Disney invited the media last month to its Animation Studio in Burbank, CA, for an early press day surrounding the release of its highly-anticipated Frozen 2 sequel. As probably anyone not living under a rock would know,
Frozen, which hit theaters in 2013, is the highest grossing animated film in history and has gone on to score two Academy Awards, a mega-hit song, subsequent animated shorts, merchandising up the wazoo and so, so much more! Needless to say (or maybe it does need to be said), my inner child needed to be kept in check as I walked through the doors of the famous building where Mickey, Minnie, Dumbo, Simba, Arielle, Moana and, of course,
Frozen princesses Elsa and Anna were created. But it was hard not to get excited...the halls were lined with storyboards and stills from the new film. There were beautiful statues of Elsa, Anna and snowman Olaf, while paintings and murals decorated the communal/meeting area walls.
Mixed in to all of this, the press had a chance to meet the films' creators, director/writer/chief creative officer Jennifer Lee, director Chris Buck and producer Peter Del Vecho. The three gave us some really nice behind-the-scenes stories, particularly about their trip to Finland, Norway and Iceland for inspiration for the new film, delving into some of the regional folklore and myths, as well as why they felt the need to create a sequel and what audiences can expect.
"We realized that we missed the characters and that there was more to tell," said Lee. "There were unanswered questions from the first film. I remember it as around the holidays of 2014 and we looked at each other saying, 'yep, we're doing it.' We knew it, because we couldn't stop talking about it."
After the press had a chance to see several clips from the film, we met with animators, visual effects artists, environment artists and spent more time with the filmmakers to talk about the sequel in more detail. Post also had an exclusive sit-down with the film's editor Jeff Draheim, to talk about the editing styl and a bit about Draheim's 25-plus-year career at Disney, having not only cut the first Frozen as well, but also Disney hits The Princess and the Frog and Moana.
The experience was priceless and resulted in our cover story (page 18 of the September/October issue), the first of several articles on Frozen 2. This issue is an overview, but come back for the November/December issue as we go further into animation and VFX advancements for the film.
Enjoy the read, because soon enough, there's going to be a (snow)storm at the box office this upcoming holiday season!