Charlotte (Lotte) Reiniger

Picture of Charlotte Lotte Reiniger

Who: Charlotte “Lotte” Reiniger, a pioneer in silhouette animation who created the oldest surviving feature-length animated film

Why She Dazzles: Lotte created dreamy films with scissors, paper, and her extraordinary creativity. She positioned a camera above her animation table to capture every single movement from her silhouettes, ultimately taking thousands of pictures. She was only 23 when she made the world’s first feature-length animated film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, which lasted 65 minutes. Walt Disney later popularized her technique, seen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty, however, her influence is seen today in other films.

One of Lotte’s first animated films, “Cinderella,” debuted in 1922.

Why You Need to Know Her Today:
Her animated films influence many animated fairy-tale films today … including Disney princess movies. A dream come true? It is. Take a look at what she did to make Cinderella even more magical. 

What She Would Say Today—Because She Said It Then: “I believe in the truth of fairy tales more than I believe in the truth in the newspaper.”

Picture of a Chanel silhouette brooch
“She had fairy hands,” said close friend and filmmaker Jean Renoir about Lotte’s work.

What She Would Wear to a Film Premiere Tonight: A silhouette brooch with a 21st-century twist. Add some sequins and gold to a black background and ta-da—a piece fit for a princess.

Picture of a card of a queen silhouette wearing a glitter crown by Verrier
Lotte’s films included fairy-tale royalty including characters Snow White, Rose Red, Aladdin, Thumbelina, and the Frog Prince.


What She Would Send to Her Friend: Lotte worked extensively with black paper and she used scissors to cut out silhouettes of her characters and their surroundings. She took thousands of pictures of each movement to tell a story, several of which were animated films based on European fairy tales. Queen of patience? Yes.

Picture of Neuschwastein Castle in Germany
“The fairy-tale king” King Ludwig II wanted his castle to be a retreat surrounded by breathtaking scenery.


Where She Would Instagram: Sleeping Beauty’s castle was real! Well, kind of. Neuschwanstein Castle, located on top of a hill in the idyllic Alpine foothills, is one of the most visited castles in Germany. It’s also the inspiration for the castles seen in Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Lotte’s own film, The Sleeping Beauty, debuted in 1954 with her visually stunning silhouettes.

Tweet This: #DYK Google Doodle honored Lotte Reiniger on her 117th birthday with an amazing animation of paper and scissors. Watch! #anewlady



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