Filmmaking can often be unpredictable. There are triumphs and challenges that coexist, shaping the narrative of both creators and their creations. Fawn Veerasunthorn, director of the recently released Disney’s Wish (2023), is no stranger to this dynamic.
While the film may be facing headwinds at the box office and received mixed reviews, Veerasunthorn’s journey to the director’s chair is a testament to resilience, determination, and the indomitable spirit of creativity.
The Journey of Fawn Veerasunthorn
Veerasunthorn’s story unfolds like a classic fairytale plotline, mirroring the essence of Wish. She recently shared her journey in an interview with The New York Times.
Two decades ago, she found herself on a path toward a medical career that failed to resonate with her passion. In a bold move, she reached out to her friend Paitoon Ratanasirintrawoot, a Disney visual effects animator, seeking guidance on how to pivot toward her dream of becoming a Disney animator in the U.S.
Despite initial rejections and the closure of the Florida animation studio where her mentor worked, Veerasunthorn persisted. Her journey echoed the themes she would later bring to life in Wish – the resilience to overcome obstacles and the determination to pursue one’s deepest desire.
Nowadays, Fawn is seen as a Disney success story. She was even named one of Animag’s 2023 Rising Stars of Animation for her work on Raya and the Last Dragon (2021).
— Disney Animation (@DisneyAnimation) March 24, 2020
Wish Struggles at the Box Office
As Wish grapples with a challenging run at the box office and critical feedback, it is crucial to recognize the silver lining that gleams beneath the surface. The film serves as a canvas reflecting Veerasunthorn’s unique perspective, rising from uncertainty into the director’s chair through sheer perseverance.
Acknowledging the challenges Wish faces allows us to appreciate the evolution of Veerasunthorn as a storyteller. Every setback in her career, from rejected Pixar applications to unsuccessful bids for positions at Disney, became a stepping stone toward her eventual success.
Instead of extinguishing her dreams, rejection letters fueled her determination to refine her skills by working on Illumination films like Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (2012) and Despicable Me 2 (2013) while aiming for something more.
The director eventually landed her dream job. She got to work as an animator on films like Frozen (2013) and as head of story for Raya and the Last Dragon before stepping into the director’s chair.
Fawn Veerasunthorn Is Inspirational
While critics may pinpoint flaws in Wish, viewing the film as a chapter in Veerasunthorn’s creative odyssey is imperative. Learning from criticism is an inherent part of any artistic endeavor; directors evolve and refine their craft through these challenges.
Beyond the current reception of Wish lies the potential for enduring impact. Veerasunthorn’s journey, much like the narrative of her film, is about persistence, determination, and the unwavering belief in the power of storytelling.
Aspiring filmmakers can draw inspiration from her experiences, understanding that setbacks are not roadblocks but rather stepping stones toward realizing one’s artistic vision.
Ultimately, the story of Wish and Fawn Veerasunthorn’s journey converge, creating a narrative that extends far beyond box office figures. It is a narrative of triumph over adversity, a celebration of cultural influences, and a reminder that in the world of storytelling, the journey is as important as the destination.