Professors Catch Frozen Fever

Frozen-fever has reached the country's top academics as they prepare to meet in Norwich to discuss the hit film.

For the first time, some of the UK’s leading film experts will come together for an academic conference on Disney’s hugely successful animated movie.

The one-day conference, billed as a ‘Symfrozium’, is the first dedicated day of academic conversation about the award-winning film, widely recognised as Disney’s first venture into feminism.

Leading media experts will gather at UEA’s Norwich campus, with a packed schedule of talks on topics from the representation of gender roles Frozen to the music of the film?

Keynote speaker Dr Amy Davis from the University of Hull, a specialist in representations of gender roles in US animation and popular culture, will open the day with a speech on ‘‘Love Experts,’ Evil Princes, Gullible Princesses, and Frozen’, examining what kinds of love play what roles in the lives of the film’s characters.

Professor Paul Wells, Director of the Animation Academy at Loughborough University, will chair the morning’s session which also includes discussions called ‘Reworking the Superhero Genre in Disney’s Frozen and Wreck-it Ralph’ and ‘Disney Classics and ‘Poisonous Pedagogy’: The Fairytale roots of Frozen.

Despite being a day of discussions around a children’s animation, the topics at hand won’t necessarily be light-hearted.

UEA’s Su Holmes will share her research on links between the film and those involved in online ‘pro-ana’ (pro-anorexia) websites and communities, while Lindsay Steenberg from Oxford Brooks University will examine Frozen as part of the ‘Nordic Noir’ genre which has grown in popularity through films like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Sarah Godfrey, Senior Lecturer at UEA and co-organiser of the event with Su Holmes, said: “Frozen was an immediate hit and has been a talking point amongst film lovers and academics ever since.

“The film’s apparent privileging of female kinship over heterosexual romance has been seen as marking the film out from its precursors in the Disney ‘princess’ franchise.

“Whilst academic scholarship on Frozen will no doubt be forthcoming, such claims are yet to be subject to sustained interrogation. Indeed, whilst the film’s apparently unprecedented popularity and cultural impact has garnered significant attention in popular media discourse, the film’s significance for Film, Media, Cultural studies and beyond has yet to be visibly debated.

“This Symfrozium offers the opportunity to take up this interrogation and to reflect upon the issues and questions raised by the film in the context of its significant cultural moment since 2013.”

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