Abigail Disney

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Abigail Disney
Born (1960-01-24) January 24, 1960 (age 55)
California, U.S.
Occupation Filmmaker and philanthropist
Known for Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Abigail E. Disney (born 1960) is an American documentary filmmaker, scholar, philanthropist and activist known for her documentary films focused on social themes. She is the Executive Producer and Director of the film The Armor of Light, which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.[1][2]


Early life[edit]

Abigail Disney was raised in North Hollywood, California and was educated at Yale (BA), Stanford (MA, English Lit), and Columbia (PhD, English Lit).[3] She is the daughter of Patricia Ann (née Dailey) and Roy E. Disney and granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, co-founder of The Walt Disney Company with his brother Walt Disney.[4]



She turned to the family business of filmmaking after she met Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee in 2006. In 2007, she and Gini Reticker founded Fork Films, a New York-based production company that seeks to shed light, evoke compassion, stir action and build peace. She is the President and CEO, and Reticker is the Chief Creative Officer.[5] Her filmmaking career began with a documentary film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, about women in Liberia, made with Academy Award-nominated, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Gini Reticker.[6][7][8] Pray the Devil Back to Hell won Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008, and screened in 60 countries around the world on all seven continents.[9][10] In 2009, Fork Films and Film Sprout partnered together to create Pray the Devil Back to Hell’s Global Peace Tour, a nine-month grassroots screening tour that culminated on the United Nations’ International Day of Peace on September 21, 2009. In total, the tour brought the film to 31 foreign countries, 45 U.S. states and 235 U.S. cities.[11] The film is broadly credited with highlighting the bravery and sacrifice of its lead figure, Leymah Gbowee, who received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.

The response to Pray the Devil Back to Hell led Disney to work on the five-part special series for PBS, Women, War & Peace, which aired in 2011 and was the winner of the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award, a Gracie Award, a Television Academy Honor and the America Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award (for I Came to Testify). This series created and executive produced by Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan and Gini Reticker looked at the role of women in war in the modern age, not just as victims of conflict, but as active agents for peace in their communities. Also in 2011, Disney received an Athena Film Festival Award for her extraordinary use of film for social change.[12][13]

Community Activism and Philanthropy[edit]

Disney and her husband Pierre Hauser created The Daphne Foundation in 1991 in order to fund programs that confront the causes and consequences of poverty in the five boroughs of New York City.[14]

In 2008, Disney launched Peace is Loud, a nonprofit organization that inspires action through media and live events that spotlight women leaders on the frontlines of peacebuilding worldwide. The organization’s mission is to generate a groundswell of people committed to building a culture of peace. Disney serves as the Founder and President.[15]

Disney has made several overseas trips with fellow peace activists, including Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee. The two traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2011 to spend a week working with women peace activists and to explore ideas for building peace in their country.[16] The following year, they visited Sri Lanka, where women activists launched the Sri Lankan Women’s Agenda on Peace, Security and Development, inspired by Gbowee’s legacy.[17]

In 2012 she renounced her share of the profits from the Disney family investment in the Ahava cosmetics company whose factory is located in a West Bank settlement. She stated "I cannot in good conscience profit from what is technically the 'plunder' or 'pillage' of occupied natural resources...” For legal reasons she could not withdraw her investments and therefore donated the investments and profits "to organizations working to end this illegal exploitation."[18]

In May 2015, Disney joined Gbowee and 28 other international women peacebuilders to cross the 2-mile wide De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea in an act of solidarity with Korean women and to call for an end to the Korean War. The peacebuilders headed international peace symposia in Pyongyang and Seoul, where they listened to Korean women and shared experiences of mobilizing women to end conflict.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Disney married Pierre Norman Hauser in 1988 and has four children.[20][21] She lives in New York City.[22]


Pray the Devil Back to Hell poster

As Executive Producer[edit]

As Producer[edit]

As Writer[edit]

As Director[edit]

Awards and Recognition[edit]


  • Epic Awards (2008) presented by the White House Project, with Gini Reticker and Leymah Gbowee
  • Global Women’s Rights Awards (2009) presented by the Feminist Majority Foundation, with Gini Reticker and Leymah Gbowee
  • Auburn Lives of Commitment Award (2009), presented by Auburn Theological Seminary
  • 1st Annual Media Awards (2009), presented by Women’s Media Center, with Gini Reticker
  • Crystal Award (2009), presented by The Victor E. Ward Educational Fund, with Gini Reticker and Leymah Gbowee
  • 2009 Auburn Lives of Commitment Award (2009), presented by Auburn Theological Seminary
  • Visionary Leader Award (2010), presented by Korean American Family Services Center
  • Mercy Center Honoree (2010), presented by Mercy Center
  • 2010 Honoree (2010), presented by Girl Scouts of America
  • Phoenix Award (2010), presented by New York Asian Women’s Center
  • Visionary Social Change Award (2011), presented by African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF)
  • Athena Award (2011), presented by Barnard College, the Athena Center for Leadership Studies and Athena Film Festival, with Gini Reticker
  • International Advocate for Peace Award (2011), presented by Cardozo Law School’s Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution
  • 2012 Gracie Award for Outstanding Producer-News/Nonfiction for Women, War & Peace (2012), presented by The Gracie Awards
  • The James Park Morton Interfaith Award (2012), presented by the Interfaith Center of New York, with Leymah Gbowee
  • Global Award for Media Leadership (2013), presented by Womensphere
  • Vanguard Award (2013), presented by Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York
  • 2013 Honoree (2013), presented by YWLN
  • Leadership in Women’s Philanthropy Award (2013), presented by The Dominican Women’s Development Center
  • Morton Deutsch Award for Social Justice (2014), presented by the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution
  • Legacy Award (2014), presented by Women for Afghan Women
  • Public Health Change Champion Award (2014), presented by The Public Health Institute[23]

Honorary Degrees[edit]



  1. ^ "The Armor of Light | Tribeca Film Festival". Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  2. ^ "THE ARMOR OF LIGHT". THE ARMOR OF LIGHT. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  3. ^ UCR Newsroom: Award-winning Filmmaker to Speak at UCR. Newsroom.ucr.edu (April 27, 2011). Retrieved on 2012-03-28.
  4. ^ Abigail Disney Isn't Interested In Cinderella Stories. Forbes.com (August 19, 2010). Retrieved on 2012-03-28.
  5. ^ "About". Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  6. ^ PBS Biography of "Abigail Disney" , PBS, retrieved on 2012-03-28.
  7. ^ Pray the Devil Back to Hell official website.]
  8. ^ "About". Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  9. ^ "Pray the Devil Back to Hell | Tribeca Film Festival". Tribeca. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  10. ^ LLC, Fork Films. "Pray the Devil Back to Hell: Filmmakers". praythedevilbacktohell.com. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  11. ^ LLC, Fork Films. "Pray the Devil Back to Hell: Global Peace Tour". praythedevilbacktohell.com. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  12. ^ "Women, War and Peace | PBS". www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  13. ^ The Athena Film Festival: http://athenafilmfestival.com/
  14. ^ "About". Daphne Foundation. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  15. ^ "Our Team". Peace is Loud. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  16. ^ "Women Peacebuilders in the DRC – Nobel Women's Initiative". nobelwomensinitiative.org. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  17. ^ "A Local Girl with a Global Platform: Leymah Gbowee and Sri Lanka - Africa.com". Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  18. ^ "Disney heir renounces profits from Ahava", Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 16, 2012.
  19. ^ "WomenCrossDMZ Peace Walk 2015". www.womencrossdmz.org. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  20. ^ Abigail Disney, Ph.D Candidate, Weds Pierre Norman Hauser 2d at Columbia
  21. ^ Abigail Disney Isn't Interested In Cinderella Stories
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ [2]

External links[edit]