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.