Once Upon a Time
A Disney Day

Dive deeper into the fascinating history of the Disney studio in this afternoon of richly illustrated talks and discussions, including a session from the Fantasy/Animation podcast. Our expert speakers will discuss key themes emerging from the Disney universe, including the representation of female characters, the use of music, and the importance of technological advances, among others.


12:00-12:05 Welcome

Presenting Walt Disney
Dr Amy M. Davis (University of Hull)

From Magic Mirrors to Madrigals: A History of Magic in Disney Animation
Disniversity Podcast: Ben Travis (Empire Magazine) and Dr Sam Summers (Middlesex University)

13:25-14:15 Lunch break

The Art of Musical Storytelling in Disney Films
Sadeen Elyas (University of Hull)

Pink Castles and Fairy Tales. Walt Disney and the Rococo
Dr Helen Jacobsen (The Attingham Trust)

Disney: A Tale of Technology and Innovation
Dr Christopher Holliday (Fantasy/Animation Podcast & King’s College London) and Chris McKenna (Moving Picture Company)

16:00-16:10 Comfort break

Happily Ever After? Women’s Representation in Disney 100
Panel discussion with Dr Amy M. Davis (University of Hull), Hanna Flint (Film & TV Critic and Author) and Dr Robyn Muir (University of Surrey)

17:00 Event Ends

Speaker Bios

Dr Amy M. Davis is a lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Hull, where she teaches (amongst other things) American Animation History and Disney Studies. Her publications include Good Girls & Wicked Witches (2007), Handsome Heroes & Vile Villains (2013), and Discussing Disney (2020), as well as papers including ‘The Dark Prince and Dream Women: Walt Disney and Mid-Twentieth Century American Feminism’ (Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, 2005), ‘Making it Disney’s Snow White’ (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: New Perspectives on Production, Reception, Legacy, 2021), and ‘On “Love Experts”, Evil Princes, Gullible Princesses, and Frozen’ (The Oxford Handbook of Children’s Film, 2022). She recently presented on Donald Duck as an American Everyman in Disney’s World War II shorts (and is currently writing this up for publication next year), and her most recent article, a journalistic piece called ‘Disney at 100’, has just been published (July 2023) in the 2023 edition of the Children’s Media Yearbook.

The Disniversity Podcast is a film-by-film crash course through the history of Disney’s animated classics – from film journalist Ben Travis and animation academic Dr Sam Summers. Ben is Deputy Online Editor at Empire Magazine, and has formerly worked at the Evening Standard, GQ, and The Telegraph. Sam is a Lecturer in Animation at Middlesex University London, and the author of DreamWorks Animation: Intertextuality and Aesthetics in Shrek and Beyond. They met at Newcastle University on the student newspaper, and have been talking about films together ever since – more recently, with a microphone in front of them. Ben’s favourite Disney film is Sleeping Beauty; Sam’s favourite Disney film is Pinocchio (or, Robert Altman’s Popeye).

Sadeen Elyas is a PhD candidate in Film Musicology at the University of Hull. Her research interests are film music (including the early use of sound in Hollywood cinema), animation studies, especially Disney, and the relationship between food and music in films. Her PhD research combines her interests, and looks at the use of sound and music as a storytelling agent in silent cinema and sound film, focusing on Disney films. She has published an academic chapter on Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ film music.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Sadeen Elyas is a dedicated Saudi musician and composer. She enjoys blending Western and Arabic musical styles, incorporating elements of classical and Disney music into her own compositions. Sadeen has collaborated with various organisations, creating music for projects that address social issues. Recently, her work has been recognised and she was featured in Hia magazine, a publication that showcases influential Arab women.

Dr Helen Jacobsen is Executive Director of The Attingham Trust. Formerly Senior Curator at the Wallace Collection, she has published on French eighteenth-century decorative art and collecting history, including Gilded Interiors. Parisian Luxury and the Influence of Rome, 1770-89 (2017) and a monograph on Marie-Antoinette’s cabinet maker, Jean-Henri Riesener: Cabinetmaker to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (2021). Most recently she curated Inspiring Walt Disney. The Animation of French Decorative Art, an exhibition held at the Wallace Collection in 2022 in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Dr Christopher Holliday is Lecturer in Liberal Arts and Visual Cultures Education at King’s College London, specialising in Hollywood cinema, animation history, and contemporary digital media. He is the author of The Computer-Animated Film: Industry, Style and Genre (2018), and co-editor of the anthologies Fantasy/Animation: Connections Between Media, Mediums and Genres (2018) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: New Perspectives on Production, Reception, Legacy (2021). Christopher is also the co-creator of the website, blog, and podcast Fantasy/Animation.

Chris McKenna joined MPC in 2014, having previously worked freelance within the VFX industry. Starting in MPC as an artist on Disney’s Jungle Book remake, Chris then worked on several Disney projects, including The Lion King and most recently The Little Mermaid. Over Chris’ time at MPC he’s worked his way through artist to Lead, to HOD and is currently Head of Creative for MPC overseeing all projects and supporting Heads of Departments. The public reaction and enjoyment of seeing beloved characters on the big screen is fundamentally what drives Chris’ passion to work within the VFX industry, also the community and artistic family within our digital world, along side the recent advancements in technological and creative workflows provide fuel for maintaining Chris’ drive – every new project brings new challenges which supplies never-ending opportunities to create emotive and artist centric movies.

Dr Robyn Muir is a Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Surrey. Her research focuses on the images of femininity within the Disney Princess Phenomenon. She has recently published her book exploring the representation of the princesses in their films and consumer and experiences across time – The Disney Princess Phenomenon: A Feminist Analysis. She is the founder and director of the Disney, Culture and Society Research Network.

Hanna Flint is a London-based author, critic, journalist and host who has been covering film and culture for nearly a decade. Her reviews, interviews and features have appeared in GQ, Empire, The Guardian, Elle US, Sight and Sound, Radio Times, BBC Culture and elsewhere. Her recently published book Strong Female Character, is an unflinchingly honest and humorous account of her millennial journey towards self-acceptance through a cinematic lens. She is a frequent guest on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, the co-host of MTV Movies and the weekly film review podcast Fade to Black, the co-founder of The First Film Club event series and podcast, and a member of London’s Critics’ Circle. She is a voice for gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry and an advocate for MENA representation as a writer of Tunisian heritage.

Once Upon a Time: A Disney Day
Sat 22 Jul 12:00-17:00
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs + Thru the Mirror
Sat 22 Jul 17:45; Mon 24 Jul 14:20
Who Framed Roger Rabbit + Tummy Trouble + Rollercoaster Rabbit
Sat 22 Jul 20:30
Toy Story + The Adventures of Andre & Wally B. + Luxo Jr. + Red’s Dream
Sun 23 Jul 12:50; Sat 29 Jul 16:00
Tangled + Tangled ever After
Sun 23 Jul 13:10
Toy Story 2 + Tin Toy + Knick Knack
Sun 23 Jul 15:30
Pocahontas + Lava
Sun 23 Jul 15:40; Fri 28 Jul 14:20; Sat 29 Jul 20:40
Dinosaur + Get a Horse!
Sun 23 Jul 18:15
Beauty and the Beast + Tick Tock Tale
Mon 24 Jul 18:05; Thu 27 Jul 14:20
UK premiere of 4K Restoration: Cinderella + Trailer Horn
Tue 25 Jul 14:20
Sleeping Beauty + Magician Mickey
Wed 26 Jul 14:20
Hocus Pocus
Wed 26 Jul 20:40
Fantasia + Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom
Thu 27 Jul 17:50
TRON: Legacy + Sanjay’s Super Team
Fri 28 Jul 20:20
Sat 29 Jul 12:30
Moana + Inner Workings
Sat 29 Jul 13:00; Mon 31 Jul 14:20
Fantasia 2000
Sun 30 Jul 10:30
Frozen + Frozen Fever
Sun 30 Jul 12:40
Finding Nemo
Tue 1 Aug 14:20; Sun 13 Aug 18:30; Sun 27 Aug 13:30
Wed 2 Aug 14:20; Mon 14 Aug 20:30; Sun 27 Aug 13:15
Turning Red
Wed 2 Aug 20:20; Tue 8 Aug 14:20; Sat 26 Aug 15:30
The Jungle Book
Thu 3 Aug 14:20; Sun 6 Aug 13:00; Wed 16 Aug 20:45; Wed 30 Aug 14:20
Thu 3 Aug 18:00; Sat 19 Aug 17:30
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Fri 4 Aug 18:00; Sun 13 Aug 18:10; Tue 22 Aug 14:20; Wed 23 Aug 20:20
101 Dalmatians
Sat 5 Aug 13:20; Thu 10 Aug 14:20; Sat 19 Aug 15:30; Tue 29 Aug 14:20
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Sat 5 Aug 15:40; Thu 17 Aug 14:20; Sun 27 Aug 18:20
Sister Act
Sat 5 Aug 20:40; Fri 18 Aug 18:20
Zootropolis (aka Zootopia)
Sun 6 Aug 13:10; Fri 25 Aug 18:00
Silent Cinema: Disney’s Silent Shorts + intro
Sun 6 Aug 15:30
Freaky Friday
Sun 6 Aug 18:20; Fri 18 Aug 20:30; Thu 24 Aug 20:50
The Parent Trap
Mon 7 Aug 18:00; Sun 20 Aug 15:10
Wed 9 Aug 14:20; Sat 12 Aug 11:30 (+ extended intro); Mon 14 Aug 14:20; Sun 20 Aug 19:00
Mary Poppins
Wed 9 Aug 17:50; Mon 21 Aug 14:20; Mon 28 Aug 13:00
Wed 9 Aug 20:30; Mon 28 Aug 12:30
The Love Bug
Fri 11 Aug 20:30; Sat 12 Aug 11:50; Sun 20 Aug 13:30
A Disney Day for Young Audiences
Sat 12 Aug 11:30-16:30
Sat 12 Aug 18:00; Sat 26 Aug 12:00
Sat 12 Aug 20:30; Sat 19 Aug 13:00; Thu 24 Aug 14:20
The Lion King
Sun 13 Aug 13:00 (+ Funday Sing-along); Sat 26 Aug 20:30; Thu 31 Aug 14:20
The Fiendishly Difficult Disney Quiz
Sun 13 Aug 15:30 Blue Room
Sun 13 Aug 15:50; Wed 16 Aug 14:20; Sat 26 Aug 12:20; Mon 28 Aug 16:20
The Rescuers
Mon 14 Aug 18:30; Sat 19 Aug 15:50
Sat 19 Aug 12:00; Tue 29 Aug 20:30
Dick Tracy
Fri 25 Aug 20:40; Tue 29 Aug 18:10
(+ intro by Ben Roberts, BFI CEO)
The Little Mermaid
Sun 27 Aug 16:00; Mon 28 Aug 16:40

With thanks to The Walt Disney Company

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Programme notes and credits compiled by Sight and Sound and the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email