Variety and Nickelodeon are joining forces again for this year’s 10 Animators to Watch event in Los Angeles. The in-person cocktail party and awards ceremony on Oct. 6 will celebrate rising creators in the animation space who are leaving their mark on the industry.
This year’s class of trailblazing storytellers includes: Fawn Veerasunthorn, director, “Wish” (Walt Disney Animation Studios, 2023); Karissa Valencia, creator and showrunner, “Spirit Rangers”; Juston Gordon-Montgomery, creator, “Invincible Fight Girl”; Christian Linke and Alex Yee, creators, “Arcane”; Neeraja Raj, creator, “Meow or Never”; Shea Fontana, co-EP, “Monster High”; Arthur Fong, art director, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”; Sergio Valdivia, stop-motion animator, “Pinocchio”; Natasha Kline, creator, “Primos”; and Joe Bennett, director, writer, animator, “Scavengers Reign.”
Additionally, Pixar Animation Studios filmmaker Domee Shi will receive the 2022 Creative Impact in Animation award. Shi is one of the most exciting voices in animation. A former Variety 10 Animators to Watch recipient, she has had a hand in creating some of the most important animated features in recent years, including “Inside Out,” “Incredibles 2” and “Toy Story 4.” In 2019, she won an Oscar for “Bao,” which she directed and wrote. This year, Shi’s feature directorial debut, “Turning Red,” marked an exciting new peak in her already impressive career. She is also a part of Pixar’s creative leadership team, where, in her role as creative vice president, she is involved in key creative decision-making at the studio and consults on films in both development and production.
“I am so grateful to be partnering with Variety for the eighth year as we celebrate the best of the best in animation,” said Ramsey Naito, president of animation at Nickelodeon and Paramount. “This event is an amazing display of the incredible work that so many artists pour their hearts into, and we at Nickelodeon are proud to provide a platform for their creativity. A big congratulations goes out to all the incredible artists on this year’s list, especially Shea Fontana and Arthur Fong for their artistic vision and dedication to their work on ‘Monster High’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.’”
“We are excited to partner with Nickelodeon on our 10 Animators to Watch event for the eighth consecutive year. The program continues to shine a light on the most promising new voices in animation” said Steve Gaydos, EVP, Content, Variety. “The alumni from our 10 to Watch lists have gone on to accomplish exciting new career highs, as evident in this year’s Creative Impact in Animation recipient and previous 10 to Watch honoree, Domee Shi.”
The event will coincide with Variety’s annual 10 Animators to Watch feature, publishing on Oct. 4, spotlighting the most exciting new voices in animation. The profiles will dive into the honorees’ creative process and highlight what new projects we can expect to see from them in the future.
The event will be covered in print as well as online at Variety.com and across Variety’s social media.