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Brenda Chapman

Brenda Chapman

American writer, animation story artist and director
Brenda Chapman
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American writer, animation story artist and director
Is Film director Screenwriter Animator Artist Storyboard artist Actor Film producer
From United States of America
Type Arts Creativity Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 1 November 1962, Beason, Illinois, USA
Age: 57 years
Star sign ScorpioScorpio
Residence Tamalpais Valley, Marin County, California, USA
Spouse: Kevin Lima
Children: Emma Rose Lima
California Institute of the Arts
Academy Award for Best Animated Feature  
Annie Award  
Academy Awards  
The details


Brenda Chapman (born November 1, 1962) 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. She co-directed the Disney/Pixar film Brave, becoming the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Life and career

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, 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; 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).

She also worked on Chicken Run, and several projects in development while at DreamWorks before leaving the studio on maternity leave.

Chapman moved to Pixar in 2003 after being invited by her old colleague Joe Ranft, 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. There were rumors that she subsequently left Pixar, but she remained on staff until shortly after the release of Brave, and started work as a consultant at Lucasfilm at the end of July 2012, where she helped solve story problems of Strange Magic. When asked whether she will return to Pixar, Chapman responded by saying she has no desire to go back there feeling that: "The atmosphere and the leadership doesn't fit well with me."

In 2013, she returned to her old employer, 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 though. 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. Anna Chancellor and Clarke Peters joined 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.

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, 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.


Year Title Notes
1984 Heathcliff lip sync checker
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1986 Dennis the Menace lip sync checker
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1986–1987 The Real Ghostbusters animator
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1997 Cartoon Sushi special thanks
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The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 02 Aug 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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