Brenda Chapman

For the Canadian writer of mystery novels, see Brenda Chapman (writer).
Brenda Chapman
Born (1962-11-01) November 1, 1962
Beason, Illinois
Residence Tamalpais Valley, California[1]
Alma mater California Institute of the Arts
Occupation Animator, director, storyboard artist
Years active Mid-1980s–present
Notable work Beauty and the Beast
The Lion King
The Little Mermaid
The Prince of Egypt
Spouse(s) Kevin Lima
Children Emma Rose Lima

Brenda Chapman (born November 1, 1962)[2][3][4] is an American writer, animation story artist and director. In 1998, she became the first woman to direct an animated feature from a major studio, DreamWorks Animation's The Prince of Egypt. She co-directed the Disney·Pixar film Brave, becoming the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.[5][6]

Life and career

Chapman was born in Beason, Illinois[7] as the youngest of five.[8] She went to Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois, receiving her Associate of Arts degree.[9] She then moved to California and studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). During her summer breaks, she began her professional career working in syndicated television animation. After graduating with a BFA in character animation, she was a story trainee on the Disney animated film The Little Mermaid. She was one of several key story artists on Disney's Beauty and the Beast, where she worked closely with future Disney director Roger Allers to define many of the key sequences and motifs used in the film. She later served as head of story, the first woman to do so in an animated feature film, for Disney's animated classic The Lion King.

Chapman also worked in story and development for other Disney animated films such as The Rescuers Down Under, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Fantasia 2000. She joined DreamWorks Animation at its inception in the fall of 1994.

Chapman was one of a team of three directors who worked on 1998's The Prince of Egypt, along with Steve Hickner and Simon Wells. She became the first woman to land a directing role in an animated feature by a major studio;[6] three others had helmed independent efforts before her (Lotte Reiniger of The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Joy Batchelor of Animal Farm, and Arna Selznick of The Care Bears Movie).[6][10]

She also worked on Chicken Run, and several projects in development while at DreamWorks.

Chapman moved to Pixar in 2003, where she had a brief stint on Cars before beginning development on and directing Brave. Chapman conceived the project and was announced as the director of the film, making her Pixar's first female director.[11] In October 2010, however, she was replaced by Mark Andrews following creative disagreements.[12] There were rumors that she subsequently left Pixar, but she remained on staff until shortly after the release of Brave,[13] and started work as a consultant at Lucasfilm at the end of July 2012,[14] where she helped solve story problems of Strange Magic.[15] When asked whether she will return to Pixar, Chapman responded: "That door is closed. I made the right decision to leave and firmly closed that door. I have no desire to go back there. The atmosphere and the leadership doesn't fit well with me."[15] She has stated a sequel to Brave is inevitable.[16]

In 2013, she returned to her old employer, DreamWorks Animation,[2][17] where she helped in developing Rumblewick that had a strong female protagonist and was described as "funny with magic and heart."[15][18] As of 2016, she is developing projects for Chapman Lima Productions, with her husband Kevin Lima.[18][19]

Other credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Shrek, WALL-E, Ratatouille, Up and Toy Story 3.

Personal life

Chapman is married to director Kevin Lima (A Goofy Movie, Tarzan, Enchanted), whom she met at California Institute of the Arts.[2] They have a daughter, Emma Rose Lima, who was the inspiration for Mérida, Brave's young princess.[2][17][20] In April 2014 Chapman, who has never lived in Scotland but does claim Scottish ancestry,[21] urged Scots to back Independence in the referendum vote in September 2014.[16]


Year Title Notes
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit in between artist: additional animation
1989 The Little Mermaid story artist
1990 The Rescuers Down Under story artist
1991 Beauty and the Beast story
1994 The Lion King head of story
1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame story
1998 The Prince of Egypt director
with Steve Hickner and Simon Wells
1999 Fantasia 2000 story
2000 The Road to El Dorado additional story artist
Chicken Run additional story artist
2012 Brave director
with Mark Andrews
2015 Strange Magic consultant, voice of Imp[22][23]


  1. Welte, Jim (March 12, 2013). "Tam Valley's Brenda Chapman Basks in Post-Oscar Glory". Mill Valley Patch. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Liberatore, Paul (February 27, 2013). "Marin's Brenda Chapman shares Oscar glory for 'Brave' with her teenage daugthter". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  3. Chapman, Brenda (November 1, 2013). "This is amazing!RT @amightygirl: Remembering: Soviet "Night Witch" pilots flew cropduster planes vs. Nazi invaders". Twitter. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  4. Chapman, Brenda (November 1, 2012). "Thanks for the kind birthday wishes!". Twitter. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  5. Sperling, Nicole (May 25, 2011). "When the glass ceiling crashed on Brenda Chapman". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 Mallory, Michael (March 19, 2000). "Move Over, Old Men; Disney's fabled favorite artists weren't alone in the male-ruled animation world. Now women are in key jobs, and they aim to stay.". Los Angeles Times. p. CALENDAR 8. Retrieved May 14, 2010. (registration required (help)).
  7. Laura (October 20, 2011). "Brenda Chapman". Animation Insider. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  8. Poluan, Illona (November 30, 2012). "Interview with Brenda Chapman: storyteller, animator and director". 99 Designs. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  9. Vorel, Jim (May 9, 2013). "Lincoln grad proud of her 'Brave' Oscar". Herald & Review. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  10. Beck, Jerry (2005). The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Reader Press. p. 48. ISBN 1-55652-591-5.
  11. Powers, Lindsay (October 14, 2010). "Pixar announces first female director". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  12. Sperling, Nicole (May 25, 2011). "When the glass ceiling crashed on Brenda Chapman". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  13. Griffin, Andy. "Interview Part II: Brave". Pixar Portal. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  14. Griffin, Andy. "Brenda Chapman Leaves Pixar for Lucasfilm". Pixar Portal. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  15. 1 2 3 Schavemaker, Peter (June 11, 2013). "An Interview From Abroad with Brenda Chapman". Animation Magazine. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  16. 1 2 Miller, Phil (17 April 2014). "Brave creator urges Scots to back Yes". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  17. 1 2 McIver, Brian (December 9, 2012). "Director behind Brave reveals her agony at getting kicked off film". Daily Record. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  18. 1 2 Brenda Chapman (September 26, 2016). "Life After Pixar: An Interview with Brenda Chapman" (Interview). Interview with Ian Failes. Cartoon Brew. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  19. "Story and Technology". Siggraph. June 19, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  20. Moody, Annemarie (April 9, 2008). "Disney Taps Deep Into DNA In Unveiling Animation Slate". Animation World Network. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  22. "Surprise! George Lucas Wrote A Disney Animated Movie Called 'Strange Magic' & It Comes Out January 2015". Indiewire. November 11, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  23. Harris, Jeffrey (January 23, 2015). "Strange Magic Review". 411MANIA. Retrieved January 25, 2014.

External links

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