Women in Animation – Part 1

Here’s a list of 10 women working in animation in the United-States. I raked imdb in search of women directors, but they are not that common, so I expanded to other jobs. Part 2 will cover women directing animated films in other countries!

  • Jennifer Yuh Nelson (director)

Jennifer Yuh Nelson directed Kung Fu Panda 2 and co-directed Kung Fu Panda 3 with Alessandro Carloni. She was also part of the story team on Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Madagascar, and head of story on Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and Kung Fu Panda. Her next directorial feature will be a live-action film. To this day, Yuh is the only woman to have directed a major Hollywood animated film alone.

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  • Jennifer Lee (director and writer)

Jennifer Lee wrote the screenplay for Frozen and co-directed the film with Chris Buck. She will reprise the same functions on Frozen 2. She was also part of the story team on Zootopia and one of the writers on Wreck-It Ralph.

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  • Brenda Chapman (director and writer)

Brenda Chapman came up with the story for Brave and co-directed it. She was the sole director of Brave until she was booted and replaced with Mark Andrews. Back in the day, Chapman was part of the story team on The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and head of story on The Lion King. She co-directed The Prince of Egypt with Steve Hickner and Simon Wells. She is now developing projects for her production company and writing a book.

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  • Meg LeFauve (director and writer)

Meg LeFauve will co-direct Disney’s next original animated film, Gigantic, with Nathan Greno, and co-write its screenplay with Curtis Gwinn. Previously, she was one of the writers of  The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out. She’s also been recruited to co-write the screenplay for the live-action film Captain Marvel with Nicole Perlman.

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  • Nina Paley (independent animator)

Nina Paley is the woman behind Sita Sings the Blues. Her movie explores Indian mythology in the context of modern feminism while drawing parallels to her own life. She wrote, directed, animated and produced the film herself and released it for free. It mixes different styles of animation, blues songs and various types of narration.

  • Kendal Cronkhite (production designer)

Kendal Cronkhite was the production designer of Trolls. The movie uses textures inspired by the 1970’s like wool and macrame. Cronkhite was also production designer on the three Madagascar films, assistant art director on The Nightmare Before Christmas, co-art director on James and the Giant Peach and art director on Antz.

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  • Priscilla Wong (visual development artist)

Priscilla Wong worked as a visual development artist on Trolls. Her work stood out to me because of the scrapbook-style opening sequence. What we see is on screen is a stop-motion animation of a real scrapbook she crafted with felt, paper, stickers and, of course, glitter. She was also one of the production designers on Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

  • Deborah Cook (costume designer)

Deborah Cook is a costume designer at Laika. She’s been working in stop-motion her entire career. She was a puppet modeler on Corpse Bride and Fantastic Mr. Fox, and then the costume designer on ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings.

  • Pamela Ribon (writer)

She was one of the writers on Moana (Moana has eight credited writers, seven men and one woman) and she co-wrote Smurfs: The Lost Village with Stacey Harman. She will next co-write Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 with Phil Johnston. She’s also a comedy writer, novel and comic book author and blogger.

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  • Linda Woolverton (writer)

Linda Woolverton wrote the screenplay for the 1991 Beauty and the Beast and co-wrote the screenplay for the 1994 The Lion King with Irene Mecchi and Johnathan Roberts. She also worked on Mulan. She penned live-action screenplays for the 2010 Alice in Wonderland, Maleficient, the 2016 Alice Through the Looking Glass and the upcoming Maleficient 2. She will be part of the writing team for the remake of The Lion King.

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Check out part 2 of this article for a higher dose of female directors in animation!

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