Last night HE reader Aaron Lindquist saw Don Hahn and Peter Schneider‘s Waking Sleeping Beauty, a doc about the re-emergence of Disney animation from the time of ’84’s The Black Cauldron to ’94’s The Lion King, at the Art Center College of Design.
Despite an ’09 Toronto Film Festival pan by Variety‘s Rob Nelson, Lindquist calls it “amazing film” that “seems to bring closure to much of the animosity between Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Roy Disney.
“Their interviews were incredibly candid and filled with dimension, and about such an important period of their lives.” he writes. “It seemed a very honest account of Disney Animation from 1984 to 1994 and the work that went into those films and the struggles that went on behind-the-scenes.
“Hahn and Schneider were there for a q & a afterward and mentioned it would be playing at MOMA soon. I highly recommend it if you get the chance.
“The title alludes to Disney animation going from its nadir (like Sleeping Beauty falling under the spell) with the release of The Black Cauldron to its pinnacle with The Lion King. The doc covers the transition of Disney from the failing Ron Miller days to the Eisner-Wells-Katzenberg era and the challenges and triumphs of the animation department throughout that time.
“They literally went from almost being excised from Disney to being the reason the brand endures. All of the footage was shot by Disney employees (John Lasseter among them) over the years, in defiance of strict corporate policy. Not always high quality images, but incredibly candid stuff.
“From what they said at the q & a it seems like Disney is giving it a small release (five theaters) and will then quietly release it on video, which I think is a shame because it’s a really good film. I think there are a lot of people who would be interested to see Eisner, Katzenberg, and Disney in a human light because all they’ve seen is the media spectacle. Here’s the film’s Facebook page.”