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The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. and around the world has reshaped the agenda at the first ever Women in Animation Virtual Summit, held in conjunction with Annecy 2020 Online, this year’s digital version of the Annecy International Animation Festival and Mifa 2020.

Unveiled by Women in Animation on Thursday, the summit’s program will cover both the global call for justice and the COVID-19 crisis and their momentous effects on the animation industry.

Under the motto, “Reimagining the Future: Race, Solidarity and the Culture of Work,” the Women in Animation Virtual World Summit will post exclusively on Annecy Online on June 17 and be available for festival and Mifa badge holders to view for the rest of the two-week festival.

WIA will make the Summit available to their members and more widely at a later date.

“The world discourse suddenly shifted when we all saw George Floyd brutally murdered by police in Minneapolis, USA” said WIA President Marge Dean. “We knew that we needed to pivot from our original program for the World Summit at Annecy to address the issues of work, race and solidarity.”

WIA will use the global platform to give women of color the opportunity to talk about their experiences and how they think the animation industry needs to change in order to be “fully diverse, inclusive and humane,” Dean noted.

“Animation is a platform to share all kinds of stories and messages,” added producer and WIA vice president Jinko Gotoh. “In today’s world, we need authentic voices from people of color now more than ever. The MeToo movement finally broke the silence around sexual discrimination. I truly hope that the current movement for social justice does the same for anti-blackness and racism.”

Part One of the summit will open with Dean introducing the event’s focus on racism and solidarity in the industry and in the world at large while examining what the future of animation could look like. Panels include:

Black Women in Animation: Looking to the Future
Anchored in personal stories and experiences, the panel will address being colorblind versus color affirmative, the importance of finding voice on both the executive and creative side, and the power of animation to make an impact.

Moderator: Jamal Joseph (professor of film, Columbia University; producer/director/writer/activist)

Speakers: Jade Branion (writer), Camille Eden (VP, animation recruitment and talent development, Nickelodeon Animation Studio), Misan Sagay (screenwriter, Netflix), Karen Rupert Toliver (executive VP, creative, Sony Pictures Animation)

Intersectionality and Solidarity
Set against the backdrop of what appears to be the largest civil rights protest in history, the discussion will cover a wide range of life experiences, allyship in action and lessons about effective solidarity.

Moderator: John Agbaje, (director of Animation & Development, FX Networks)

Speakers: Julie Ann Crommett (VP, Multicultural Audience Engagement, The Walt Disney Studios; secretary of WIA), Erika Dapkewicz (lead editor, Sony Pictures Animation), Shari B. Ellis (production manager, Gaumont Animation), Kaitlyn Yang (founder, Alpha Studios)

Part Two of the summit focuses on changes brought about by virtual collaboration as forced into play during a pandemic. Panels include:

Artists Creating from Home: A Series of Home Studio Visits
A collection of pre-recorded clips offering a glimpse into artists workspaces from around the world.

Producing in a Rapidly Changing World
Women leaders from various disciplines in the industry will share their perspectives and best practices in a world challenged by pandemic.

Moderator: Jinko Gotoh (VP, WIA, Netflix producer)

Speakers: Rita Mbanga (producer, Sandcastle Studios/Sunrise Productions), Carina Schulze (Chatrone partner; executive producer/writer), Osnat Shurer (producer, Walt Disney Animation Studios), Christina Lee Storm (founder, Asher XR), Niki Lopez (creator and co-executive producer, Nickelodeon)

Artists Creating from Home: A Series of Home Studio Visits
A collection of pre-recorded clips offering a glimpse into artists workspaces from around the world.

Annecy 2020 Online runs June 15-20.