Women on Top

Starting out with just a game-changing idea, a bulletproof business plan, or an electrifying design, these women are reinventing their industries and demolishing boys' clubs from the ranks of the military to Silicon Valley. They're all under 40, but those aren't stars in their eyes: They're planning a revolution.

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October 20, 2011 9:00 AM
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Peter Hapak
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Top Film Techie

Danielle Feinberg, 37, director of photography — lighting, Pixar

Résumé: Feinberg fell in love with computer programming in fifth grade; in high school, she was the only girl on the math team. She started at Pixar in 1997, just 22, in the rendering department, where animation is converted into a 2-D image; she was soon leading a team of nine men. Now, as a rare female director of photography, she's heading the 50-person lighting team for Brave — featuring Pixar's first female protagonist — out next summer.

Background Check: "In college, I took a class where we watched old Pixar animated shorts. I was starry-eyed realizing computer graphics could be a career and vowed that no matter what, I would do it."

Big Break: "In 2002, I worked for weeks lighting Finding Nemo's famous jellyfish scene. At the director's screening, 50 people crowded into a dark room to watch. Suddenly the director, Andrew Stanton, started clapping; then everyone was clapping. It was the highest compliment! In 2005, Andrew asked me to lead lighting on WALL·E. I was terrified, but there was no way I was saying no."

Charge!: "I relate to Princess Merida, Brave's protagonist. She's a tomboy who loves horseback riding, archery, and sword-fighting, and is carving her own path."