Chris Buck
Buck in 2015
Christopher James Buck

(1958-02-24) February 24, 1958 (age 66)
Alma materCalifornia Institute of the Arts
Known forFilm direction, screenwriting
Notable workTarzan
Surf's Up
Frozen Fever
Frozen II
Shelley Rae Hinton
(m. 1989)
AwardsAcademy Award
Annie Award

Christopher James Buck (born February 24, 1958) is an American film director, animator, and screenwriter 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, Frozen II (2019), and Wish (2023). He also worked as a supervising animator and story artist 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

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: Pinocchio (1940).[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. He began his career as an animator with Disney in 1978.[citation needed]

Besides his work as a co-director on Tarzan, 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 feature 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) and The Black Cauldron (1985).[4]

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.[6]: 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 idea and authorized Buck to proceed with development.[6]: 6, 11  After it was put on hold during 2010,[7] the film was officially announced in December 2011 under the title Frozen, with a release date of November 27, 2013.[8] In turn, Buck persuaded Giaimo to come back to Disney to serve as the film's art director,[6]: 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 March 2015, alongside Cinderella.[9]

On March 12, 2015, Disney announced that Buck and Lee would co-direct Frozen II, the sequel to Frozen.[10] It was released in November 2019.

Buck directed Wish, which was released in November 2023.[11]

Personal life

Buck is married to Shelley [12] Rae Hinton Buck, an Emmy and Oscar Award winner in sound editing. They had three sons, Ryder, Woody, and Reed.[13]

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 just one month before Frozen was released.[12] 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.[12] 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.[12] The tragedy was an inspiration for the song "The Next Right Thing" in Frozen II, as well as a character named "Ryder."[14]

Reed lent his voice to Arnold, a little penguin from Surf's Up, directed by his father.[15]


Feature films

Year Film Credited as
Director Writer Animator Character
Other Notes
1981 The Fox and the Hound No No Character No No No
1985 The Black Cauldron No No Yes No No No (uncredited)
1987 The Brave Little Toaster No No No Yes No No
1988 Oliver & Company No No Yes No No No
1989 The Little Mermaid No No No Yes No No
1990 The Rescuers Down Under No No No Yes Yes No
1992 Bebe's Kids No No No No No Yes Animation Director
1995 Pocahontas No No Supervising Yes Yes No Storyboard Artist / Supervising Animator: Percy/Grandmother Willow/Wiggins
1999 Tarzan Yes No No No No No
2004 Home on the Range No No Supervising No No No Supervising Animator: Maggie
Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas No No No No No Yes Animation Consultant; Direct-to-video
2006 Open Season No No No No No Yes Special Thanks
2007 Surf's Up Yes Screenplay No No No Yes Voice of Filmmaker #2
2013 Frozen Yes Story No No No No
2014 Big Hero 6 No No No No No Yes Creative Leadership
2016 Zootopia No No No No No Yes
Moana No No No No No Yes
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet No No No No No Yes
2019 Frozen II Yes Story No No No Yes
2021 Raya and the Last Dragon No No No No No Yes
Encanto No No No No No Yes
2022 Strange World No No No No No Yes
2023 Wish[16] Yes Story No No No Yes

Short films

Year Film Credited as
Director Writer Animator Other Notes
1979 Doctor of Doom No No No Yes Voice of Pepe
1982 Fun with Mr. Future No No Yes No
1984 Frankenweenie No No No Yes Special Thanks
1987 Sport Goofy in Soccermania No No Supervising No
1988 Winter[17] No No No Yes Special Thanks
The Thing What Lurked in the Tub No No No Yes
1989 Palm Springs[17] No No No Yes
1990 Next Door[17] No No No Yes
1991 Box-Office Bunny No No Key No
2010 Not Your Time No No Yes Yes Himself
2015 Frozen Fever Yes Story No No
2017 Olaf's Frozen Adventure No No No Yes Special Thanks
2018 A Bug in the Room No No No Yes
2020 Once Upon a Snowman No No No Yes Creative Consultant


Year Title Credited as
Director Animation
1987 Amazing Stories No Supervising No Animation Supervisor - 1 Episode
1990 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures No No Yes Character Designer - 13 Episodes
1993 Family Dog Yes No No Series Director
1996 Quack Pack No No Yes Character Designer - 1 Episode


Year Title Role
2014 The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic Himself
2020 Into the Unknown: Making Frozen II Himself; Special Thanks


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 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 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature 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 June 16, 2022.
  3. ^ Howmann, Anders (October 10, 2014). "'Frozen' treat for 50". Orange County Register. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  4. ^ "Introducing Chris Buck". Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  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. Archived from the original on December 20, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Solomon, Charles (2013). The Art of Frozen. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-1-4521-1716-4.
  7. ^ "The Lion King Goes 3D". ComingSoon. June 22, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  8. ^ Sciretta, Peter (December 22, 2011). "Walt Disney Animation Gives 'The Snow Queen' New Life, Retitled 'Frozen' – But Will It Be Hand Drawn?". SlashFilm. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  9. ^ Gettell, O. (September 3, 2014). "Disney short 'Frozen Fever' coming in spring 2015, with new song". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  10. ^ Graser, M. (March 12, 2015). "Disney Announces 'Frozen 2'". Variety. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  11. ^ Hall, Maragret (September 10, 2022). "Ariana DeBose to Star in New Disney Film Wish". Playbill. Retrieved November 7, 2022.
  12. ^ a b c d Walker, Chris (February 6, 2014). "The Tragic Death of Local Musician Ryder Buck, and His Uplifting Story". LA Weekly. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Cohn, Gabe (November 29, 2019). "How to Follow Up 'Frozen'? With Melancholy and a Power Ballad". The New York Times. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  15. ^ Armstrong, Josh (June 11, 2007). "Directors Buck and Brannon on Surf's Up". Animated Views. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  16. ^ "Ariana DeBose to Star in Disney Movie 'Wish' From 'Frozen' Team". The Hollywood Reporter. September 9, 2022. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  17. ^ a b c Simon, Ben (December 27, 2012). "Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2". Animated Views. Retrieved February 26, 2017.