In a “candid chat” with The Hollywood Reporter—one that conveniently makes no mention of his involvement in a decades-long wage-fixing scheme that robbed animation industry workers of tens (and potentially hundreds of) millions of dollars in wages—Pixar and Disney Animation president Ed Catmull said that he thinks Pixar will have its first solo female director sometime in the next five years.

Pixar almost had its first solo female director with Brave, before the studio removed Brenda Chapman from the project and replaced her with Mark Andrews.

Asked by the Reporter why Pixar had not been able to cultivate a female director within its ranks during its 20-year feature filmmaking history, Catmull didn’t offer much of an answer, but suggested that he thinks the eventual director may come from their story department. Said Catmull:

You look back and say, “OK, what’s the dynamic of the feeder pool of people?” Over the summer, we put on a program called Girls Who Code, so we had somebody from all the schools in the Bay Area, and they spent 10 weeks here. The idea is to get them at the junior-high level, and then they come into a place where they’re using technology. The notion is to get the mind-set right at that time in life when people tend to go down stereotypical directions. In building up that stronger base, I think we’ll end up in a better place in the long run. We have some people who came [to direct] from writing. So Jennifer [Lee], who was one of the directors on Frozen, was originally a writer and now she’s a director. So that’s a path. The story people, there are more women there, so we’ve got some saying, “OK, now there’s a path.”

A solo female director at any studio would be progress for the animation industry, which has historically been resistant to allowing women to helm feature films. Besides Pixar, studios like Disney, Illumination, Blue Sky, Sony, and Laika have never had a solo woman director. The notable exception to this trend is DreamWorks, which enlisted Jennifer Yuh direct Kung Fu Panda 2.

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