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Speakers Announced for Women in Animation World Summit at Annecy

Program lineup and initial list of presenters for third annual symposium, taking place June 10, highlight important focus on “Belonging” and critical topics affecting women working in the animation industry.

LOS ANGELES and PARIS -- Women in Animation (WIA) and Les Femmes s’Animent (LFA) are pleased to announce the program lineup and initial list of speakers for the third Women in Animation World Summit, in conjunction with the Annecy International Animation Festival and MIFA 2019. The theme of this year’s Summit is “Belonging.”

The Women in Animation World Summit, taking place on Monday, June 10th at the Impérial Palace Hotel (Allée de l'Impérial, 74000 Annecy), will feature a day-long symposium of panels and discussions spotlighting top executives, filmmakers and artists from around the world covering a range of topics affecting women working in the animation industry today. As with last year’s summit, this year’s event will be livestreamed.

Julie Ann Crommett, Vice President of Multicultural Audience Engagement at the Walt Disney Studios and WIA Secretary, will kick off the summit and introduce the day’s theme of “Belonging,” the feeling of being personally accepted, respected, included and supported in your workplace.

The day will lead with a presentation by Dr. Stacy L. Smith, who will announce the results of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s landmark study focused on women in the animation industry, entitled “Increasing Inclusion in Animation.” The study was conducted in partnership with Women in Animation and examines the percentage of women working in key animation roles in film and television, the barriers and opportunities facing women as they pursue careers in animation, and the classroom-to-career pipeline for women.

“As the leading voice in the advocacy of women in animation, we had a desire to pair with a highly-respected research institution,” says Women in Animation President Marge Dean. “For the last year, we have had the honor and privilege to collaborate with Dr. Smith and USC Annenberg on this groundbreaking study. We look forward to bringing the findings of this important study to the Annecy Animation Festival, the most important global gathering of the animation industry, and discussing next steps with leaders in the world of animation from then on.”

Dr. Smith, Founder and Director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, commented, “Partnering with Women in Animation allowed us to engage in a broad investigation of the animation industry to understand the particular challenges facing women, animation companies, and educational organizations at this juncture. We are excited to share the results of the study and to work together to create solutions that move the industry forward and accelerate change.”

In the afternoon, WIA Vancouver’s Chair, Rose-Ann Tisserand, will present WIA Vancouver and Women in View’s “BC’s Five in Focus: Animation,” a program featuring the chapter’s innovative program to aid five women across various filmmaking roles – screenwriting, directing, producing, art direction and animation direction – in creating original animated shorts.

The day will close with a keynote presentation given by the French actress/producer, Julie Gayet. Gayet will talk about her advocacy for women in general and in the film business and share insights from the making of her film, Cinéast(e)s.

In addition to these key presentations, the Summit will also feature a series of panels throughout the day focused on the theme of “Belonging.” These panels will include:

In “Creating an Environment of Belonging,” a distinguished panel of top male leaders in the field will engage in a discussion of ally-ship and how men can help to drive the gender inclusion conversation forward. The panel will speak from personal experience, sharing what they’re doing to make change. Moderated by Dean, who is also Head of Crunchyroll Studios, speakers will include:

  • Eamonn Butler, Director of Animation, Cinesite
  • Ricardo Curtis, President and Co-Founder, House of Cool
  • Michael Fukushima, Studio Head, English Animation, National Film Board of Canada
  • Peter Gal, Chief Creative Officer, Television, DreamWorks Animation
  • Chuck Peil, Executive Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, ReelFX

The “Supporting Students of Animation” panel will discuss how to handle the high volume of female students, many from abroad, and managing the cultural and technical challenges in animation schools. It will seek to answer the question “How can we be more supportive of the unique needs of female and non-binary students entering the workplace?” The panel will share some best practices and ideas of how to make students feel like they already belong to the community of the industry they are trying join after school. Moderated by Brendan Burch, COO Six Points Harness, and Chair of Students, Women in Animation, speakers will include:

  • Hsiang Chin Moe, Director of Operations, School of Visual Arts and Co-Lead, WIA NY Chapter
  • Deb Stone, Director, Recruiting & Talent Development, Blue Sky Studios and Co- Lead, WIA NY Chapter
  • Additional speakers to be confirmed

In the Intergenerational Perspective on Belonging panel, moderator Alison Mann, VP of Creative and Strategy, Sony Pictures Animation, will lead a conversation about the importance of diverse perspectives among generations and what working together means today in the animation industry. Speakers will include:

  • Jill Culton, Writer/Director, Abominable
  • Elizabeth Ito, Creator, City of Ghosts, Netflix
  • Natalie Nourigat, Story Artist, Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Additional speakers to be confirmed

“The Face of Animation Leadership in Hollywood” panel will end the day and feature top studio heads discussing their roles in influencing and implementing change and how they are working to create a culture at their studios that drives forward creative content that promotes diversity, inclusion and belonging. Moderated by Ann Le Cam, SVP Talent and Studio Planning, Walt Disney Animation Studios, speakers will include:

  • Allison Abbate, Executive Vice President, Warner Animation Group
  • Kristine Belson, President, Sony Pictures Animation
  • Margie Cohn, President, DreamWorks Animation
  • Melissa Cobb, Vice President, Original Animation, Netflix
  • Andrea Miloro, Co-President, Twentieth Century Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios
  • Ramsey Naito, Executive Vice President, Animation Production & Development, Nickelodeon

“It is a great honor for Annecy to welcome and support, for the third consecutive year, the Women in Animation World Summit, said Mickaël Marin, CEO of CITIA, the organization behind the Annecy International Animation Festival and MIFA. “I would like to warmly thank the WIA team, the LFA team and all the sponsors who work so hard to make this day a success to enable more parity and inclusion in our industry. Together we will make it!”

Corinne Kouper, President of Les Femmes s’Animent (LFA) added, “LFA is thrilled to be co-hosting the Women in Animation World Summit for the 3rd year in Annecy. We feel we are now in a new phase in which a more balanced world is taking root. This change is quite tangible and inevitable, and we never thought this would happen so fast. We are very excited to see new rules and reflexes emerging. I am very happy to explore this year’s joyful theme of increasing our sense of Belonging rather than defining our differences--it will be a great Annecy!”

As with past years’ summits, this year’s summit logo was designed and created by a highly-talented and gifted artist working in animation today--award-winning production designer, Celine Desrumaux (The Little Prince, Google Spotlight Stories’ Age of Sail and Netflix/Pearl’s upcoming Over the Moon). “Celine took some time to really consider the theme behind the day, coming up with a beautiful graphic that shows the intersection and universality of women working in the field today,” offered WIA Vice President and Producer, Klaus and Escape from Hat, Jinko Gotoh. Added Celine, Working in watercolor, I can let the colors flow together a bit, while still allowing them to retain their powerful individual presence. In my artistic perspective, it’s a representation of the diversity of women in our community, and how we inspire one another.”

Additionally, WIA and Les Femmes s’Animent (LFA) will once again host a series of breakfast meetings open to all badge-holders (Festival and MIFA) from Tuesday, June 11 to Friday, June 14 from 8:30-10:00am at the Chill Out Zone at MIFA (Espace Détente). These meetings will be informal and inspiring gatherings dedicated to promoting and building a better place for women in animation. Each day will cover new topics and feature an exciting lineup of top female animation talent from around the world.

Additional announcements regarding the Summit to follow, check here for more details and updates.

Source: Women in Animation

Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.