×

Women in Animation (WIA) has announced the program for its 6th World Summit, an annual event held in conjunction with the Annecy International Animation Festival.

Based on the theme Gender Justice: A Global Call for Inclusion in Animation, the June 13 summit will include panels and conversations with key thought leaders, filmmakers and executives from around the world on the issue of gender justice for all, including men, women, transgender, and non-binary people.

The Summit will provide a welcome opportunity to address the question of labor shortage in the industry, according to WIA President Marge Dean: “I’m thrilled that our sixth World Summit theme will look at how gender justice can be a solution to some of the issues plaguing the industry including a very real labor shortage. We want to ensure that people of all gender identities have the power and access to opportunities to improve their lives.”

These thoughts were echoed by WIA Secretary, Julie Ann Crommett: “We are at an inflection point in our industry and world, where looking more inclusively at the concept of gender, questioning traditional power dynamics, and seeking to build a globally equitable creative community is urgent and necessary. In doing so, we widen the talent pool, create environments where all artists thrive, and tell the best, most exciting stories.”

The first panel of the day –entitled What does Gender Justice Look Like Around the Globe? – will welcome guest speakers Mounia Aram, founder and head of Mounia Aram Company, specialized in the promotion of animation films from Africa; Paula Boffo, director and comic artist at Argentina’s Ojo Raro, a media production company specialized in adult animation with gender and diversity perspective, and Maureen Fan, CEO and co-founder of leading VR animation studio Baobab Studios (“Baba Yaga”, “Crow: The Legend”).

Addressing the question of labor shortage in the animation industry, the second panel will feature Adrianna “AJ” Cohen, SVP at global CGI animation studio Mikros Animation; Ramsey Naito, president at Paramount Animation & Nickelodeon Animation: and

David Prescott, senior VP, creative at VFX and animation company DNEG.

Entitled Case Studies: Gender Inclusion Programs, the third panel will invite guests to discuss how their gender inclusion programs are increasing access for underrepresented people into the animation workforce.

Speakers include Deepa Joshi, co-CEO of Incessant Rain animation studios; Delphine Nicolini, artistic producer and co-founder of Les Femmes s’Animent, France’s highly active women in animation organization; Sajda Ouachtouki, senior manager in global public policy at The Walt Disney Company; Miles Perkins, industry manager at Epic Games; and Triggerfish producer Vanessa Sinden.

Wrapping up the day, leaders in creative talent development, animation and DEI will gather for a “Fireside Chat” to recap the day’s learnings and discuss the importance of inclusive talent development in addressing the needs for unique storytelling, artistic authenticity and labor shortage solutions in the animation industry. The panel will bring together Marya Bangee, VP representation and inclusion strategies at The Walt Disney Studios, and Netflix’ Chris Mack and Janine Weigold, respectively creative talent director and animated series EMEA Manager.

The Summit makes a welcome return as an in-person event after the two last editions were pushed online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After three long years, we are very happy to once again host an event that has become essential to accompany the changes in our industry,” said Mickaël Marin, CEO of CITIA.

“Working with WIA – an organization whose mission is to bring real equity to all people in our industry – is always inspiring. I warmly thank all the associations – including Les Femmes s’Animent, MIA, FIAPF…. – that work every day for change.”

In addition to the Summit program, WIA and the International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations (FIAPF) will be hosting six delegations of filmmakers selected for Stories x Women, a program aimed at increasing the diversity of voices in animation globally.

Chosen from a pool of candidates from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, the candidates – who benefited from mentoring sessions with internationally acclaimed animation experts as well as one-to-one coaching sessions to help them prepare – will pitch their projects in Annecy.

Filmmakers from Argentina, Colombia, Peru, South Africa and Thailand are represented this year. The program is sponsored by Walt Disney Animation Studios with support from Triggerfish Animation.

The Women in Animation World Summit runs at the Impérial Palace Hotel in Annecy on June 13 and will be live-streamed on the WIA website.