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Brenda Chapman facts for kids

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Brenda Chapman
Born 1962/1963 (age 61–62)
Alma mater California Institute of the Arts
  • Animator
  • director
  • screenwriter
  • storyboard artist
Years active 1987–present
Notable work
Kevin Lima
(m. 1982)
Children 1
Awards Academy Award for Best Animated Feature
Brave (2012)

Brenda Chapman (born 1962 or 1963) is an American animator, screenwriter, 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 directed the Disney/Pixar film Brave with Mark Andrews (and co-direction from Steve Purcell), becoming the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Early life

Chapman was born in Beason, Illinois as the youngest of five. She went to Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois, receiving her Associate of Arts degree. She then moved to California and studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).


During her summer breaks, Chapman began her professional career working in syndicated television animation. In 1987, she graduated with a BFA in character animation, and was hired as a story trainee on The Little Mermaid (1989). Chapman then worked as a storyboard artist on The Rescuers Down Under (1990) and Beauty and the Beast (1991), where she worked closely with 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 The Lion King (1994).

Chapman 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 female director for an animated feature by a major studio; three others had previously helmed independent efforts including Lotte Reiniger of The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), Joy Batchelor of Animal Farm (1954), and Arna Selznick of The Care Bears Movie (1985). She also worked on Chicken Run, and several projects in development while at DreamWorks before leaving the studio on maternity leave. In May 2003, Chapman and Allers were announced to direct Tam Lin, an adaptation of the Scottish folk ballad, for Sony Pictures Animation.

However, later that same year, Chapman moved to Pixar after being invited by her old colleague Joe Ranft, where she had a brief stint on Cars (2006) before developing The Bear and the Bow, which was re-titled Brave (2012). In April 2008, Chapman 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. There were rumors that she subsequently left Pixar, but she remained on staff until shortly after the film's release. By July 2012, Chapman worked as a consultant at Lucasfilm Animation, helping to resolve story problems on Strange Magic (2015). When asked whether she will return to Pixar, Chapman responded by saying she has no desire to go back there feeling that "[t]he atmosphere and the leadership doesn't fit well with me."

In 2013, she returned to DreamWorks Animation, where she helped in developing Rumblewick that had a strong female protagonist and was described as "funny with magic and heart." Chapman then left DreamWorks shortly afterwards. As of 2016, she began 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 (2020), 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 portraying the parents of Alice and Peter, with both actors also serving as producers. Anna Chancellor and Clarke Peters joined the cast in August, with filming in London starting that same month.

In February 2020, it was reported that Chapman was attached to write and direct a live-action hybrid film adaptation of Ghost Squad. In December of that year, Chapman stated she had "kind of stepped away" from the project, deciding instead to work on other projects with Lima. She also stated she was writing "a novel and thinking about turning it into an animated screenplay."

Personal life

Chapman is married to director Kevin Lima (A Goofy Movie, Tarzan, Enchanted), whom she met at California Institute of the Arts. They have a daughter, Emma Rose Lima (b. 1999), who was the inspiration for Mérida, Brave's young princess. They reside in Tamalpais Valley, California. Chapman claims Scottish ancestry. In 2014, Chapman urged Scots to back independence in the September referendum.


Feature films

Year Title Director Writer Story
Other Voice Role Notes
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit No No No No Yes In-between Artist: Additional Animation
Oliver & Company No No No No Yes
1989 The Little Mermaid No No No Yes No
1990 The Rescuers Down Under No No No Yes No
1991 Beauty and the Beast No No No Yes No
1994 The Lion King No No Yes No No Artistic Supervisor - Story
1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame No No No Yes No
1998 The Prince of Egypt Yes No No No Yes Miriam (singing)
1999 Fantasia 2000 No No No No Yes Original Concept: "The Pines of Rome"
2000 The Road to El Dorado No No No Additional No
Chicken Run No No No Additional No
2001 Shrek No No No No Yes Special Thanks
2003 Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas No No No No Yes
2006 Cars No No No Yes No
2007 Ratatouille No No No No Yes Pixar Productions
2008 WALL-E No No No No Yes Pixar Senior Creative Team
2009 Up No No No No Yes Dog
2010 Toy Story 3 No No No No Yes
2011 Cars 2 No No No No Yes
2012 Brave Yes Yes No No Yes
2015 Strange Magic No No No No Yes Imp Story Consultant
2019 The Lion King No No No No Yes Thanks
2020 Come Away Yes No No No No


Year Title Notes
1984 Heathcliff lip sync checker
1985–1986 Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling character designer
5 episodes
1986 Dennis the Menace lip sync checker
65 episodes
1986–1987 The Real Ghostbusters animator
76 episodes
lip sync checker
2 episodes
1997 Cartoon Sushi special thanks
1 episode

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Brenda Chapman para niños

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