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netribution > features > interview with roy disney > page one
Roy Disney, nephew of Walt, and Chairman of Disney's feature animation, has worked for the 'Mouse House' for over thirty years. Responsible for everything from Toy Story to The Lion King, Roy is an unashamed lover of comedy and escapist family entertainment. In his only interview for online media, Roy talked with us about IMAX and the future of Fantasia, the problems with Dinosaur, the secrets of Disney's success, growing up in the shadow of Uncle Walt and his unfulfilled dreams of designing aircraft. He also talks for the first time about next year's eagerly awaited follow-up to Toy Story/A Bug's Life - Monster's Inc - and frankly I can't wait. In Belfast for the first European showing of 102 Dalmations, I caught up with Roy at the Cinemagic conference where he was the keynote speaker. Roy's Irish routes are quite sincere - he owns a house near Cork where he spends a third of his year - and at the turn of the century the Disney clan found themselves in Ireland en route from France to the States.

| by nic wistriech |
| photos by nic wistriech|
| in belfast |
  What brings you to Belfast?
Well we were asked by Shona McCarthy the best part of a year ago to become part of the festivals and over several months we found out more about it, then Shona came to Los Angeles - and she's tough - I couldn't help it really. I was really curious to come up here in any case, spend a little more time than the one day I was up here last summer.

I understand you have a home near Cork?
Yes, I've had that for about 10 years now and we try to spend 3 or 4 months there every year.

Do the Disney family have any Irish routes?
Yes, the name is actually French - it came from a little town in Normandy called Disigny, the name got corrupted and a lot of those people found themselves in Ireland on the way to the States. We have some pretty deep roots here, I married a girl named Daly who's older brother was the ambassador to Dublin back in '81/'82, during Reagan's years. That was the first time I came to Ireland - she was there and we fell in love, wound up buying a place and it’s a pretty solid thing here.

Why was the decision made to shoot 102 Dalmatians in the UK?
Well, if you take it back to the original anyway it 's actually a British story, there were also financial reasons as much as anything else I think.

Were you happy with the outcome of Dinosaur?
I'm just boggled by it, the first few scenes I finally saw off the printer when we were really getting going were just amazing. Frankly I think the story could have been a bit stronger but we learnt enormous amount about the technology, what you can and can't do and it requires such a different type of planning, to make a picture like that, some things that we'd never been acquainted with before. I think we know now how to really do it well.

Do you think Disney will continue to work on their own as well as with Pixar?
I hope we have an eternal association with Pixar and John Lasseter, we had to make a studio to make Dinosaur, at the same time as we were making the film - it was a hand in glove type of deal. The digital studio is there now to create more product and also to be a big part of our whole live action operation.

What was the thinking behind releasing Fantasia on Imax first?
We were trying to make an event out of it because it was an event the first time around in the 1940's. They invented this very complex stereophonic sound system for it and took it to a very limited number of theatres with Walt's original idea that it would play forever, we'd make new segments and it would be an eternal work in progress. We were just looking for ways to turn this new one into an event, it would have had a hard time as a normal release I think and our way has made it enormously successful and it's played in almost every Imax theatre in the world now!

Are there plans to create more segments?
Yes, there are plans and there are a few pieces in production as we speak which really thrills me because that was the momentum I was hoping to create with the first one.

How long do you think they'll take?
2005 or 2006 at a good guess.
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