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Second Annual Women in Animation World Summit Unspools in Annecy

WIA to be honored with the Mifa Animation Industry Award

ANNECY, France— Women in Animation (WIA) and Les Femmes s’Animent (LFA) will celebrate the second annual Women in Animation World Summit in partnership with the 2018 Annecy International Animation Festival and Mifa Market. The event will take place on Monday, June 11 at the Impérial Palace hotel.

WIA will also receive the 2018 Mifa Animation Industry Award. It’s the first time such acknowledgment has been granted to an organization or institution.

The day-long symposium features panels and discussions. The first panel will be devoted to “Inclusion and Intersectionality.” Moderated by Julie Ann Crommett, VP of multicultural engagement at Walt Disney Studios, the event will include input from head of studio, Ellation, and WIA president Marge Dean, Corinne Kouper, director of development at TeamTO and LFA president, and Mickaël Marin, managing director of Citia, which organizes the Annecy Festival.

A second panel will be also hosted by Crommett, which will focus on the views of the next generation of female filmmakers, on where they feel it’s necessary to head, and how identity and genre issues are shaping content, and changing traditional perspectives. Panelists take in Solène Azernour (“Skylander Academy”), Fernanda Frick (“Here’s the Plan”), Hélène Leroux (co-director of “Back to the Moon”), Bin-Han To (co-director of “Revolting Rhymes”) and Fawn Veerasunthorn (story supervisor at “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2”).

Mark Osborne –director of “The Little Prince,” Happy Product CEO and WIA Chair of Male Allies– will conduct a third panel on what it means to be an ally, and how to be an influencer for a more equitable world. GKids CEO Eric Beckman, Aircraft Pictures co-president Anthony Leo, Fox Family development VP Roland Poindexter, director Carlos Saldanha (Blue Sky Studios) and Polygon Pictures president Shuzo Shiota will contribute.

“There are inequities on-screen and behind the scenes, and we all need to work together to help get to 50/50 by 2025,” Osborne told Variety. The panel will give practical examples of what allies are doing to help, and state goals and strategies for the future. Osborne added: ”I think lasting change will only occur if everyone strongly advocates for women. Male allies can be helpful in aiding other men to recognize their biases. We are all in this together. We can create a more creative, empowering and safe workplace for everyone.”

Directors Vicky Jenson (co-director, “Shrek”), Dorota Kobiela (co-director,“Loving Vincent”) and Nora Twomey (“The Breadwinner”) will discuss the experience of creating an award-winning movie, moderated by Bonnie Arnold, producer at DreamWorks Animation.

“While only the director and producer receive the award, there can be upwards of 600 people who contribute to the excellence of a film and are celebrated in that achievement,” Arnold said, calling the Annie Awards (ASIFA) are “a great honor, awarded by our peers in the animation community who understand the precision and challenges of the art form.”

According to WIA, women not only earn just 75% of the salary of their male counterparts, but consistently go unrecognized in their accomplishments and contributions.

Arnold pointed out that “award recognition for females has been very effective in shining a spotlight on the disproportionate gender statistics in the industry.”

Recognition has also provided a very public platform for this discussion, and has helped energize the conversation and stimulate organizational support for programs designed to bring about more equality, she argued. “As women, we need to take advantage of this moment, join forces and affect real change.”

The final panel of the day spotlight the importance of finding and nurturing diverse talent. It will be moderated by Fox Family president Vanessa Morrison; attendees include Jenny Gilbertsson, film commissioner, children and youth, responsible for the Swedish Film Institute; Fox Animation co-president Andrea Miloro; Paramount Animation president Mireille Soria and Cara Speller, an executive producer at Passion Animation Studios

Underlining the importance of diversity and gender parity in the fields of animation and family entertainment, Morrison told Variety: “Now more than ever, it is imperative that we take the time to examine how we can better identify and cultivate the most diverse talent pool and stories.”

WIA and Les Femmes s’Animent (LFA) will also host a series of inspirational breakfast meetings open to all festival attendees. The aim is to promote and build a better place for women in animation. Meetings will spotlight topics such as: “Starting Your Own WIA Chapter,” “Sisterhood Solidarity,” “Spotlight Brazil” and “Women Directors in Competition.”

“The Mifa Animation Industry Award is a big step, a reminder that women play a significant role in the animation industry. The ongoing support that WIA has received over the last four years from the Annecy Festival and Mifa has been pivotal in keeping the spotlight on Women in Animation, the organization as well as women themselves,” Marge Dean told Variety.

Last year, the 1st Women in Animation World Summit brought together more than 200 industry professional who spent a whole day devoted to discuss unconscious bias. “It was a turning point for the discourse in animation as well as a significant pivot for WIA as an organization,” Dean added, saying that in the subsequent 12 months, WIA engaged most of the animation studios in the Los Angeles, Vancouver and San Francisco areas.

Sponsors for the 2nd Women in Animation World Summit take in many blue-chip companies in Hollywood and France: DreamWorks Animation, Netflix, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Blue Sky Studios, Paramount Animation, Pixar, Sony Pictures Animation, Warner Animation Group, Warner Bros. Animation, and from France, the CNC state film-TV board, Cube Creative Productions, Cyber Group Studios, Piste Rouge, SACD, SPFA, TeamTO and the 22D Music Group.

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