since Bell did so much improv when making the film, “We had the luxury of using whatever we wanted. It’s the best kind of freedom, and never frustrating – it’s like you’re sifting for gold,” said Lee.


Ice Palace in the film “Frozen” Photo courtesy of Disney.

The world of “Frozen” comes to life in the film because of all the detail that went into developing the snow and ice. The team did a lot of research on ice before working on the film including touring an ice hotel in Quebec, and walking in snow while wearing skirts. “We didn’t want the characters walking on top of snow, we wanted integration,” said Lee. The effects team built special programs to create the snow effects, and the scene where Elsa builds her ice castle was one of the most in-depth scenes in the film. “We finalized that scene after five months. There were over 100 people in the room with us because they had all touched that scene to make it happen – it was a very emotional moment,” said Lee. “It took 30 hours to render that one frame, and there are 24 frames per second. There were 4,000 computers all rendering that one shot at the same time.”

The magic of the film shines through as a result of their teamwork. “We are a team,” said Lee. They always had their story room full of at least 15 story artists along with themselves to work through the story. There were times that they would have writers block, “We would talk it through together. We would really rely on each other to keep working on it and keep molding the story,” said Lee.

Families can enjoy seeing the magical world of “Frozen” for the first time in theaters on November 27th.

We attended the interview as a guest of Disney.

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  1. The research the did to make the ice believable is so cool! Loved hearing about that!

  2. They did a wonderful job with the story!

  3. We can’t wait to see it.

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