Waking Sleeping Beauty is a documentary I've heard a lot of great things about and I am really looking forward to finally being able to see it. This is a documentary any Disney fan would be interested in seeing. The documentary is behind the scenes look at what went on behind the doors of Disney animation from the years 1984 to 1994.
Our friends at /Film who saw the doc explain that the film follows the stories behind the creation of some of Disney's most beloved films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and more, and chronicles the growing power struggle between Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Eisner and Roy Disney. We learn about how creativity somehow thrived in this environment of corporate chaos. The film is not your typical talking head doc, and is wisely presented almost entirely using archival footage cut from over 250 hours of footage, photos, and cut with narration from newly recorded audio interviews. A lot of the footage has never been seen before, in any film or making of doc, ever.
One of the best books on the entertainment business that I've ever read is called Key's to the Kingdom: How Michael Eisner Lost His Grip, and it goes through and tells the story of Michael Eisner's rise to power and how he lost it. It also includes a very rich explanation of the history of all Disney's key players during the same time frame as this documentary. I strongly suggest you read it. This new doc takes the animation part of that history and brings it to us in the form of a very interesting movie.
Walt Disney Pictures will give the documentary a limited release in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco on March 26, 2010. In New York, the film will open at the Landmark Sunshine. In Los Angeles, the film will open on two screens, at the AMC Century City and AMC Burbank. In Chicago, the film will open at the AMC River East and in San Francisco at the Landmark Embarcadero all on March 26, 2010.
Here's the official plot synopsis:
Waking Sleeping Beauty is no fairytale. It is a story of clashing egos, out of control budgets, escalating tensions… and one of the most extraordinary creative periods in animation history.
Director Don Hahn and producer Peter Schneider, key players at Walt Disney Studios Feature Animation department during the mid1980s, offer a behind-the-magic glimpse of the turbulent times the Animation Studio was going through and the staggering output of hits that followed over the next ten years. Artists polarized between the hungry young innovators and the old guard who refused to relinquish control, mounting tensions due to a string of box office flops, and warring studio heads create the backdrop for this fascinating story told with a unique and candid perspective from those that were there. Through interviews, internal memos, home movies, and a cast of characters featuring Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Roy Disney, alongside an amazing array of talented artists that includes Don Bluth, John Lasseter, and Tim Burton, Waking Sleeping Beauty shines a light on Disney Animation’s darkest hours, greatest joys and its improbable renaissance.