Letter from WIA President Marge Dean – June 27, 2022

Dear friends of WIA,

After the birth of my second child, I knew that I didn’t want to have any more children. I had my tubes tied voluntarily. After the procedure, my soon-to-be-ex-husband and I got into an argument and he yelled at me, “You are now no different than a man!” I felt the verbal smack, but out of nowhere I replied, “You’re damn right!” I felt such a sense of freedom and power because the threat of pregnancy was lifted for me. And although there were many more hurdles to get over to be where I wanted to be in my career, I knew pregnancy was a fundamental point of vulnerability that was gone forever. Being able to control whether or not I would bear a child was completely empowering. At that moment, I believed that anything was possible for me.

The undoing of Roe v Wade by the US Supreme Court is a direct attack on that freedom and power for American women and anyone who can get pregnant. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her dignity. It’s a decision that she must make for herself. When the government controls that decision for her, then she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”

Control of reproduction has been a battleground forever, all around the world. Centuries ago, ruling power was driven by having adequate heirs, survival depended on having enough family members to keep things afloat, entire economies depend on a growing workforce, and so forth. Likewise, entire generations of people deemed undesirable have been wiped out due to the horrid practice of forced sterilization. The control of reproduction is a struggle that is at the core of who we are as humans.

But this is not just about babies or the right to life. This is about control of one of the greatest powers that over half the population has: the ability to reproduce. And until recently, this has been the primary value that women have had to society. We’ve come a long way in a relatively short time, and the Supreme Court action last week has now swiftly undone that work in the United States while setting the stage for similar actions in other parts of the world.

However, this is not just about reproduction. The decision has a much bigger context. Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurrence, specifically states that there are no liberty issues covered by the 14th amendment. This puts into jeopardy other interpersonal and private liberties that we’ve had such as the right to contraceptives, the legality of homosexuality, the right to a legal marriage regardless of sexual orientation, and even the right of interracial couples to exist.

If this feels like a personal attack, that’s because it is, at a very deep level. It’s personal for all of us, not just those who are in their childbearing years. We must realize that Roe v Wade was dismantled by an organized, committed, anti-civil rights movement that is campaigning around the country (and around the world) to take back the rights that previous generations have fought so hard to attain. Again, it’s about more than just reproductive rights. They are systematically working to take the vote away from millions of Black & Brown Americans, end gay marriage, and suppress other hard-won basic rights. To combat this movement, we must be more strongly organized and committed to holding on to the rights that we’ve inherited from the generations who went before us. Every single one of us who has any amount of time, energy and passion needs to join a local group (or start a group if it doesn’t already exist) and work together to protect the most vulnerable in our community, especially realizing that those facing socio-economic challenges will be the hardest hit in this wave of rights suppression. We need to become an even stronger COUNTERMOVEMENT because it’s the most effective way for most of us to exert power and influence. What can YOU make happen in the place that you live and work? How can YOU effectively make things better for your community?  How can YOU make sure things don’t get any worse?

If you feel scared and angry, know that you are not alone. It’s important that we hold on to hope, that we don’t give in to despair. Even though our reality could get worse across the board, we need to stick together, have each other’s backs, and take care of each other. WIA exists to amplify the voices of women, trans, and nonbinary people. Use the WIA community as a way to connect with others to share your fears and anger, and to channel your energy towards gender justice in a variety of ways: get connected to your local chapter or student club (or start one of your own); become a mentor; stay engaged in the conversations on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Use all of this as a means to ACT. We need to be seen and heard, we need to join our voices together as part of this countermovement to demand dignity and respect now more than ever.

While WIA is not a reproductive justice organization, we stand shoulder to shoulder with those organizations that have deep expertise in this realm, such as:

I encourage each of you to find a way to support these and other reproductive justice organizations whether by donating or volunteering. We’ve also created a list of resources for additional organizations, abortion services, and mental health services.

The easy part in all of this, in some ways, is that it doesn’t matter what you choose to do.  Anything you choose will be part of the movement and will work against future backsliding.  Social change comes from people banding together to make things happen. It’s not as hard as you think it is, especially if you’re part of a team.

Please recognize that this back-step is a big one, and we all need to act now to stop it from getting worse and spreading around the world. Taking action will help with your fears, anxiety, and anger that can at times be overwhelming, and it will actually make a difference in the forward movement of our lives, I promise.

Together in Resistance,

Marge

Statement On The U.S. Supreme Court Decision Regarding Roe V. Wade

Statement On The U.S. Supreme Court Decision Regarding Roe V. Wade

Today the Supreme Court of the United States has issued the crushing and devastating decision to end Roe v Wade which will disproportionately harm millions of Americans of underrepresented gender identities and specifically people of color.

In the United States, about 30% of people working in animation are of underrepresented gender identities — women, transgender and non-binary people — who potentially will see their right to safe and adequate reproductive care stripped from them. That’s why we’ve created a resource page of reproductive rights advocacy groups, reproductive health organizations and mental health resources.

We are fully committed to supporting the organizations and groups that have led and continue to lead the fight for full access to reproductive care. Since the initial decision draft was leaked in May, these local, regional and national organizations and advocates have been working hard to create a roadmap with resources, actions and next steps to share. To join the battle for access to reproductive health care, follow and support organizations like:

WIA Conversations: Dani Bowman, Autism Advocate & Entrepreneur

WIA Conversations - Dani Bowman

Autism Advocate & Entrepreneur

Dani Bowman founded DaniMation Entertainment before she attended high school and has worked professionally in the animation industry since she was 14. She has several award-winning animated shorts under her belt which have featured the voices of Joe Mantegna, Tom Kenny (Sponge Bob), June Foray, Debi Derryberry, and Stella Ritter, among others.

At age 15, Dani was hired to teach three summer animation camps by Joey Travolta’s Inclusion Films.  Since this beginning, Dani has expanded out on her own to teach more than 2,000  youth with autism animation in the US and UK at both summer workshops and classes in Los Angeles. Dani uses her passions of Public Speaking, Animation, Illustration, Fine and Visual Arts, and Teaching Animation to demonstrate to others on the autism spectrum that anything is possible.

Watch The Conversation With Dani Below

The International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations and WIA Select Six Delegates for Their Inaugural Stories X Women Program

The International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations and WIA Select Six Delegates for Their Inaugural Stories X Women Program

The program is sponsored by Walt Disney Animation Studios, with additional support from Triggerfish Animation.

Today, FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations) and WIA (Women in Animation) announced the six delegations selected for Stories x Women, a program aimed at increasing diversity of voices in animation globally. Stories x Women’s concrete goal is to support access to international opportunities for women animators from emerging national film and audio-visual animation communities of Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America who want to tell their authentic stories. Walt Disney Animation Studios sponsored the program with additional support from Triggerfish Animation.

These talented creatives, chosen from a competitive pool of candidates, will benefit from a series of mentoring sessions led by internationally acclaimed animation experts, as well as 1:1 coaching sessions that will prepare them to pitch their projects in the upcoming 2022 Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Market.

The selected delegations are (listed in alphabetical order by country):

La Sombra del Altiplano (Highland’s Shadow) – Argentina. A project led by Paula Boffo (with Patricio Plaza)

Cotton Bottom Town – Colombia. A project led by Luisa Fernanda Velasquez (with Andrés Felipe Rodriguez Rodriguez)

La Carpeta de Greta (Greta’s Journal) – Peru. A project led by Elva Alessandra Arrieta Tabuzo (with Saul David Anampa Mesias)

Pulane’s Adventures – South Africa. A project led by Tracy Stucki and Nompi Vilakazi

Rorisang & the Gurlz – South Africa. A project led by Dr Tshepo P. Maaka and Kabelo Maaka

Gannu – Thailand. A project led by Aimsinthu Ramasoot and Saraswathi Vani Balgam

Fully committed to supporting women creators, this first call of Stories x Women was open to up to two team members, which had to include at least one woman leading the project (i.e. producer, director or screenwriter).

“As the global voice for producers worldwide, FIAPF promotes all forms of film genres, including animation and its universal language,” said President of FIAPF, Luis Alberto Scalella. “With Stories x Women, we want to support the work of women animators from regions that are less visible in the international market. FIAPF has been working on diversity and gender equality for more than a decade, launching Stories x Women is an extra step in our collective action. We are extremely happy to run this initiative with Women in Animation and to benefit from the support of Walt Disney Studios and Triggerfish Animation, one of the pioneers in animation in Africa.”

“For more than 25 years WIA has been on the frontline of gender equity in animation, fighting for the empowerment of talented yet underrepresented artists and creatives in the industry and advocating for a more just and equitable system for our global field,” said Marge Dean, WIA president. “Stories x Women gives these deserving creators the support they need to bring their stories to life. We’re thrilled to be part of such a wonderful initiative that champions our mission of bringing together the global animation community to empower and advocate for people of underrepresented gender identities in all facets of the industry.”

“Having had the good fortune to work with voices around the world on both Moana and Raya and the Last Dragon, I’m thrilled beyond words to be part of this fantastic initiative to support, mentor and invite this international group of talented female filmmakers to Annecy, the world’s foremost animation festival, helping them gain access to the resources and connections necessary to bring their unique creations to the screen, and inspire the next generation of women in animation,” said Disney Animation producer Osnat Shurer.

ABOUT FIAPF

FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) represents producers worldwide, gathering 36 national producers organisations from 29 countries across the globe. FIAPF aims to defend the creative, legal and regulatory interests of the Film Production sector worldwide. FIAPF also carries out the Accreditation Programme for International Film Festivals, which brings together 45 International Film Festivals from 28 countries on the five continents to bridge producers and festivals’ interests for the sake of films. Follow us on Twitter Producers and Twitter Festivals.

ABOUT WOMEN IN ANIMATION

Women in Animation (WIA) envisions a world in which women and people of underrepresented 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. The mission of WIA is to bring together a global community of animation professionals to empower and support people of underrepresented gender identities in the art, science and business of animation by increasing access to resources, creating opportunities for education, encouraging strong connections between individuals, and inspiring excellence. For more information or to join WIA, please visit womeninanimation.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.

ABOUT WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS

Combining masterful artistry and storytelling with groundbreaking technology, Walt Disney Animation Studios is a filmmaker-driven animation studio responsible for creating some of the most beloved films ever made. WDAS continues to build on its rich legacy of innovation and creativity, from the first fully-animated feature film, 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to 2019’s Frozen 2, the biggest animated film of all time, to our 60th animated feature, Encanto. Among the studio’s timeless creations are Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Frozen, Big Hero 6 and Zootopia.

For more information contact:

Fumi Kitahara, PR Chair, WIA
[email protected] 

or 

Beatriz Valenzuela, Communications Manager, WIA 
[email protected]

 

Florence Girot, Coordinator, Stories x Women
[email protected]

Calling All Members: Submit Nominations For WIA Member Snapshots!

Calling All Members: Submit Nominations For WIA Member Snapshots

Do you know an exceptional WIA member who deserves to be recognized with one of our WIA Member Snapshots? Nominate them to be highlighted in our monthly member feature. You can even nominate yourself!

The WIA Member Snapshot is not only a way for members to get to know each other, but it’s also a way to commit members’ experiences and perspectives to its archive.

WIA Member Snapshots offer a way to get to know our contemporaries, sharing stories of members at various stages in their careers to create a deeper sense of community around the globe, and to promote inspiration and connection at all steps on the professional ladder.


Click a button below to submit your nomination for either a fellow WIA member or for yourself.

Looking To The Future Of Art And Animation

Our very own WIA Vice President Jinko Gotoh made an appearance — virtually — at WonderCon in Anaheim the weekend of April 1-3. This was the first in-person WonderCon since it was temporarily canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was part of a panel entitled, “Developing the Future of the Art, Media, and Entertainment Industry” which aimed to discuss how industry leaders and government officials can best provide industry-level skills to students and access to jobs in the industry especially students in under-served communities.


Joining Gotoh on the panel were:

  • Nicole Hendrix, Producer, Executive Director of the BRIC Foundation, Concept Arts Association
  • Alison Mann, Talent Manager, Co-President of Fourth Wall Animation, Co-Founder BRIC Foundation
  • Steve Issacs, Education Program Manager at Epic Games
  • Matthew Waynee, Teacher 32nd Street USC Magnet School
  • Jewyl Anderson Clarke, San Diego County Office of Education

Read more about this amazing and important panel here.

6th Annual WIA World Summit – June 13th, 2022

We invite you to join us for an in-person and virtual day-long symposium featuring panels and discussions with leaders, filmmakers, and creators from around the world. We’ll cover a wide range of topics centered around this year’s theme:

Gender Justice: A Global Call for Inclusion in Animation.

Save the date and we look forward to seeing you there!

Honoring Deaf Creatives In Animation

We at WIA are thrilled to honor the trailblazing deaf and hard-of-hearing people who prove animation truly is for everyone!

Join us this month — and every single day — in recognizing these groundbreaking global artists’ courage, accomplishments and sacrifices which accurately and respectfully brought deaf culture to animation.

Carin Powell

Carin Powell is a 3D animator who has had single-sided deafness since early childhood. She is also the writer and director behind Liftoff, a short animated film about a deaf dancer. Powell worked at Anamon Studios in San Francisco, and through hard work and exceptional talent, became the lead animator and fix team lead on their short film, Let’s Eat.

Along with fellow creative Nora Ng-Quinn, Powell co-founded of Signing Animation, a non-proft organization created in January 2020 as a way to combat the bias against deaf and hard-of-hearing talent in the animation industry. Through her work with Signing Animation, she aims to demonstrate the singular talent of deaf and hard-of-hearing artists, the methods by which integrated teams can thrive, and the transformative power of storytelling.

Celebrating Women In Animation

Today marks the beginning of Women’s History Month and WIA will be honoring the trailblazing women who broke barriers and made critical advances for gender equity in the field of animation.

We recognize and celebrate their hard-fought sacrifices and accomplishments as they made advances in gender equity in the animation industry.

We will be highlighting some groundbreaking global artists and professionals as well as changemaking contemporaries who have shaped and bettered the animation field.

Lisette Titre-Montgomery

Lisette Titre-Montgomery is an art director with more than two decades of experience in the video game industry. She has led art studios large and small in the US, Japan, China, Australia, India, and the Philippines. She has contributed to some of the industry’s highest-profile games, including Tiger Woods Golf, The Simpsons, Dante’s Inferno, Dance Central 3, SIMS 4, South Park, and Transformers Age Of Extinction for Android and iOS.

Victoria Alonso

Victoria Alonso is an out Argentine film producer and is also the president of Physical, Post Production, VFX and Animation at Marvel. In January 2020, she was awarded the Filmmaker Award by the Motion Picture Sound Editors at the 67th Golden Reel Awards. In October 2021, it was announced that Alonso would be the top honoree at Outfest’s Visionary Award at the November ceremony at LA’s Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Gabby Zapata

Gabby Zapata is an artist who currently works at Disney Digital Network as a lead Visual Development Artist. She’s worked with IDW Disney, Nickelodeon, Digital Domain, Dreamworks Consumer Products, Dreamworks TVA, Spinmaster, HuevoToons Mexico, Disney TVA and Netflix. She is proud of her Latiné heritage and its influence can be seen in her art.

Reiko Okuyama

Reiko Okuyama was a pioneer in Japanese animation. She was one of the first women Japanese animators and her work was featured on the landmark feature-length anime Hakuja den released in the US as “The Tale of the White Serpent” in 1958.

As a young child, Okuyama spent much of her early life confined to bed due to a series of illnesses. That is when she developed her interest in drawing.

After dropping out of Tohoku University and working a variety of jobs, her uncle referred her to a job at ​​Toei Animation. At the time, she believed the animation studio was a children’s book publisher. Her drawing skills helped her secure a position with Toei Animation and led her to work on “The Tale of the White Serpent.” She was then promoted to second key animator on 1959’s Shonen Sarutobi Sasuke — released as “Magic Boy” in the United States. Okuyama continued to work for Toei Doga until 1976, eventually rising to the position of head animator.

Michelle Derosier

Michelle Derosier is an award-winning Canadian First Nations animator, filmmaker and producer who uses her talents to focus on First Nations issues. She is Anishinaabe from Migisi Sahgaigan First Nation in Treaty 3 Territory in Northwestern Ontario and is deeply rooted in her Anishinaabek culture. 

Her youth arts education project Eagle vs. Sparrow received an Honorable Mention for Best Canadian Short Drama at the 2011 ImagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival. She made her directorial debut with the The Healing Lens, a documentary about the power of art and culture in healing First Nation’s Youth which won for Best Public Service Film at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.

She is the co-owner of Thunderstone Pictures.

Sylvia Moberly-Holland

Sylvia Moberly-Holland made great strides in animation and beyond. She was a British-born concept artist, and illustrator who was the second woman to become a storyboard artist for Walt Disney Productions. She worked for Disney in the 1930s and 1940s.

Moberly-Holland is possibly best known for her work on the 1940 film “Fantasia.” She was Disney’s first woman story lead with the ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ fairy sequence for the animated classic. She also developed concept art on the “Little April Shower” sequence for the 1942 film Bambi. With Mary Blair, she developed concept art for “Baby Ballet,” a sequence intended for a planned sequel to Fantasia that never got made. 

Throughout her career at the Disney studios, Walt Disney held her in high regard, noting that she was “a highly talented artist with a marvelous sense for decoration and color” who “contributed immensely to the good taste and beauty of our pictures.”

Helena Smith Dayton

Helena Smith Dayton is a true trailblazer in animation. She was an American filmmaker, painter and sculptor working in New York City who used fledgling stop motion and clay animation techniques in the 1910s and 1920s, one of the first women animators to do so.

The first documented public screening of some of her animated shorts took place on March 25, 1917 at the Strand Theater in New York City. Later that year, she released an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

The former reporter worked as a canteen director for the YMCA in Paris during World War I, she created sculpted figures depicting scenes in France. These were featured in an exhibition by the Society of Illustrators in 1922 in New York City.

Honoring Black Trailblazers In Animation

As part of our ongoing commitment to advocating for and uplifting marginalized communities within the animation industry, for Black History Month — and every day— WIA would like to honor those trailblazers who not only broke the gender lines, but also the color lines.

We recognize their sacrifices, their courage and their accomplishments as true champions of racial and gender equity in the animation industry. We will be spotlighting on our social media channels a handful of talented and exceptional Black gender-diverse creatives who have shaped the animation field.

We will be highlighting some groundbreaking artists and professionals who have shaped and bettered the animation field.

Karen Rupert Toliver

Karen Rupert Toliver is an Award-winning producer and the executive vice president of creative for Sony Pictures Animation.

She produced the Academy Award-winning animated short film, “Hair Love,” directed by Matthew A. Cherry. She also also spearheaded the original feature “Ferdinand,” which was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature.

She has extensive experience in production and development, including 10 years at Fox Animation where she supervised the production of the “Rio” film franchise and the latest three films in the “Ice Age” series. She served as a production executive at Walt Disney Animation Studios on films such as “Brother Bear,” “Chicken Little,” and “Meet the Robinsons.”

Jasika Nicole

Jasika Nicole Pruitt is an out actor, illustrator and voice over artist. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she uses her platform to help advocate for those who do not have a voice. She has lent her voice to multiple characters on children’s shows like Freida on Adventure Time and Reina, for the Amazon Video animated series Danger & Eggs, who likes to build with her hands, is empowered by the world around her. She also voiced Kaya in the video game Alt-Frequencies. Jasika also stars in both podcasts, Alice Isn’t Dead and Welcome to Nightvale.

She was featured in the 2010 OUT 100 list in Out Magazine.

Carrie Hawks

Carrie Hawks is a gender non-conforming director and animator. Their first documentary short film, Delilah, won the Best Experimental Award at the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival in 2012. Their second documentary short film, black enuf*, included first-person narratives and memories and explores the expanding black identity. This animated documentary takes a playful approach to heavier questions of race, difference, and self-acceptance. The film won Best Animation at the First City Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Women’s Short film at the Out on Film Festival in Atlanta. 

Carrie has performed with Black Women Artist for Black Lives Matter in the New Museum of Contemporary Art and was selected for the Set on Freedom Artist Residency in the Queens Museum and awarded the Jerome Camargo Residency in 2019

Taylor K. Shaw

Taylor K. Shaw is the founder and CEO of Black Women Animate, a mission-driven animation studio that creates original content and offers production services to the industry’s top studios and production companies while working to bring more inclusivity to the animation industry. BWA has partnered with major animation studios including Pixar, Disney and Paramount on their diversity and inclusion programs and they are always looking for ways to uplift and spotlight women and non-binary people of color within the industry.

She was named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and she is a 2021 Shadow & Act Rising Executive Award Winner.

Breana Williams

Breana Williams is the co-founder and podcast co-host of Black N’ Animated, an organization that began as a podcast aiming to inspire, empower and educate Black creatives about the field of animation. She and her co-host and co-founder, Waymond Singleton, are building a community for Black professionals that work in various roles in the animation industry.

Breana has worked on CG Disney Junior TV series Mira Royal Detective, and currently is a Production Coordinator for Disney TV Animation on The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.

Kat Blaque

Kat is a transgender animator and civil rights activist who runs a YouTube channel focused on social justice issues, particularly around race, gender, the LGBTQ+ community and feminism.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, she earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts. Kat also manages a YouTube series called True Tea where she answers viewers’ questions on topics such as racism, transphobia, and black culture. She has described herself by saying, “I’m a woman, I’m black, I’m curvy and I’m trans. There are a lot of things that I deal with. When I talk about those things, I am literally talking about my embodiment of these intersections.”

In addition to her work on YouTube, Kat has animated several short films, including Sometimes You’re a Caterpillar.

Brenda Banks

Brenda was a silent force in the animation industry, having worked at Warner Brothers on their Looney Tunes television specials, at Hanna-Barbera for The Pirates of Dark Water, on Jetsons: The Movie, TV series Heathcliff, The Smurfs and several episodes and games for Fox’s Simpsons property. From 1997 to 2005, she was a dedicated layout animator for the King of the Hill television show. However, she may be best known for her work with Ralph Bakshi, at Ralph Bakshi Animation. According to Bakshi, Banks arrived at his studio in 1973 asking for a job, despite telling him that she had no background in animation. Impressed with her gumption, Bakshi gave her an opportunity and she worked on several of his films including Wizards, The Lord of the Rings and Fire and Ice.

In 2018, Banks received the WIA Diversity Award for her contributions to animation history as one of the first Black women animators, working in the industry for more than three decades.

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