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Netflix and WIA Vancouver Expand Animation Career EXCELerator Program

Women in Animation Vancouver’s ACE program mentors, supports, and trains women to help develop and create their own original IP; applications for 2022-2024 program open at the Spark Animation Festival 2021.

Netflix Canada and Women in Animation Vancouver (WIA) are expanding WIA Vancouver's Animation Career EXCELerator Program (ACE). Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos included the news in his keynote speech at the virtual Banff World Media Festival; he also shared that the company will be acting as the premier partner of the 2022-2024 program.

The goal of the ACE program is to advance women and those who identify as women into key creative roles in animation, providing mid-level career professionals targeted and focused mentoring, support, and training. Through the program, participants are given the opportunity to develop, create, and own original intellectual property.

The new grant will see the current ACE program expand to applicants across Canada and will allow for additional key creative roles to be included in the program's offering. Currently six roles are covered in the program including writer, producer, director, art director, animation director, and composer. The initiative is open to all women, or those identifying as women or non-binary, with a special focus on attracting creators from BIPOC or underrepresented groups.

This collaboration is part of the recently announced Netflix Fund for Creative Equity; the streamer has committed to investing USD $100 million dollars over the next five years in external organizations with a strong track record of setting underrepresented communities up for success in the TV and film industries. The programs will help identify, train, and provide job placement for up-and-coming talent globally. 

"Canada's animation sector is second to none,” commented Sarandos. “This partnership will help ensure that the animation industry continues to thrive and include the experiences of Canadian women from diverse backgrounds.”

“WIA’s mission is to promote diversity and gender equity in the animation industry, with the goal of 50/50 by 2025,” added WIA Vancouver Board Member & ACE Program founder/co-executive producer Rose-Ann Tisserand. “We are thrilled Netflix has recognized the value of the ACE program and the impact it has had on the animation industry here in BC. We are excited that this new partnership not only allows us to continue the program but expand it to reach women across the country.”

Currently in its second term, the ACE program has proven extremely successful. All of the women in the first cohort have gone on to become leaders at animation studios across the country.

“ACE was such an amazing experience for my professional and personal growth,” shared 2019 ACE participant Maisha Moore. “The program allowed me to gain confidence, skills and connections that otherwise would have taken me years. Working as the short film's art director helped affirm my career goals, this role was exactly what I wanted to do. As a result of participating in the ACE program, I was promoted several times over and am currently the design department supervisor for a series at Atomic Cartoons. This year I am also thrilled to be mentoring for the ACE program. I cannot wait for the world to see what this year's talented team has brewing.”

Applications for the next iteration of the program will open at the Spark Animation Festival 2021, which begins October 28 and runs through November 7. All selected candidates will be announced in March 2022 on International Women’s Day.

WIA Vancouver ACE Program’s sponsors include Creative BC; Telefilm; Toon Boom; Autodesk Foundation; Canadian Media Producers Association - BC Producer’s Branch; Boughton Law; The National Film Board of Canada; Producer Essentials; Spark CG Society; Pender PR; and The Research House Clearance Services.

Additional information is available here.

Source: Netflix