WIA Mentorship Program – Spring 2022: Join Us For A Q&A Session

WIA Mentorship Program applications will open February 16, 2022.

Are you interested in joining us for our Spring 2022 session but aren’t sure how to apply?  Then join us for an informational, virtual discussion about our application process.


DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022

TIME: 6 PM PST

WHERE: Zoom meeting (registration link below)


The WIA Mentorship program connects women, nonbinary and transgender people at all levels to great mentors who can help them achieve their career goals/the next steps in their careers.

We’re very proud of the success achieved with this program in the years that it’s been active. Both Mentees and Mentors have experienced great benefits to their careers in animation, and the program continues to grow each year.

WIA advocates for a world in which people of all gender identities share fully in the creation, production and rewards of animation, resulting in richer and more diverse entertainment and media that move our culture forward. We provide the resources and connections to make it happen. 

Click the button below to register

WIA President Marge Dean Appointed Head Of Skybound Entertainment’s Animation Studio

WIA President Marge Dean Appointed Head Of Skybound Entertainment's Animation Studio

We’re thrilled to share WIA president Marge Dean has been appointed as Head of Skybound Entertainment’s Animation Studio.

“I’ve always admired Skybound’s creator-driven spirit, and it’s a company rich with content. I’m excited to join the company during this phase of growth and evolution, and look forward to working closely with Skybound leadership and creative teams on these amazing properties.” — Marge Dean, WIA President

Marge is an Emmy-winning animation industry veteran who is known for building studios and animation pipelines. She has been responsible for the design or re-design of several studios large and small, including Columbia-TriStar TV, Warner Bros. Animation, Mattel’s Playground Production, Omation (Steve Oedekerk), Technicolor Animation and Wildbrain Entertainment.

She will be overseeing production on all of Skybound’s original animated content which includes the company’s partnership with Amazon Studios on production of the second and third seasons of its hit animated series Invincible, which she will exec produce alongside Skybound founders Robert Kirkman and David Alpert, Catherine Winder and Simon Racioppa.

Read more about this great news here.

‘Knowhere, USA’ Chosen As Sony Talent League Top Three

'Knowhere, USA' Chosen As Sony Talent League Top Three

A huge congratulations is in order for WIA mentee Elizabeth Dix and Gracie Dix’s project, “Knowhere, USA,” as their short was selected as Top Three in the World at Sony Talent League by THU!

Elizabeth took to Instagram  (@elizabethdix) to share the news last week with an added message for all their supporters:

“Knowhere is IN!!!! We are so beyond excited (and nervous) and grateful for this opportunity and cannot wait to get started!!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the votes, shares, and sweet messages you guys sent our way🥰 We are truly shocked.”

Congratulations, Elizabeth and Gracie! Well deserved!

Take a look at “Knowhere, USA” here.

Why Are There So Few Women Working In Visual Effects?

Our very own WIA Vice President, Jinko Gotoh, was interviewed for this great package from The LAist and KPCC about the lack of women and gender diversity within the VFX industry and about our recent report conducted with USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Invisible in Visual Effects: Understanding the Prevalence and Experiences of Women in the Field.

The report found that of the 400 top-grossing films from 2016-19, there was virtually no change of women receiving VFX credits. That number was an abysmal 20.8 percent in 2016 and just 22.6 percent in 2019.

Read the entire LAist article here

Listen to the KPCC interview here

Highlighting these disparities is the first step in changing them. To read the entire Annenberg Inclusion Initiative/WIA report, click here.

Happy Holidays From WIA!

TO ALL OUR WIA MEMBERS

Thank you for being a part of the WIA family and for another wonderfully successful and exciting year! For the holiday season, the WIA team will be offline until January 3, 2022. We will meet again in 2022 with a lot of new ideas and new energy.

From all of us at WIA, we wish you all a fantastic holiday season with plenty of festivities and a marvelous New Year celebration filled with wondrous moments of joy! Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year!

CONGRATS, CORINNE KOUPER

Our friend and champion for gender equity, Corinne Kouper, was recently named Ecran Total’s 2021 Personality of the Year Award for her impact on French animation in her roles as co-president & co-founder of Les Femmes s’Animent, board member of ECAS and of course, as Co-Founder and SVP of Production & Development of leading European animation studio TeamTO!

“TeamTO is first and foremost a studio that produces some of the finest animation in the industry. However, we also want to be a company that can impact the lives of our community in a positive way by creating new opportunities and more diversity, being more inclusive, working against unfair practices and protecting the environment,” she recently told Animation Magazine. “It is an honor to be recognized by Ecran Total for this work that has been a part of our mission since the beginning.”

Along with launching various initiatives including creating mentorship programs supporting first-time women filmmakers, co-founding the first non-profit, free animation training program in France and focusing on creating more environmentally-friendly animation studios, Corinne has been extremely vocal about working with the Latin American region.

Read more about her achievements and her incredible work here.

Mentee Spotlight – Elizabeth Dix

We’re thrilled to share WIA mentee, Elizabeth Dix, and her sister, Gracie Dix’s, project, Knowhere, USA, has been selected as a Top Ten project for the THU and Sony Talent League! The worldwide challenge is open to creators between the ages of 18 and 35 who have an innovative idea that mixes more than one creative field.

Elizabeth, who was recently a mentee under the talented Creative Development Producer Mary Bredin, recently took to Instagram to express her excitement over being chosen.

The 2D animated show is geared toward children ages 6 through 11 and follows 11-year-old Mosi Morgan. Mosi and his family move from New York City to Knowhere — a secret, privately-owned town populated with global experts. Now, Mosi has to figure out how an ordinary kid like himself can ever fit in among so many extraordinary citizens.

The project is now up for public voting. The three most voted projects will get ten weeks of mentorships, funding plus a full ride to the next THU event for the grand winner.

To vote for Knowhere, USA, as a Top Three project, click here. Voting closes Jan. 3, 2022. 

Congratulations, Elizabeth and Gracie, and good luck!

Animation Industry Mourns The Loss Of Vera Pacheco

We at Women In Animation were saddened to hear of the passing of talented clean-up artist Vera Pacheco.

Vera was a well-respected hand-drawn artist whose animation career spanned more than five decades, with most of those years at The Walt Disney Studios. Pacheco’s earliest credit was as an inbetween artist on Pete’s Dragon, and she rose to the rank of cleanup supervisor on a number of films, including The Princess and the Frog and Winnie the Pooh.

Her span of work included time with Don Bluth’s studio, and also a stint in character finaling at Walt Disney Feature Animation on Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons. Short in stature but tall in talent and leadership, Pacheco’s style and supervisory guidance influenced hundreds of artists over the course of her illustrious career.

While her work lives on through her many animated films, her presence will be missed by friends and family.

Invisible In Visual Effects: Understanding The Prevalence And Experiences Of Women In The Field

Dr. Stacy L. Smith and Dr. Katherine Pieper

November 2021 / USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

A new study from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Women in Animation explores women’s participation in the VFX industry.

 The report, titled “Invisible in Visual Effects,” is the second in a partnership between  Dr. Stacy L. Smith, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Women in Animation to explore women’s participation across industries. The quantitative study examined women working in visual effects across 400 top-grossing films from 2016 to 2019, focusing on overall prevalence and leadership credits. The study further explored women working in the executive ranks across 60 VFX companies. Finally, awards recognition for women was assessed. The report also includes a qualitative investigation, which consists of 81 in-depth interviews with women in VFX as well as industry decision-makers.

Featured speakers regarding the study include:

  • Dr. Stacy Smith, Founder of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative
  • Dr. Katherine Pieper, Research Scientist, USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

The presentation of the study is followed by a panel discussion featuring Visual Effects industry experts moderated by Tracey Miller-Zarneke, WIA’s Chair of Legacy and Archives. 

Panelists include (in alphabetical order):

  • Leah Beevers, Global Head of Creative for all of Technicolor VFX at MPC
  • Erika Burton, President, Global VFX Production at DNEG
  • Michelle Grady, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Sony Pictures Imageworks
  • Janet Lewin, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Industrial Light & Magic
  • Amy Smith, Head of Talent in Film at Framestore
  • Dave Taritero, SVP of Visual Effects at Walt Disney Studios

As mentioned above, this is the second partnership between Dr. Stacy L. Smith, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Women in Animation to explore women’s participation across industries. The first study the two organizations embarked on together, Increasing Inclusion in Animation, was unveiled at the Women in Animation World Summit at Annecy in 2019.

A Letter From WIA President Marge Dean – June 2021

Dear friends of WIA,

We are gearing up for our fifth annual WIA World Summit at the Annecy International Animation Festival. Our first three summits were a trilogy of themes: Unconscious Bias, Diversity & Inclusion and Belonging. The 2020 World Summit, like the year itself, detoured a bit from our planned path, calling for a quick pivot to respond to the pandemic and to the on-going racial justice movement. 2021 sees us continuing those conversations and a call to learn and grow from the previous summits by examining “The Business Case for Diversity.”

We invited Triggerfish Studios and The Triggerfish Foundation to co-host the 2021 Summit with us because Triggerfish makes great content but is also committed to developing and promoting African animation talent primarily through mentorship. Theirs is a success story that we believe is important to amplify, and in our drive to push the intersectionality of the work WIA does, we are looking for other groups to partner and collaborate with so that our combined efforts can better serve our industry.

The World Summit keynote address by Dr. Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin is inspiring and insightful.  She recognizes and calls out the special opportunity that animation, in all its forms, has in impacting the world and promoting change. The very essence of our medium, where we have to imagine every aspect of it and build it from scratch, allows us to represent worlds the way we want them to be. That’s a powerful opportunity.  And she is a powerful speaker.

Another important discussion covered in the World Summit is about alternative paths to a career in animation. Or, as viewed from the other side of the table, it’s about alternative sources of new diverse talent. The assumed path to working in animation is through collegiate animation programs, but not everyone is able to afford the tuition.  The panel discusses successful alternative programs that have been established around the world to develop talent outside of the art school system.

We are also lucky to have Marvel Studios’ Executive Vice President of Production Victoria Alonso join us for a one-on-one conversation with WIA Secretary Julie Ann Crommett about her successes and lessons learned over the years. Two bold Latinas share an inspiring perspective about working in the entertainment industry, its challenges, and opportunities. There is even a little musical interlude.

The WIA World Summit will initially be exclusively available to attendees of the Annecy Animation Festival & MIFA and to WIA members through our website. The panels go live on June 14th and run through June 19th.

After June 20th, the WIA World Summit will be available to the general public through our website. As always, please let us know if you have any difficulty connecting.

While planning our biggest Summit yet has kept us busy over the last four months, WIA leadership has also spent a lot of time and energy soul searching about who we are and who we represent. We’ve gained important perspectives from new board members, chapter leadership, and general members.  We have looked at our constituency and our organizational identity.

We’ve come to really understand that the binary paradigm of gender is at the foundation of our social structures. This paradigm is at the core of sexism and is the springboard for the horrible impact such ideology has on all humans. There can be no true gender parity or authentic inclusion or embracing of diversity or effective feminism without dismantling the assumption that there are only two genders. At the heart of this all, we believe a challenge to the binary paradigm is a profoundly revolutionary act.

We are reviewing all aspects of our organization from our mission statement, to our website, to our call to action (50/50 by 2025) and even to our name with this perspective in mind. At this time, we don’t know yet what it all will mean but we think it’s critical that we listen, learn, discuss and figure out how this impacts the work we are doing and the changes that we want to see happen.

But one statement we know that we can make to define our organization with confidence and integrity is this:

WIA is a welcoming, supportive and open community for people of underrepresented gender identities – which includes but is not limited to all women, nonbinary and transgender individuals – as well as their allies across the animation industry.

We feel strongly that it is also important to recognize the courage of the people who are the pioneers in this movement. We know that challenging such a foundational concept draws out a most vile venom and life-threatening reality, yet there are thousands and thousands of people who have stood up and insisted on being their true selves against huge odds. Their bravery encourages us and will have a longtime impact in making all our lives fuller and more authentic.

We are still in the midst of this organizational discourse so your input would be appreciated. If this is a new concept for you, there are a lot of resources out there to learn more, and here are some suggestions:

I encourage you to engage in this important conversation. It will change the way you see the world and maybe how you see yourself.

Best,
Marge

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