I’ve been seeing some people getting extremely uneasy about some rumours on Disney stopping their hand drawn animation in places such as this. I’d like to point out some facts (meaning, I will provide sources for you to check out):
- As far as cancellations go, it was revealed last year that “Disney’s Princess Academy”, which was going to be a hand drawn animated short, was not going to be made. David Kawena stated: “is a deleted project that was conceived for Disney a few years ago as a hand drawn animated short. It was created by Olivier Ciappa and I, with original music/song by Alan Menken. Unfortunately it didn’t saw the light of day" and Oliver Ciappa said: "After months working on it, with hundreds and hundreds of storyboards and concept art, the Disney Animation hand drawn studios closed its doors. So there was no point for us to even show that project." You can see more here, here, here and here.
- As far as official talks, it has been mentioned that there was a possibility for Disney to work on a feature lenght film using the same kind of animation that Paperman used. John Kahrs said: “Every time I show the film, the lights come up, and the first question is ‘Are you working on a feature that looks like this?’ I think we are going to move toward that direction – but we’re not quite there yet. I’ve been asked by John and Ed [Catmull] to pursue the technique. Take it to the next level. And I’ll let you guess what the next level is." You can see the full interview here
- Disney Toon Studios offers programmes on hand drawn animation, including an 8 week intern program specifically on 2D animation to start next June. You can see the details on it here.
- In the 2013 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, Erin Johnston asked about the future of 2D animation and the answer given by Bob Iger was the following: “To my knowledge we’re not developing a 2D or hand drawn feature animated film right now. There is a fair amount of activity going on in hand drawn animation but it’s largely for television at this point. We’re not necessarily ruling out the possibility of a feature but there isn’t any in development at the company at the moment." This means two things: there are people currently working on hand drawn animation even if it’s not for feature lenght films and it was not mentioned that they will stop using it altogether, just that the following productions that are being planned right now don’t use it. You can download the ENTIRE conference (minus the trailers and videos) in audio from here, there’s a link providing download (in the second paragraph) and I checked it out and listened to the whole thing, it’s like an hour and a half long and this mention is almost at the end.
As far as I know, those are the facts. The rest I’ve seen is pure speculation that comes with irrelevant box office results and Disney’s acquisition of many other companies that are giving Disney other kinds of branches to reach (like Marvel and LucasFilms). If someone knows of an actual official source that said something as terminant as the post I linked in the beginning, let me know.