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USC, UCLA, CalArts & WIA Announce Final Program for ‘Breaking the Glass Frame’

Women’s Animation Symposium featuring keynotes, screenings, panels and papers set to take place October 5-7 at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

LOS ANGELES -- Academic powerhouses USC, UCLA and CalArts, along with Women In Animation, have announced the final program for Breaking the Glass Frame: Women and Animation, Past, Present, Future; a symposium designed to empower women and LGBTQ+ people by spotlighting female contributions to the field of animation and exploring solutions to sexual harassment, bias and lack of diversity that challenge working women within the industry and academia. . The symposium is set to take place October 5-7 at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts (900 W. 34th St. Los Angeles, CA 90089).

“There’s never been a better time for women to break through and take their rightful place at the forefront of animation, said Jinko Gotoh, Vice President of Women in Animation. “Numbers show that women make up over 65% of the students studying animation today. We need to make sure nothing stands in the way of bringing their unique and diverse voices to our characters and storytelling. We need to cultivate, to pave the way, and to smash all the barriers so they become our next creative leaders.”

The program for the symposium reflects a diverse and energetic mix of professionals from all areas of the industry. In addition to the previously announced keynote speakers and panel topics, the organizers have confirmed several papers being presented throughout the weekend.

Dr. Bella Honess Roe, University of Surrey, UK, who curated the papers, adds, “These papers represent the rich diversity of international research currently being undertaken on women in animation, including case studies of individual animators and analyses of the issues facing women working in animation, past and present.”

The final program for the symposium is as follows:


Curated by Lisa Mann and Sheila Sofian (USC), Celia Mercer (UCLA), and Maureen Furniss and Maija Burnett (CalArts). Followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers
Running Time: 80 minutes


10:00am -10:45am
OPENING KEYNOTE - Brenda Chapman, Academy Award winning director of Brave.

10:45am - 12:15pm
PANEL: Pushing for Diversity and Inclusion in Animation: Race, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Disability, and Age
A look at bias and discrimination taking place in the animation industry, and strategies for change. This panel draws on personal experience to discuss issues such as the lack of diversity in the workplace as well as harassment related to race, gender, sexual orientation and age.

Moderator: Jinko Gotoh, WIA Vice President and Producer, Warner Animation Group (Lego Movie 2)


  • Musa Brooker, Los Angeles based Director, Animator, Writer and Producer specializing in stop-motion animation and owner of Platypus Pictureworks
  • Sidney Clifton, Producer, Casting Director, Voice Director, and Development Executive in animated and live-action content; currently Creative Recruiter at Riot Games
  • Erika Dapkewicz, Lead Film Editor on Sony Pictures’ Vivo
  • Yvette Kaplan, Director, Producer, Story consultant, Writer, Animator and Character Designer; currently Timing Director on Disney’s hit revival of DuckTales
  • Caress Reeves, Visual Effects Artist for Stoopid Buddy Stoodio’s Robot Chicken and Supermansion
  • Kaitlyn Yang, Founder of Alpha Studios and Visual Effects Supervisor

1:30pm - 3:00pm
PANEL: Breaking through the Boys’ Club: Effective Strategies for Positive Change in the Industry
With recent developments related to the #MeToo movement, this panel explores past and current sexual harassment issues that exist in the animation industry. Representing the television and feature film animation industry, panelists explore how to navigate the traditionally male environment and offer ideas on transforming the animation industry.

Moderator: Ashley Long, Supervising Director on Paradise P.D., Netflix; Animation Guild Executive Board member and Anti-Harassment committee Co-chair


  • Megan Dong, Storyboard Artist and Director, Nickelodeon Animation
  • Jane Hartwell, Producer (The Croods, the upcoming UglyDolls), STX Entertainment
  • Valerie LaPointe, Story Supervisor, Toy Story 4, Pixar Animation Studios
  • Louise Nemschoff, Entertainment and Intellectual Property Attorney, Nemschoff Law Offices
  • Vanitha Rangaraju, Visual Effects Supervisor, Paramount Animation
  • Amy Winfrey, Director, Netflix’s BoJack Horseman and Tuca and Bertie, creator of web cartoon Hooray for Hell, and UCLA Animation Workshop Lecturer

3:15pm - 4:45pm

Paper Presentations: Group #1 – Independent Women

  • Alla Gadassik, “Graphic Chameleons: Autobiography in American Women’s Animation, 1970-1990”
  • Cristina Formenti, “Women and the Contemporary Animated Documentary”
  • Adriana Jaroszewicz, “Case study of Corrie Francis Parks”

Paper Presentations: Group #2 -- The Animation Industry - Film and Television

  • Kirsten Moana Thompson, “‘Quick, Quick, Like a Bunny’: Animated Labor, Color and the Ink and Paint Dept”
  • Amanda Konkin, “An Examination of Lauren Montgomery’s Influence on Mainstream Superhero Pop Culture”
  • Cooper Villalon Nelson, “You’re Standing on My Neck: An Analysis of Gender Inequality within Adult Animation”

6:30pm - 8:00pm
Screening and Panel: The Women of Titmouse Animation: The Inbetweens of Education, Employment & Everyday Life
Following a screening of the new short documentary, The Women of Titmouse Animation: The Inbetweens of Education, Employment & Everyday Life, a panel discussion will explore issues raised in the film, including the challenges of work/life balance, the role of mentors, and various gender-centric issues within the animation industry. Panelists will share their experiences from the classroom through their careers, offering a wide variety of perspective and advice to future generations of artistic talent.

Moderator: Chrissy Guest, Filmmaker, Assistant Professor, Media Arts, Sciences, and Studies, Ithaca College


  • Kirsten Lepore, Independent Animator and Director, Creator of the viral hit Hi Stranger
  • Amanda McCann - Line Producer on Costume Quest, Frederator Networks, Inc.
  • Shannon Prynoski - VP and Supervising Producer, Titmouse Animation
  • Helen Saric - Production Manager/Production supervisor; currently working for Wink Productions
  • Sakari Singh - Illustrator and Storyboard Artist, Titmouse, Inc.


9:30am - 10:30am

Paper Presentations: Group #3 – Animation Outside the U.S.

  • Michele Leigh, “Children’s Animation in Russia: Female Animators and the Birthing of a Women’s Cinema”
  • Xuetong Zhao, “Contemporary Chinese Female Animators Living Abroad”
  • Tashi Petter, ‘I am not Modern’: Anachronism and the Silhouette Animations of Lotte Reiniger”

Paper Presentations: Group #4 – Animation’s Futures

  • Mihaela Mihailova, “The Quill is Mightier than the Sword: Empowering Women in Animation Through VR Tools”
  • Stephanie Delazeri, “An Analysis of the Gendered Representation in Animation Instructional Materials”
  • Lynn Tomlinson, “The Creative Art of Mentorship: Yvonne Andersen, Amy Kravitz and Sheila Sofian”

10:30am - 11:30am

PANEL: Mindy Johnson: An Invisible History - Trailblazing Women of Animation
Author Mindy Johnson will discuss the historical role of women in the animation industry. Following her presentation will be a panel discussion with animation trailblazers Enid Denbo Wizig and Jane Shattuck-Takamoto-Baer who will offer their own perspectives on their careers in the 40s and 50s.

Moderator: Mindy Johnson, Author of Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation


  • Enid Denbo Wizig
  • Jane Shattuck-Takamoto-Baer

11:30am - 12:30pm

PANEL: Women in Animation (WIA) presents NextGen World View
Hear the views of several NextGen filmmakers on inclusion, intersectionality and the near future when 75% of the workforce will be NextGen. The panel will dive deep into how the newest generation of animation leaders see identity and creative work and how that conversation is shaping content and changing the industry landscape. The discussion will explore what each panelist is doing to influence that conversation, ultimately answering the question: Where does the next generation feel we need to head and what does that look like?

Moderator: Emily Nordwind, Vice President of Production, Paramount Animation

11:30am - 12:30pm

PANEL: Women in Animation (WIA) presents NextGen World View


  • Emily Dean, Writer/Director, Grade 8 Productions
  • Tiffany Ford, Story Artist/Director/Illustrator
  • Lindsey Olivares, Production Designer, “The Mitchells vs. The Machines,” Sony Pictures Animation
  • Janet Wu, Manager, Family Features, Netflix

1:30pm - 3:00pm

PANEL: Teaching + Mentoring: Strategies for Positive Change in Academia
Faculty from USC, CalArts, UCLA, Woodbury University, Cal State Long Beach, and Loyola Marymount University discuss their strategies for positive change in education, and how to assist students in navigating the industry after graduation.

Moderator: Maija Burnett, Director of the CalArts Character Animation Program


  • Soyeon Kim, Faculty at CalArts and California State Long Beach
  • Dori Littell-Herrick, Professor Emerita, Woodbury University
  • Celia Mercer, Professor, Area Head, UCLA Animation Workshop, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
  • Aubry Mintz, Full Professor and Head of Animation at California State University Long Beach
  • Jose Garcia Moreno, Professor of Animation, School of Film and Television, Loyola Marymount University
  • Christine Panushka, Full Professor, John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts, USC

3:15pm - 4:45pm

PANEL: Navigating the Cutting Edge of New Media
Women working in games, VFX, VR, AR, projection mapping and installations share their experiences in these traditionally male-dominated careers. Panelists discuss obstacles and provide strategies when encountering male backlash and female stereotypes.

Moderator: Virginia Kuhn, Professor of Cinema Practice in Media Arts + Practice, USC


  • Marianne Hayden, Animator at Naughty Dog, Inc.
  • Shih-Ting Hung, Film/Commercial Director at Ridley Scott Creative Group and Visual Effects Artist
  • Yo-Yo Lin, Brooklyn-based Installation Artist and Art Director at The Family, a multimedia production company
  • Paisley Smith, Filmmaker and Creator of Homestay, a personal VR documentary produced by the NFB Interactive Studio with Jam3
  • Raqi Syed, Senior Lecturer and MDT Programme Director School of Design, Victoria, University of Wellington, New Zealand


Brown Johnson
Executive Vice President and Creative Director at Sesame Workshop

For further information on schedule/tickets/location, visit

Source: USC/UCLA/CalArts/Women in Animation