Study Shows Lack Of Women In Booming VFX Field

Once again, our very own WIA Vice President, Jinko Gotoh, was interviewed about the state of gender diversity within the VFX field. Variety recently reported on our study conducted with USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Invisible in Visual Effects: Understanding the Prevalence and Experiences of Women in the Field, which found that just 2.9% of all VFX supervisors are women and only 0.5% are women of color. The report also looked at how women were acknowledged for their work during awards season. Only four women have been nominated in the Oscar’s VFX category. Suzanne Benson won in 1986 for “Aliens” and nearly three decades later, Sara Bennett, VFX supervisor on 2015’s “Ex Machina,” took home the coveted award.

“[Getting women into VFX] needs to be done earlier because it’s all about STEM. We should say early that visual effects is a career path and then teach them the craft and the technology.”

— Jinko Gotoh, WIA Vice President

Read the Variety article here.

Highlighting these disparities is the first step in changing them.

To read the entire Annenberg Inclusion Initiative/WIA report, click here.

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.

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