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Brenda Chapman      

First Woman to Win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature; Known for Pixar's "Brave" & DreamWorks Animation's "The Prince of Egypt"

Brenda Chapman is an American writer, storyboard 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. In 2012, she co-directed the Disney/Pixar film Brave with Mark Andrews, becoming the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Chapman 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 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. In October 2010, however, she was replaced by Mark Andrews following creative disagreements between her and John Lasseter. As of 2016, she is developing projects for Chapman Lima Productions, with her husband Kevin Lima.

In May 2016, it was reported that Chapman would make her live-action directorial debut with Come Away, a fantasy drama that serves as a prequel to Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. In May 2018, it was reported that Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo were cast to play the parents of Alice and Peter, with Jolie and Oyelowo also serving as producers. In February 2020, it was reported that Chapman was attached to write and direct a live-action hybrid film adaptation of Ghost Squad.

Speech Topics

  • The film industry
  • Storytelling in film
  • Nuances of animation and why it’s so captivating
  • How technology has and does change the film industry
  • Women’s advances in the world of film and creativity and inspiration
  • Brave role models
  • The moment I became a feminist


'No Room For Failure': Female Directors Discuss Michelle ...
An interview with Lexi Alexander, Brenda Chapman, and Yulin Kuang about Michelle MacLaren's recent departure from Wonder Woman and how women in film ...

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