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An interesting LA Times article about Brenda Chapman being fired from directing her original story, BRAVE, for Pixar and the presence (or lack of) of female directors in animation.

I was personally very disappointed when I heard of Brenda's departure from Brave.  She is being replaced by an extremely excellent artist, and no doubt the film will live up to Pixar's standards, but she truly was a first in this industry---- a woman directing an animated feature of her own, original concept.  She's the most reputable female story person in this industry, and if she can't break that ceiling, I don't know who can.  It leaves the rest of us feeling like we've got even longer to wait.  I fear it won't happen for another generation or two.

excerpt:
Still, when Brenda Chapman was fired from Pixar's "Brave," it stung not just Chapman but also her female colleagues in the animation community.

"I think it's a really sad state. We're in the 21st century and there are so few stories geared towards girls, told from a female point of view," said Chapman, who spent six years on "Brave" — which was inspired by her relationship with her daughter — before being fired because of what she calls "creative differences."

Read the whole article here.

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:iconsmayds:
Smayds Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
Creative Differences are the WORST Differences. Been there, done that, got the scars. A real pity.
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:iconeclipsica:
Eclipsica Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011   Traditional Artist
I don't like the sound of this. We need more gender equality in animation.
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:iconbluedubia:
BlueDubia Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
being fired from a story you created...

that sounds like the absolute worst torture you can implement on a person ._.

I'm bothered by this alone, but the aversion of a historical moment in animation makes it a hundred times worse. I don't know how I feel about the movie anymore! Or Pixar for that matter. ARGH.
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:icondrprofessor:
DrProfessor Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011  Student Filmographer
How terrible! Hopefully Brave can keep the charm that Mrs. Chapman was going for. I wouldn't mind living in a girlier world myself. It's not just women though, from what I'm hearing it's rare that anyone really gets to work on thier own creative property. However, I'm hoping that's just coming from pessimistic college grads yet to see the light... Hoping dearly.
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:iconcartooner2008:
cartooner2008 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2011
Looking past any gender issues, this kind of news is still disappointing to hear. I've seen several stories about how people work on a movie for years, when, somewhere in production, that person is either fired or put in a smaller role in production. I've seen several films that had this problem in production, and, while I do sometimes end up liking the film (at least for what it is), I've always liked to see how the film turned had the original producer/director finished it.
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:iconthetwilightrouge:
TheTwilightRouge Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2011
The absolute WORST instance of that was with The Thief and the Cobbler. Richard Williams worked on it as his pet project for almost 30 years before some higher-ups kicked him off for not meeting deadlines after funding him, then COMPLETELY butchered the film to compete with Disney's Aladdin, taking out entire scenes and adding in pointless musical numbers (and that's not even the worst part). Williams wouldn't even mention the film again, the result was that bad. You can find a fan version of the film known by "The Recobbled Cut" which is a MUCH better version that takes out all the songs and added dialogue and puts back in the missing scenes, but it's a real shame that it had to come to that in the first place.

I'd personally be devastated if I was kicked off a project that I started in the first place. I mostly just write, though, but I'd be absolutely mortified if one of my future books was picked up for a movie, and they decided to axe everything that made it what it was and ruin it.
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:iconcartooner2008:
cartooner2008 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2011
I completely forgot about The Thief and the Cobbler. That is easily one of the biggest examples of how executive meddling can ruin a film.
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:iconthetwilightrouge:
TheTwilightRouge Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2011
The Recobbled Cut is much better (and faithful). It's on youtube if you want to see it.
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:iconfelicitates:
felicitates Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
[link]

Brenda is included in the credits here. Maybe the LA times was misinformed?
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:iconsupuhstar:
Supuhstar Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
>:c stupid Hollywood...
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:iconpapermatt202:
PaperMatt202 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2011
I was also majorly disappointed when I found out Brenda wasn't going to be directing Brave. I mean, she did The Prince of Egypt, right? That was awesome! Not to mention, she was in charge of the first Pixar movie to have a female lead. And lets face it, Pixar movies are great, but they've been mostly male-oriented. This would have been a nice change in pace... Until she was fired. :(

Seriously, what happened?!
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:iconcoonfoot:
Coonfoot Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2011  Hobbyist Filmographer
While I do like Pixar and how professional it is, I have to admit that I've gotten sick of the endless praise it's gotten for every little thing it makes. Critics are so biased towards them. So after reading this news and how Pixar was in the hot seat for once, I was thrilled. ...But I'm digressing from the true subject of this.

I'm not sure if gender is an issue, but the fact that Brenda had been working on this for so long and got fired from her own brainchild is downright sad. To be honest, it happened before with movies. Ratatouille was another film from the same studio that had an overhaul, but that was more about making the story work better. Even Disney went through this when they made Chris Sanders leave what eventually became Bolt. While that movie was actually pretty warmly received (I know I liked it), I'll always wonder what the "too out there" version would have been like. In Disney's defense, Pixar's head honcho John Lasseter is the one who made that change to Bolt when he became head of animation for both studios.

Even if it is about gender, female directors aren't totally nonexistent. The recent Kung Fu Panda 2 had one!
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:iconkamaradakamikaze:
kamaradakamikaze Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2011
Also, I don't like how many people are responding to this. "Is sexism", "I'm mad", "Is injustice", etc. We (including Lauren) don't know if it was sexism. And I right know, I'm not sure even if Brenda was fired at all! So stop beign so stupid and stop saying it was sexism. Think a little, then type.
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:iconkamaradakamikaze:
kamaradakamikaze Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2011
Dear Ms. Faust:

In the Wikipedia article of BRAVE, it says that Brenda is co-directing the film, so she's not FIRED at all for the production of BRAVE. That was confirmed for the other director, Mark Andrews. So, can you confirm that?

I really think is because helping her to direct the film and making, at the end, a good film. Pixar always looks for that, that all their films should be excellent.
Maybe they saw the work that Brenda has done and they wasn't convinced, so they hired a co-director (Andrews) to help Brenda. This also happens with Cars 2: the once solo project for director Brad Lewis, later become a co-directed film (Brad Lewis and John Lasseter) for the same reasons.

I'm really looking forward for BRAVE, and I really wish the best for Ms. Chapman. I really wish too that she wasn't fired at all.

:)
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:iconambivalentgoon:
AmbiValentGoon Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2011
I think the co-directing arrangement translates to: "Chapman had control. Now Andrews has control, and may ask Chapman for opinions". In other words, it's not "he's helping her" but "she's helping him" now.
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:iconkamaradakamikaze:
kamaradakamikaze Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011
you THINK... so you are not sure of that at all...
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:iconrumikoholic:
rumikoholic Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2011
If you had bothered to read the article provided:

'Chapman is currently on a leave of absence from Pixar.

The company declined to comment for this story, but did confirm that Chapman will be one of two directors who will receive a credit on "Brave."'
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:iconfoxygabriella:
foxygabriella Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Now I sit here and wonder... I've always dreamt of becoming an animation director when I grow up. The part of that not all women can reach this important top has never crossed my mind until now.

Once again, I wonder if I'll have a chance, but then again, I expect the world to let the women take another step higher.
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:iconthedriveintheatre:
thedriveintheatre Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2011
Pixar has been noted for having pretty decent 'diversity hire'. Darla Anderson (female and lesbian) and Peter Sohn (Asian-American) are two examples I can think of.

But the fact remains that they had a wonderful opportunity to make history with their first female director, and it is a shame that it didn't work out, whether it was creative differences, political rivalry, or covert discrimination.

Pixar's biggest rival, Dreamworks Animation, has already had several female directors for 6 of its 22 films. They are Vicky Jenson (Shrek, Shark Tale), Kelly Asbury (Spirit, Shrek 2), Lorna Cook (Spirit), Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 2)... oh, and Brenda Chapman (Prince of Egypt).

Granted, Pixar certainly has a more diverse team of directors than one-man studios like Blue Sky (Carlos Saldanha) or Studio Ghibli (Hayao Miyazaki). But its Brain Trust is an oligopoly that needs to let in some fresh talent, or its productions will start to get stale, as we can see from their increasing reliance on sequels now. Not to mention there have been other high-profile Pixarians like Romano and Pinkava who have left the studio on less than amiable terms. :(

Thanks for the post, Lauren Faust, it was admirable of you to make a comment about this controversial issue.
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:iconnizin:
nizin Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2011
Kelly Asbury is a GUY. It's true, look it up.
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:iconthedriveintheatre:
thedriveintheatre Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2011
Mea culpa!
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:iconambivalentgoon:
AmbiValentGoon Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2011
It's interesting that in case of Dreamworks female directors direct movies with male main characters, while the all-male Ghibli studios has female main characters most of the time, and often adapted works by female creators. "Brave" would have been so special since it was an original work with a heroine by a female creator/director...
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:iconthedriveintheatre:
thedriveintheatre Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2011
Yes, it is indeed a pity Pixar couldn't have made history, whatever the actual reason may be.

Oh, and Dreamworks has already made a movie with a main female protagonist as the central narrative. 'Monsters vs Aliens'. So it's already got the drop on Pixar. :)
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:iconmysterysilver:
mysterysilver Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
id be mad if someone stole my idea and got another director to direct it thats just wrong


it seems like the animation field isn't so friendly
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:iconkingnor:
KingNor Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2011
Taking this a bit hard aren't you Lauren? Women are doing great things in film these days and I'd like to give Pixar the benefit of the doubt, if they let her go I'd really like to think it's over real reasons, and not BECAUSE she's a woman.

Kathryn Bigelow directed Hurt Locker, which is a great war film. Women aren't even being 'given' chances anymore, they're earning them.

I work with a ton of women in the game development and I think it's a real disservice to everyone working their butts off when we assume they've been let go just because they're a girl. It's insulting to the men working there (like their job is safe just there because they're a guy), it's insulting to the women (as if their achievements don't matter because there's a spot above them held by a man), and I really think the best step to work place equality is to assume there must be a GOOD reason and unless there's a reason to move to sexism.

I've been very proud of the creative industries for over looking education, race, sex and nationality and focusing on PERFORMANCE.

I'm not trying to rant here, sorry, just trying to throw a little perspective out there :\
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:iconfyre-flye:
fyre-flye Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011  Professional Filmographer
Hi KingNor,

From your first sentence, I take it you're upset that I suggested Brenda Chapman was fired for being a woman. Hopefully it will reassure you to know that I actually have no idea why Brenda was fired. In fact, if I were to speculate, I would suspect that she was not simply fired for being a woman. That's why I didn't say she was fired for being a woman anywhere in my journal post. The article explains she was dismissed was for "creative differences" (similarly to Chris Sanders departure from American Dog) and I have no reason not to believe that.

The point I was trying to make (and feel free to disagree with me) was that are far fewer women directors in animation than men and here was a talented, reputable, experienced woman producer poised to be one of the ones to help change that unfortunate fact. I am merely disappointed that someone I considered a "champion" for female directors lost her chance, for WHATEVER reason.

I'm very glad you seem to be working in such a positive environment for women artists. I hope all the women working there make the best of it. Good luck!
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:iconkingnor:
KingNor Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2011
I'm glad you give the company the benefit of the doubt.

I am not as familiar with TV/Movie work place since, like I said, I mostly work in games.

I not only work with female artists but managers, PM's, project leads, programers, artists and QA. Gaming is a new industry and I think it's mostly* free of these kind of old-money prejudices.

You do make a good point that there are fewer women than men in the high positions. It is too bad she's no longer in charge of the project.

People should remember that women getting let go from a position is ok if it's for professional reasons! From a lot of the comments I'm reading I'm seeing a lot of bias and sexism towards men being posted in the replies.. how is that any better?

We shouldn't assume negative things about people we don't know, it makes us no better than the monsters we imagine them to be.

Thanks for nice reply, Lauren, I'm a fan of your shows and I respect your opinion. I hope I didn't sound too harsh in my first comment!
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:icon34-41-63:
34-41-63 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011
No, she was probably fired for being a woman. What I mean by that is I would not be supprised is someone on the financial end was more willing to toss her insdead of work things out, simply because she had yet to make the contacts nessassary to avoid being fired.
Contacts that, more often than not, are easier for men to make if only by the inertia of the animation industry (and other industries) being male dominated for so very long.

All a Man usually needs is for a few of his college room mates to go to the same animation house, his dad/uncle/family friend to toss him a job, or even just to follow the same sport team as one of the higher ups.
Sure skill and tallent are prerequisites, but the contacts and "ice breakers" men have usually outnumber women.

Women on the other hand often seem to have to truely start from scratch, and have a lot less access to nepotism that men often can take for granted.

As you and really anyone in a creative field can attest to, who you know is a big part of the game.
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:iconambivalentgoon:
AmbiValentGoon Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011
I suspect the reason for firing her was they decided if the movie was done her way, boys wouldn't watch it. They believe that viewpoint is logical and not sexist. And some of their kind go to ridiculous lengths with that argument... for example, by stating that "Mars needs Moms" was a good movie with all the right ingredients, except that mentioning "Mom" in the movie title scared all the boys away from seeing it and giving it the box office success they think it deserved...

I thought my gender had advanced far beyond such statements... I was wrong.
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:icon34-41-63:
34-41-63 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2011
Yep, I'm not sure who said it but; its not as if these executives wake up in the morning twiddling their mustaches and saying to themselves "Today I shall suppress woman due to my extreme hatred for them!"

They just take for granted many ignorant opinions about women. Sort of like Rudyard Kipling. Though we know him to be an obvious bigot now; but by the standards of his day and by the opinions of men from his day, the belief that browned skinned people were genetically inferior was simply considered "common knowledge." The sad paradox is that "white man's burden," was even considered extremely progressive in his time, which just goes to show how much the past sucked.

Makes me wonder though just how stupid people from a hundred years from now are going to think us of being. Maybe they'll face palm at the idea of sexual inequality or simply have trouble believing something like Jihads or Islamaphobia ever existed.
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:icongaosa:
GaoSA Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011
I'm hesitant to attribute her removal to anything specific without further information. It certainly could have been because they felt that her vision wouldn't have been marketable to boys, but it could also have been internal politics that had nothing to do with gender issues, or that despite her track record, the project just wasn't coming together under her leadership. I just don't see how we can really tell what really happened given what's come out, unless there's more information out there that I haven't read yet.
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:iconbrandonwolbers:
BrandonWolbers Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2011
completly despicable what happened to her, id be furious
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:iconstarvalerian:
StarValerian Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2011
though really sad hearing this, but (i know this isn't relating to this) the creator of Sailor Moon was a woman. "Her most popular work, Sailor Moon, rose to become as of 2011 one of the most recognized manga and anime products to date." (Wiki) And Id' thought we'd learn from this. I guess it's acceptable for a woman to direct an animated feature of her own, original concept...in Japan(?) or other countries that permit.
Sorry if i may not get the point to this journal, but it occurred to me that the creator of Sailor Moon (and director (?)) was a female. So if it was possible in Japan..then why not here?
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:icongaosa:
GaoSA Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2011
To my knowledge, Naoko Takeuchi generally had very little to do with the adaptations of Sailor Moon. She certainly didn't direct anything, and I recall her once mentioning that she actually cried at one point about how much the show changed some things (the original TV series was a very loose adaptation). She did have a bit more to do with the second movie they made, since she wrote a manga story specifically for the purpose of being adapted into that film, but while that movie was probably the closest adaptation of her work, I don't think she had much control about how it was adapted.

It's been a while since I was into anime that much, but I can't think of any animated series or movie from Japan that was directed by a woman. There are certainly plenty adapted from comics written by women, but it generally seems that guys do the adaptations there. So it doesn't seem that it's much better for Japanese women in the industry than it is for Western women, at least as far as I know.
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:iconstarvalerian:
StarValerian Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011
Ah, mkay.
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:iconmagnumangemon:
magnumangemon Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011
I wouldn't say that, anime adaptions in general are a different bit than American cartoons are; as they have to more or less follow the manga (either looser or tighter adaptions depending on the product) so even if a director or animator is male, it's still the female's story being told. I'd like to think Sailor Moon is a rare case of a mangaka being upset with the work (if it's true) as I know Hiromu Arakawa, who wrote Fullmetal Alchemist, had a creative hand in the anime and was often at the studio and staff meatings working with them (for both the new and the older series), and even helped write the upcoming movie.

Now if you look only at original anime works which are not based on manga, then maybe it'd be a different story. I'd say Japan is far better off for a women looking to break it into the comic/animation industry just going by some of the charts and information I've seen.

[link]

It's extremely one sided at this stage, though, but maybe it'll change one day.
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:icon13thmaiden:
13thmaiden Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Omg, seriously? That's just awful! Think of all the girls going into animation that will see that? I know when I saw it I felt discouraged. I love animation, it's what I hope to do as my career *pray*, but seeing that just makes me want to cry. If I didn't love animation as much as I do, I can easily see a girl looking into animation becoming discouraged and dropping the idea.

But, there's a ton of us coming up through the cracks, all we can do is keep pushing at that ceiling and sooner or later one of us will smash that glass and rise as high as our male counterparts.

Lets be like weeds girls! Lets not let anything they do to us get rid of us, because sooner or later, we'll all be able to bloom just as beautiful blossoms as any prized flower! :heart: Girl animator power :D

((...I hope I didn't scare any male animators though XD;; I like them too! I promise!))
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:iconjujubacandy:
jujubacandy Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011
I did a dress up about apple bloom if you want see it.. [link] C:
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:iconthe-barred-one:
The-Barred-One Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
AMERICA!!! STUPID OL' AMERICA!!!! >: ( THIS IS ONE REASON I QUESTION ALMOST EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!! WOMAN ARE AS GOOD AND STRONG AS MEN ARE! I hope to proove my point on day! I hope every woman prooves it one day! It seems like they're still liven' in the 1700's!!!!
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:icontanto:
Tanto Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
That's actualy pretty disappointing.
I live in a Middle-European post-communist country. I admit as a male, I can't tell how could this feel from a female perspective but as a legal student I care deeply when I see injustice and "double standards". Being in the country I am we were always told we are FAR behind the more advanced western countries. Can't help but feel worried and shocked when I see things like this happen in countries where society is said to be a good 50 years ahead of ours. :(
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:iconshowman56:
ShowMan56 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
Oh well. Have to live with it. :icontwilightfacehoofplz:

But hey, Cars 2 is around the corner!
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:icontheantimonyelement:
TheAntimonyElement Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is...frustrating. For all that I dearly love Pixar, I have to admit that I've been disappointed with the lack of significant female characters in their movies to date...yes, there have been exceptions, but on the whole all the Pixar girls are love-interests and side-characters. I was genuinely excited for Brave because finally, finally this wonderful and influential company was making a movie with *gasp* a female lead. And it looks like an awesome story, too.

But now...? Sigh. I'll still go see it, if only to support the presence of action-girls in cinema, but really. The world is ready for equality. I really, truly, honestly believe that; we are tired of fighting this battle. It needs to happen.

And...I wanted to thank you, Mrs. Faust. I am lucky to be a writer; the publishing industry, at least, had its glass ceiling shattered a while back. (Although when you consider that J.K. Rowling chose to go by that name because it was believed that boys wouldn't read a book written by a woman, perhaps we have a way to go yet) But animation has a regrettable dearth of strong, compelling female characters and your shows--all of them--are working to change that. MLP is particularly special because it is so unabashedly *pink* and unquestionably girly--but it shatters the Bechdel test with a bright shiny sonic rainboom. ;) Ffff that was corny. Thank you anyway. :)
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:iconryuspike:
RyuSpike Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Pixar! How could you of all people? I expected better from you! We loved Miyazaki movies together! You are breaking my heart Pixar!

Overreaction done. This really stinks though. Sure, I didn't have a clue who Brenda Chapmen was until now, but it still urks me that this happened. It wouldn't really bother me so much if she was just a director who was working on the film because, like the article said, changing directors is commonplace. BUT for the creative mind behind the story itself? That is just too much! Whatever "creative differences" that were there behind the scenes, Pixar had better hope it was worth it to fire a big game changer in the history of animation.
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:iconshadou-siv:
Shadou-siv Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2011
This reminds me of the movie 'Chicken Little'. The main character was suppose to be female, but NO heaven forbid such a thing. Jerks Im going to watch more my little pony now.
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:iconambivalentgoon:
AmbiValentGoon Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2011
What do you think about the portrayal of the different female characters in Ghibli's "The Borrower Arrietty", an adaptation of Mary Norton's Borrowers? And what do you think about the fact that apparently no one bothered to write any article about Keiko Miwa, who's not just co-scriptwriter for "Arrietty", but also for the next Ghibli movie "From Kokuriko Hill" (out in Japan next month)?
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:iconfiggs:
Figgs Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2011
I don't know if you know this, but Kung Fu Panda 2 was directed by Jennifer Yuh, and she really cranked KP2 up a notch. The whole film felt classier and more intelligent than the first, and well as more exciting. I believe that has more to do with her just having finer vision not so much her being a woman. I don't believe there is any difference in terms of quality between female and male directors (their perspectives and focuses will probably vary), and don't understand why their aren't more. Unless it's just a lack of them vying for that position or companies just don't want to chance it?
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:iconsbg6:
SBG6 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2011  Student General Artist
After reading the comments, it may not be the gender card but it's still disturbing to me how there are not many female directors in the industry. Well...better than none at all but still. Something has got to change and there should be more respect for the creators, especially females. Pardon my somewhat knee-jerk response there. I just hope that the movie will turn out to be good and be true to the original vision of the creator.
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:iconsbg6:
SBG6 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2011  Student General Artist
Remember there was the first female director who won Best Director AND Best Picture for the movie Hurt Locker in the 2010 Oscars? There may be some hope. (Different subject since it is a live action movie but still)

About the article.. wow...this is just WRONG. I lost some respect for Pixar for this. I can't believe sexism exists in PIXAR of all industries! :disbelief: That's just really horrible and idiotic to throw out the CREATOR of the upcoming movie project. "Creative differences" being the reason?....What kind of B.S. is that?
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:icon34-41-63:
34-41-63 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2011
Dawww, you still think that directors have any creative say in hollywood films any more; thats what prodcers call adorable. In fact, you might want to watch out for those producers... the have a tendancy to hunt adorable things for sport, before drinking the blood of child actors while bathing in a tub filled with the tears of Watchmen fanboys...

Oh did I mention I`m not a fan of hollywood producers?
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:iconsbg6:
SBG6 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Student General Artist
Also, what does Watchmen and child actors have to do with my point? My point is that even though females in the industry have not been as much recognized in comparison to males, at LEAST a female director got recognition for her work and that's better than nothing: [link]

I'm not on the side of the producers, I was just trying to be positive and I know it is not all doom and gloom. So you're saying that the producers take over everything? Why didn't they get an Oscar for their ideas if it's actually theirs? I'm just saying..not to start a fight. I'm willing to learn how business in the film industry works.

In general, I think we both can agree that females in the industry need more recognition especially Brenda, that's all. However, I jumped the gun thinking it was a gender issue when I wrote that comment and I realize after reading the comments that gender had nothing to do with the reason she left. Going back on topic on of this journal, it does suck about what happened to Brenda from her own project. :(
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