Program to broaden opportunities for underrepresented talent and bring new voices and stories to the animation space is partnering with Veterans in Media and Entertainment and IllumiNative to identify candidates from the veteran and Native American / Alaskan Native communities.
Netflix has just announced the second session of its Netflix Animation Foundation Program, a mentorship program for early creatives - particularly from underrepresented communities – looking to break into the animation industry. For this latest iteration, the streamer is focusing on Native and Veteran communities, teaming up with Illuminative and Veterans in Media and Entertainment (VME) to identify candidates for the program.
Stories like Spirit Rangers, Maya and the Three and Over the Moon provide new perspectives and help bring people closer together; with better representation in the animation industry, the streamer is hoping to bring more of these types of stories to the world.
Determined to continue producing these types of stories, last year Netflix launched this mentorship program with the goal of building equity and access to underrepresented early creatives, giving them an opportunity to bring their unique and varied stories to the animation space. The streamer’s first four-month mentorship program included participants from Latinx in Animation and Exceptional Minds.
According to Netflix, “We’re encouraged by the results of our first foundation program with Latinx in Animation and Exceptional Minds. The program had 74 mentees and 19 Netflix Animation mentors, focused on art and visual development, storyboarding, CG/VFX, writing and production management. The goal of the program is to build equity and increase access for underrepresented early creatives.”
As part of the program, participants will be matched to a mentor from Netflix Animation Studio. Mentees will receive mentorship on the industry, career advice, and guidance with editing and curating professionally styled portfolios, writing samples, or resumes, so they are prepared to apply for internships, training programs, and entry level positions within animation.
This latest session will include participants selected with the help of the following organizations:
- Veterans in Media and Entertainment (VME) is a professional association of U.S. military veterans working in, or aspiring to work in, media and entertainment. Members work in all facets of the industry from above the line creatives to positions in studios, networks, agencies, production companies, trades, and unions/guilds. With over 4,800 members across the nation, VME’s footprint spans film, television, commercials, digital media, theater, music, animation, and gaming.
- IllumiNative is a national, Native woman-led nonprofit dedicated to increasing the visibility of Native peoples and challenging and changing the narrative about Native peoples. “We envision a future where the self-determination and sovereignty of Native peoples is respected, where our children see themselves reflected in the world around them, and where Native peoples author and drive our own narrative.”
Commenting on participation in last year’s program, Valeria Valdes Cosilion (Production Group) said, “This was such a wonderful program! I came in not knowing much about the animation industry and production management for animation, but now, I am leaving with a wealth of knowledge that my mentor, Pam Coats, bestowed on me.” Yuri Pineda (Story Group) added, “I'm happy to have had the pleasure to connect with other artists; they have been very encouraging and have also helped me push myself. Throughout the mentorship, I gained a greater understanding of how to push storytelling, acting, staging, and composition within my storyboards.”
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.