The 2021 World Animation & VFX Summit, the leading West Coast event for staying current with the latest trends and technologies in animation and VFX, is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Hall of Fame awards and panelist lineup. The iconic Summit, taking place in person November 7 – 10, on the grounds of the historic Garland Hotel in North Hollywood, will kick off with the opening night gala on November 7th where the honorees will receive their awards. The gala will be followed by the three-day Summit, beginning on November 8th, featuring panels, discussions and networking breakfasts, lunches and parties with top tier executive and creative talent representing various aspects of the industry.

This year’s 2021 Animation Summit honorees are:

  • Gaumont Animation: International Studio of the Year Award — will be presented to U.S. President Nicolas Atlan and Exec VP of Creative Content Terry Kalagian.
  • Phil Lord and Chris Miller: The producers of Sony Pictures Animation’s acclaimed features Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and this year’s critically celebrated The Mitchells vs. the Machines.
  • Tom McGrath: Hall of Fame: Billion Dollar Director Award — will be presented to the acclaimed director of the two Boss Baby features, three Madagascar features and Megamind.
  • Chris Meledandri: 2021 Vanguard Award — will be presented to Founder/CEO of Illumination Entertainment and creator of Despicable Me, the world’s most successful animated franchise in cinematic history, which includes Minions, the fourth highest-grossing animated film. Other career highlights include being the founding president of 20th Century Fox Animation and producing the Ice Age movies, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and The Grinch, The Secret Life of Pets movies, Sing, and this year’s Sing 2.   
  • Chris Nee: Creator of Disney’s Peabody Award-winning series Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, We the People, Ridley Jones and Ada Twist, Scientist.
  • Jennifer Yuh Nelson: Acclaimed director of Kung Fu Panda 2 and supervising director of Netflix’s acclaimed anthology series Love, Death + Robots.
  • Bruce Smith: Trailblazing creator of The Proud Family and the upcoming Disney+ series The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder and director of Bebe’s Kids.
  • Cree Summer: Beloved animation voice actress, best known for her work on Rugrats, Kid Cosmic, Muppet Babies, DC Super Hero Girls, Vampirina, Voltron Legendary Defender, Dawn of the Croods, and many others.

The awards ceremony will be hosted by animation voice actress and Annie Awards regular Dina Sherman (Bleach, Naruto, Mama Named Me Sheriff, Marvel Future Avengers).

“We are thrilled the Summit is returning as a live event in November to celebrate the vitality of our business and community and to highlight the achievements of seven iconic game-changers in the animation industry,” says Summit founder and president and publisher of Animation Magazine Jean Thoren. “During the three-day event we will host a stellar line-up of industry innovators, creative talent and thought leaders sharing their vision for the future.  We can’t wait to see all our friends in the global animation community and learn about their innovations and fascinating projects.”

Must-See Panels
The eclectic lineup of this year’s Summit will explore many different facets of the animation and VFX industries. Panels will focus on advances in new media, co-production opportunities, the future of streaming and the changes in the TV animation landscape, the impact of VR and other technologies pushing the medium forward. Also on tap will be discussions related to more diversity and inclusivity in the industry, how to bring animated projects to the attention of streaming gatekeepers, and how to polish your portfolio and resume to land your dream job in animation.

The Summit agenda also features informative talks with the directors, producers and key creatives on this year’s animated films that are contenders for Academy Awards®.  Sessions showcasing the making of top animated features include Boss Baby: Family Business, Encanto, Flee, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Raya and the Last Dragon, Ron’s Gone Wrong, Spirit Untamed, The Summit of the Gods, Vivo and Wish Dragon. A spotlight on acclaimed animated shorts will include Blush, Demi’s Panic, Twenty Something, From the Tree, Namoo, Nona, Robin Robin, Steakhouse and Us Again.

2021 Animation Summit Featured Speakers:
The Animation Summit presents featured speaker sessions with distinguished creative forces to discuss prominent topics in animation and VFX. (Note: A complete list of Summit speakers is available here.)

Kim Adams, Co-founder, Adventure Lab

Chris Applehans, Director, Wish Dragon

Liz Bartels, Manager Global Content Planning, LEGO Group

Kristine Belson, President, Sony Pictures Animation

Kelli Bixler, Owner, Bix Pix

Elaine Bogan, Director, Spirit Untamed
Špela Čadež, Director, Steakhouse

Eric Calderon, Exec VP, Falcon’s Beyond Global

Beth Cannon, VP TV, DreamWorks Animation

Enrico Casarosa, Writer/Director, Luca, Pixar

Dan Clark, Writer/Producer/Director, Dan Clark Company

Melissa Cobb, VP of Kids and Family, Netflix

Margie Cohn, President, DreamWorks Animation

Aphton Corbin, Director, Twenty Something, Pixar

Kirk DeMicco, Director, Vivo

Megan Dong, Creator & Exec Producer, Netflix, Centaurworld

Camille Eden, VP, Animation Recruitment, Nickelodeon

Louis Gonzales, Director, Nona, Pixar

Jinko Gotoh, Producer, Klaus, Escape from Hat

Jorge R. Gutierrez, Director/Creator, Netflix, Maya and the Three

Jonathan Hagard, VR Director, Replacements

Chris Hamilton, President/Creative Director, Oddbot Studio

Emily Hart, Senior VP of Development, Disney TV Animation

John Harvatine IV, Co-Owner, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios

Chris Henderson, Founder, AstroNomical

Jasmine Johnson, Head of Studio, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios

Ben Kalina, COO, Titmouse Studio

Shyam Kannapurakkaran, VR Production Tech Artist, Stargate Studios

Christopher Keenan, Senior VP, Mattel Inc.

Cort Lane, Exec Producer, My Little Pony: A New Generation

Hillary Levi, Literary Manager, The Gotham Group

Gregory Little, Senior VP, Content, Mainframe Studio

Steve Loter, Exec Producer, Disney, The Ghost and Molly McGee

Tom McGrath, Director, Boss Baby: Family Busines

Paul Mezier, Exec Producer, Novelab

David Michel, Founder/President, Cottonwood Media

Connor Murphy, Virtual Production Manager, The Third Floor

Ramsey Naito, President, Nickelodeon/Paramount Animation

Vladimir Nikolaev, Co-Founder, Wizart

Motoki Nishii, Environmental Art Director, The Third Floor

Erick Oh, Director, Namoo

Silvia Olivas, Writer/Exec Producer, Maya and the Three

Bill Plympton, Director, Demi’s Panic

Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Director, Flee

Mike Rianda, Writer/Director, The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Teddy Riley, Exec Producer/Co-Creator, Fairfax

Octavio Rodriguez, Co-director, Ron’s Gone Wrong

Khoby Rowe, Exec Director Animation, Fox Entertainment

Sander Schwartz, Exec Producer, Skylander Academy, Alien Xmas

Dane Smith, VP, The Third Floor

Aliki Theofilopoulos, Exec Producer, Doug Unplugs

Kevin Walker, Exec Creative Director, BUCK                                                             

Josh Wassung, Founder, The Third Floor

Michelle Wong, Producer, Vivo

Mark Zavadskiy, CEO, Riki Group

Health and Safety Policy
To ensure the safety of Summit staff and guests, proof of an approved vaccine administered at least two weeks prior to the Summit, a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the event, and a valid ID will be required to attend. Temperature checks will be administered upon arrival and masks are required to be worn at all times as is in accordance with Los Angeles County requirements.

2021 Animation Summit Registration
To learn more about the 2021 Animation Summit and how to purchase tickets, visit the official website here.  

To learn more about the 2021 Animation Summit: