Pixar Animation Studios can be the most influential animation equipment in the world, but recently it developed a serious reputation…
Pixar Animation Studios can be the most influential animation equipment in the world, but recently it developed a serious reputation problem. Earlier this year, a detailed insider report from a former employee explored the studio’s stiff sexism culture, which systematically kept women away from advances or leadership positions while protecting men who harassed or abused them. Meanwhile, chief artist John Lasseter was dismissed from Disney after proving that he had been known to “grab, kiss and comment on women’s physical characteristics,” as Hollywood Reporter wrote this year. 19659002] The move to replace Lasseter with new leadership has come alongside a number of other moves towards more narrative diversity on Pixar, a part that was solved by Lasseter himself. In 201
5, the studio released the short Sanjays Super Team a heartwarming story of a child adhering to his father’s faith. The short one was made by Pixar’s first color manager, Sanjay Patel. Now, as Deadline was reported today, the studio gets its second feature from a female director – from Domee Shi, head of the sensational Pixar animated cards Bao who debuted this year and ran before Incredibles 2 . (Shi’s Bao was the first Pixar card directed by a woman.) “We’re just developing the story for it right now,” said Shi Deadline . “It’s amazing early, but I’m very happy to play in this new 90-minute movie format.”
It is no surprise that it has taken so long for Pixar’s culture to change. Brenda Chapman, co-director of 2012’s Brave and the first woman employed as Pixar director, was taken off her film before reaching theaters. “When Pixar took me off Brave – a story that came from my heart inspired by my relationship with my daughter – it was devastating,” wrote Chapman in the New York Times the year came out. “To get it taken away and given to someone else, and a man there, were really worried at so many levels.”
The film industry has undergone its own accountancy, as a wave of powerful men has been driven from positions at the top of the industry, in the wake of a wave of revelations of sexual misconduct. Dynamics change; the structures of power as well. Shi – who has worked at Pixar since she was a trainee in 2011 and has contributed to movies like Inside Out and Toy Story 4 – is proof of that change as well.