From Hans to Frozen Will Document 70 Years Leading to the Making of Frozen

By  · Published on June 16th, 2015

Walt Disney

While we continue to see documentary projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo about movies that never happened, here’s one about a movie that did. It just took a long time. And was a lot different than was originally intended. From Hans to Frozen is the title of a doc currently crowdfunding (goal: $17.5k) that plans to follow 70 years in the making of what would become Disney’s smash hit Frozen in 2013.

The animated feature’s origins go back to Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” and beginning in the late 1930s, this was a story that Walt Disney himself wanted to bring to the big screen. Even up until this decade, Frozen was almost something completely different. Elsa was to be a villain, for starters, and this new doc will showcase some of her potentially more wicked designs.

If the idea of From Hans to Frozen sounds like it should just be an extra on the Frozen Blu-ray, you’re half correct. And the Kickstarter campaign trailer for this doc actually features a lot of footage clearly pulled directly from an extra on the Frozen Blu-ray titled D’Frosted – Disney’s Journey from Hans Christian Andersen to Frozen. You can see both below to compare.

But I’m sure filmmaker and cinema studies grad Bradley Bjornstad is just using that material as a jumping off point. He does intend to make a feature, and he does plan to interview historians and people involved in the making of Frozen to provide a fuller experience of those seven decades of idea after idea, including development of a Disneyland ride in the 1970s, which would have been weird not being based on a movie.

I would love to see Bjornstad make something that’s not just a companion to Frozen but also a counterpart to Persistence of Vision, the 2012 doc about the decades-long animated project of Richard Williams that eventually became The Princess and the Cobbler, aka Arabian Knight, but should have been a masterpiece titled The Thief and the Cobbler. That’s the story of an attempt that was finished but in a bad way, whereas Frozen was finished in a good way.

Bjornstad is apparently interested in looking at what might have been with movie projects, whether they turned out okay or not. A while back, I wrote about his previous crowdfunding effort, which involved a documentary about the original vision for Ghostbusters II and the creation of a new cut of the movie based on that vision. It was a bit too ambitious and didn’t wind up successfully funded.

Will From Hans to Frozen turn out better? We’ll see. For now, here’s the campaign trailer followed by D’Frosted and the trailer for Persistence of Vision:

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.