Documentary Charts New Golden Age of Disney Movie Musicals

PlayBlog   Documentary Charts New Golden Age of Disney Movie Musicals
Patrick Pacheco, already a media-mix as the Los Angeles Times' Main Stem man in New York and a regular theatre contributor to NY1's cable show "Onstage," has added screenwriter to his resume. "I'm on IMDB," he says, cheerfully.

Sure enough, The Internet Movie Database credits him with the screenplay of "Waking Sleeping Beauty," a documentary that chronicles the Disney company's reemergence as a great animation studio; the 1980s-'90s features "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Tarzan" and "The Lion King" would all inspire Broadway musicals.

Peter Schneider, who was president of animation at Disney during this decade of phenomenal growth, dreamed up the doc idea and, with director Don Hahn, produced it, but he credits Pacheco with organizing the material into a cohesive whole.

"I had this idea for about ten years and finally pitched it to Dick Cook, who was then chairman of the studio, and he gave Don and me permission to make the movie," says Schneider. "We sorta had an idea what the story should be, so we then hired Patrick, who interviewed 150 people and structured the story. He'd come back to us and say, 'This is a nuance we should include, and here's how we can do it.'

"Patrick was very influential in seeking out the truths. Oddly enough, he and all of us had the same basic story — different points of view on it maybe, but the same story. So I'm thrilled he got to be part of the process and actually enhance the process. He brought a sense of discipline to us and kept focusing on what was the journalistic truths, which, of course, is what is so much fun about the movie — that it explores both the journalistic truths and the emotional truths at that period of time."

"Waking Sleeping Beauty" opens in limited release, March 26.

Prior to that, Schneider says, “We’re doing a big screening in New York on March 1 at the Ziegfeld for the theatre community, and then we're doing a screening at MoMA, in conjunction with the Tim Burton exhibit there, on March 15." (Burton's live-action remake of Disney's "Alice in Wonderland," with Mad Hatter Johnny Depp, hits 3-D screens March 5.) There's also a screening for Brooklyn Academy of Music's film series March 17.

— Harry Haun

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