UNH’s Surprising Connection To Disney’s ‘Frozen’
If you and the family sat down to watch Disney's "Frozen" this holiday season, you might not have realized the film's major Seacoast connection.
Director Jennifer Lee, who also directed the sequel "Frozen II," earned her bachelor's degree in English at the University of New Hampshire before starting her professional filmmaking career.
Lee, who was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1971, attended UNH after graduating from East Providence High School.
Joining Disney Animation in 2011, Lee was eventually paired with Chris Buck, her co-director on both of the "Frozen" films. The original, released in 2013, was a massive hit and became the highest-earning film with a female director in terms of domestic earnings until Patty Jenkins' "Wonder Woman" surpassed it in 2017.
Lee was the first woman to ever direct an animated feature film for Walt Disney Animation Studios, and the first female director to have a film surpass the $1 billion earning mark. Moreover, she was considered the first such writer at any major animation studio to become a director.
Lee gave a commencement speech at UNH in 2014 and told students to always be prepared to embrace criticism.
"When you are free from self-doubt, you fail better," Lee told those in attendance, according to the UNH website. "You accept criticism and listen."
In the years following the franchise's success, Lee was eventually named the chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios after John Lasseter's departure in 2018.
Lee and her daughter, Agatha, live in Los Angeles.