Chris Buck

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Chris Buck
Frozenfeverdirectors (cropped).JPG
Born (1958-02-24) February 24, 1958 (age 62)
EducationEl Dorado High School
Alma materCalifornia Institute of the Arts
EmployerWalt Disney Animation Studios (1978-2004; 2008–present)
Sony Pictures Animation (2004-2008)
Known forFilm direction
Notable work
Surf's Up
Frozen Fever
Frozen II
Spouse(s)Shelley Rae Hinton Buck
AwardsAcademy Award
Annie Award

Chris Buck (born February 24, 1958) is an American film director known for co-directing Tarzan (1999), Surf's Up (2007) (which was nominated for the 2007 Oscar for Best Animated Feature), Frozen (2013), which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2014, and Frozen II (2019). He also worked as a supervising animator on Pocahontas (1995) and Home on the Range (2004).

He has won for one Academy Award, Annie Award and BAFTA Award, and has been nominated for two Academy, two BAFTA and five Annie Awards.[1]

Life and career[edit]

A native of Wichita, Kansas, Buck was inspired to explore animation by the first film he ever saw in a movie theatre as a child: Disney's Pinocchio.[2] His family eventually moved to Placentia, California, where he graduated from El Dorado High School.[3]

Buck studied character animation for two years at CalArts, where he also taught from 1988 to 1993. At CalArts, Buck became friends with both John Lasseter[2] and Michael Giaimo, whom he would work with many years later on Frozen.[4]:33 He began his career as an animator with Disney in 1978.[citation needed]

Besides his work as a co-director on Tarzan and Frozen, Buck's other credits at Disney also include the 1995 animated feature Pocahontas, where he oversaw the animation of three central characters: Percy, Grandmother Willow and Wiggins. Buck also helped design characters for the 1989 animated blockbuster The Little Mermaid, performed experimental animation for The Rescuers Down Under (1990) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), and was an animator on The Fox and the Hound (1981).

Buck helped develop several films at Hyperion Pictures and served as a directing animator on the feature Bebe's Kids. He storyboarded Tim Burton's live-action featurette Frankenweenie (1984) and worked with Burton again as directing animator on the Brad Bird-directed "Family Dog" episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories and as director of the subsequent primetime animated series.

Buck's credits include a number of animated commercials (including some with the Keebler Elves) for such Los Angeles-based production entities as FilmFair, Kurtz & Friends, and Duck Soup.

Buck went on to co-direct Surf's Up at Sony Pictures Animation, which was released in June 2007.[5]

Buck with Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee and producer Peter Del Vecho

In 2008, Buck's old friend Lasseter, by then Disney Animation's chief creative officer, persuaded him to come back to Disney from Sony.[4]:6,11 Around September 2008, Buck pitched three ideas to Lasseter, one of which was a fairytale musical version of The Snow Queen; Lasseter liked The Snow Queen idea and authorized Buck to proceed with development.[4]:6,11 After it was put on hold during 2010,[6] the film was officially announced in December 2011 under the title Frozen, with a release date of November 27, 2013.[7] In turn, Buck persuaded Giaimo to come back to Disney to serve as the film's art director,[4]:33 for which Giaimo would go on to win the Annie Award for Best Production Design in an Animated Feature Production.

In September 2014 it was announced that Buck and Lee would co-direct a short film based on the Frozen characters called Frozen Fever. It was released in spring 2015.[8]

On March 12, 2015, Disney announced that Buck and Lee would co-direct Frozen II, the sequel to Frozen.[9] It was released in November 2019.

Personal life[edit]

Buck is married to Shelley [10] Rae Hinton Buck, an Emmy and Oscar Award winner in sound editing. They have three sons, Ryder, Woody, and Reed.[11]

Their oldest son, Ryder, died at age 23 on October 27, 2013, in a car collision, when he was hit by two cars after his car broke down on the Glendale Freeway.[10] Ryder was a singer and songwriter performing in his band Ryder Buck and the Breakers, and was recovering from a year-long battle with a Stage 4 testicular cancer.[10] On March 2, 2014, upon accepting the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for co-directing Frozen at the 86th Academy Awards, Buck dedicated the award to his son Ryder.[10] The tragedy was an inspiration for the song "The Next Right Thing" in Frozen II, as well as a character named "Ryder."[12]

Reed lent his voice to Arnold, a little penguin from Surf's Up, directed by his father.[13]


Animation Department[edit]

Year Work Job Notes Reference
1981 The Fox and the Hound (character animator) [14]
1982 Fun with Mr. Future (animator) (Short)
1983 Mickey's Christmas Carol (additional animator)
1985 The Black Cauldron (animator)
1987 Amazing Stories (animation supervisor) (TV Series)
Sport Goofy in Soccermania (supervising animator) (Short)
The Brave Little Toaster (character designer)
1988 Oliver & Company (animator)
1989 The Little Mermaid (character designer)
1990 The Rescuers Down Under (character designer)
Box-Office Bunny (key animator) (Short)
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures (character designer) (TV Series)
1992 Bébé's Kids (animation director)
1995 Pocahontas (character design)

(supervising animator: "Percy", "Grandmother Willow" & "Wiggins")

1996 Quack Pack (character designer) (TV Series short)
2004 Home on the Range (supervising animator: "Maggie")
Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas (animation consultant) (Video)
2010 Not Your Time (animator) (Short)


Year Work Notes Reference
1993 Family Dog (TV Series) [14]
1999 Tarzan
2007 Surf's Up
2013 Frozen
2015 Frozen Fever (Short)
2019 Frozen II
Idina Menzel & Aurora: Into the Unknown (Video short)


Year Work Job Notes Reference
1995 Pocahontas (story) [14]
2007 Surf's Up (screenplay by)
2013 Frozen (story by)
2015 Frozen Fever (Short)
Disney Infinity 3.0 (characters: Elsa, Anna) (Video Game)
2017 Olaf's Frozen Adventure (characters) (Short)
2019 Frozen II (story by)

Miscellaneous Crew[edit]

Year Work Job Notes Reference
2014 Storybrooke Has Frozen Over (original characters: Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven) (TV Movie) [14]
Once Upon a Time (original characters) (TV Series)
Big Hero 6 (creative leadership: Walt Disney Animation Studios)


Year Work Role Notes Reference
1979 Doctor of Doom Pepe (Short) [14]
2007 Surf's Up Filmmaker (voice)

Art department[edit]

Year Work Job Notes Reference
1990 The Rescuers Down Under (visual development) [14]
1995 Pocahontas


Year Work Compliment Notes Reference
1984 Frankenweenie (special thanks) (Short) [14]
1988 Winter (thanks)
The Thing What Lurked in the Tub (special thanks)
1989 Palm Springs (lots of help)
1990 Next Door (thanks)
2006 Open Season (special thanks)
2017 Olaf's Frozen Adventure (Short)
2018 A Bug in the Room


Year Work Role Notes Reference
2010 Not Your Time Himself (Short) [14]
2013 Días de cine Himself - Interviewee (TV Series)
2014 71st Golden Globe Awards Himself - Accepting Award (TV Special)
19th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards
The EE British Academy Film Awards Himself - Winner
The Oscars
D'Frosted: Disney's Journey from Hans Christian Andersen to Frozen Himself (Video documentary short)
The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic (TV Movie documentary)
2015 Cake Wars Himself - Judge (TV Series)
Behind the Magic: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Himself (TV Short documentary)
2017 Good Day AFA (TV Series)
2019 Hollywood Insider
2020 47th Annie Awards
Made in Hollywood: Teen Edition
Made in Hollywood
Prop Culture Episode: "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"

Archive footage[edit]

Year Work Role Notes Reference
2018 Les Chroniques du Mea Himself (TV Series) [14]


Year Award category Work Result Reference
1995 Annie Awards Best Individual Achievement for Animation Pocahontas Nominated [1]
1999 Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production Tarzan Nominated
2000 Sierra Award Best Animated Film Nominated
2008 Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Film of the Year Surf's Up Nominated
Annie Awards Best Directing in an Animated Feature Production Nominated
Best Writing in an Animated Feature Production Nominated
2013 EDA Award Best Animated Feature Film Frozen Nominated
AFCA Award Best Animated Film Won
Dubai International Film Festival People's Choice Award Won
SLFCA Award Best Animated Film Won
2014 Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Film of the Year Won
BAFTA Film Award Best Animated Featured Film Won
BAFTA Children's Award BAFTA Kids Vote - Feature Film Won
Best Feature Film Nominated
Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement in Directing in an Animated Feature Production Won
Gold Derby Award Animated Feature Won
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form Nominated
International Online Cinema Awards (INOCA) Best Animated Feature Won
Italian Online Movie Awards (IOMA) Best Animated Feature Film (Miglior film d'animazione) Nominated
Seattle Film Critics Award Best Animated Feature Won
VES Award Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Won
2015 Tokyo Anime Award Grand Prize, Feature Film Won
2019 Seattle Film Critics Award Best Animated Feature Frozen II Nominated
2020 BAFTA Film Award Best Animated Featured Film Nominated
Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production Nominated
Golden Globe award Best Animated Feature Film Nominated
LEJA Award Best Animated Feature Nominated
OFTA Film Award Best Animated Picture Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Chris Buck". IMDb. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  2. ^ a b King, Susan (December 10, 2013). "Walt Disney Animation Studios turns 90 in colorful fashion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 2, 2014.
  3. ^ Howmann, Anders (October 10, 2014). "'Frozen' treat for 50". Orange County Register. Freedom Communications, Inc. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Solomon, Charles (2013). The Art of Frozen. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-1-4521-1716-4.
  5. ^ Orange, B. Alan (June 6, 2007). "Chris Jenkins, Ash Brannon, and Chris Buck Are Creating Waves in Their New Film 'Surf's Up'". MovieWeb. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  6. ^ "The Lion King Goes 3D". ComingSoon. June 22, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  7. ^ Sciretta, Peter (December 22, 2011). "Walt Disney Animation Gives 'The Snow Queen' New Life, Retitled 'Frozen' – But Will It Be Hand Drawn?". SlashFilm. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  8. ^ Gettell, O. (September 3, 2014). "Disney short 'Frozen Fever' coming in spring 2015, with new song". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  9. ^ Graser, M. (March 12, 2015). "Disney Announces 'Frozen 2'". Variety. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d Walker, Chris (February 6, 2014). "The Tragic Death of Local Musician Ryder Buck, and His Uplifting Story". La Weekly. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  11. ^ Wexler, David (January 22, 2014). "Ryder Buck: 'Live and Love. We're Only Here Once'". Janglin Souls. Retrieved March 7, 2014. The band performed alongside Ryder’s band, and brothers Woody and Reed.
  12. ^ Cohn, Gabe (November 29, 2019). "How to Follow Up 'Frozen'? With Melancholy and a Power Ballad". The New York Times. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  13. ^ Armstrong, Josh (June 11, 2007). "Directors Buck and Brannon on Surf's Up". Animated Views. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Chris Buck". IMDb. Retrieved February 25, 2020.

External links[edit]