Women in Animation (WIA) is pleased to announce the program lineup and speakers for its upcoming WOMEN IN ANIMATION SUMMIT AT SIGGRAPH to be held at this week’s SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference. This condensed, half-day version of WIA’s Summit series will take place at SIGGRAPH 2019 from 2:00-5:00pm on Monday, July 29th at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Conference Room 410. Doors will open at 1:00pm.

Covering several key topics affecting women working in the animation industry today, the afternoon symposium will be headlined by a keynote presentation by USC Annenberg faculty member Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder and director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which is dedicated to analyzing diversity and inclusion issues within the entertainment industry. Dr. Smith will share insights into the key findings of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s landmark study focused on women in the animation industry, entitled “Increasing Inclusion in Animation.”

The study, which was first unveiled in June at the WOMEN IN ANIMATION WORLD SUMMIT held during the 2019 Annecy International Animation Film Festival, was conducted in partnership with Women in Animation, and examines the percentage of women working in key animation roles in film and television, the barriers and opportunities facing women as they pursue careers in animation, and the classroom-to-career pipeline for women. The study found that while women continue to gain footholds in the industry, making up roughly half of the executives in animation, and fully half of the most powerful positions in major film animation companies and studios, only 3% of animated film directors over the last 12 years were female. In television, the study reported that an analysis of popular animated TV programs from 2018 showed that only 13% of episodes had female directors. In addition, only one female film director and three female TV directors were women from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds.

“As the leading voice in the advocacy of women in animation, we were very gratified by the positive initial reaction to this landmark study, which for the first time ever provides quantitative data about the lack of diversity within the industry,” Women in Animation president Marge Dean commented. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with such a highly respected research institution, and to be able to share these findings with the wider SIGGRAPH community. With this year’s theme of ‘Thrive Together,’ it’s only fitting that we all work collectively to forge new paths ahead.”

“Our partnership with Women in Animation has allowed us to undertake a broad and comprehensive investigation of the animation industry in order to understand the specific challenges women, animation studios, and educational organizations are facing at this time,” said Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder and director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. “We’re excited to share the results of the study with the SIGGRAPH community as we work together to create solutions that move the industry forward and accelerate change.’

The WOMEN IN ANIMATION SUMMIT AT SIGGRAPH will also include two panel discussions: “Supporting Students of Animation” and “Building WIA Chapters: Vancouver, NYC, Montreal and More.” The WIA team will also be on hand for networking and to answer questions about the organization’s goal of reaching “50/50 by 2025“ and other ongoing initiatives. The full schedule for the summit is as follows:

Monday, July 29, 2019

2:00-5:00pm (doors open at 1:00pm)
Los Angeles Convention Center, Conference Room 410

2:00-3:00pm KEYNOTEUSC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and WIA’s “Increasing Inclusion in Animation” Study 
Speakers: Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Dr. Katherine Pieper

3:00-4:00pm PANEL: “Supporting Students of Animation”

This panel will discuss how to manage the cultural and technical challenges for student leaving animation schools and entering the workforce. It will seek to answer the question “How can we be more supportive of the unique needs of female and non-binary students entering the workplace?” The panel will share some best practices and ideas of how to make students feel like they already belong to the community of the industry they are trying join after school.

Moderator: Deb Stone, Director, Recruiting & Talent Development, Blue Sky Studios and Co-Lead, WIA NY Chapter

  • Jimmy Calhoun, BFA Chair, School of Visual Arts
  • Jessica Jamieson, General Technical Director, Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Heather Thomson, Computer Animation Faculty, Ringling College of Art & Design
  • Doeri Welch, Director, Feature Animation Recruitment, DreamWorks Animation

4:00-5:00pm  PANEL“Building WIA Chapters: Vancouver, NYC, Montreal and More”

This panel comprises a discussion with leaders from across the U.S. and Canada about how they formed their local chapters, their local mission and how it supports the drive to 50/50 by 2025.

Moderator: Gail Currey, Chair of Chapters, Women in Animation

  • Caitlin Cheek, Co-Founder and President of the Student Chapter at Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)
  • Hsiang Chin Moe, Chair of BFA Animation at School of Visual Arts and Co-Lead of WIA NYC
  • Michelle Grady, Executive Vice President, Sony Pictures Imageworks (WIA Vancouver)
  • Lauren McCallum, Global Managing Director of Mill Film (WIA Montreal)
  • Becki Tower, Directing Animator, Pixar Animation Studios (WIA Bay Area)

The Women in Animation World Summit series is generously supported by our WIA Global Fund donors: Walt Disney Animation Studios, Blue Sky Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm, Disney Television Animation, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Darla Anderson & Kori Rae, Animal Logic, Autodesk, Netflix, Otter Media (a WarnerMedia company, home to Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and VRV), Reel FX Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Animation/Sony Pictures Imageworks, Universal/Illumination/DreamWorks Animation, Warner Animation Group/Warner Bros. Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Jinko Gotoh, Nicole Grindle, Lord Miller, Molly Mason-Boule, Mythos Studios, Nickelodeon, Mark & Kim Osborne, Pearl Studio, Skydance Animation, Virtuos, Bad Robot, Kristine Belson, Cinesite, Gail Currey, GKIDS, Locksmith Animation, Nexus Studios, SideFX, SPA Studios, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Allison Abbate & Tony Cervone, Tamara Boutcher, Duncan Studio, Warren Franklin, Pam Marsden, Paramount Animation, Rideback and Catherine Winder.

About Women in Animation
Women in Animation (WIA) envisions a world in which women 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 women 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 http://www.womeninanimation.org or follow on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or Instagram.

About the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative
Launched more than 10 years ago by Founder/Director Dr. Stacy L. Smith, the Initiative is globally recognized for its valuable and sought after researched-solutions to advance equality in entertainment. Dr. Smith and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative examine gender, race/ethnicity, LGBT status, disability, and age on screen and gender and race/ethnicity behind the camera in cinematic and television content as well as barriers and opportunities facing women and people of color in the entertainment industry. The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative also conducts economic analyses related to diversity and the financial performance of films. In 2015, LA Weekly named Dr. Smith the #1 Most Influential Person in Los Angeles, and she has spoken at multiple high-profile engagements ranging from the TED Women stage to the United Nations. Dr. Smith and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative have been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles TimesThe Atlantic, Newsweek, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and NPR, among others. The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s research reports include the Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity (CARD), multiple landmark studies with Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles, and their yearly investigation of on screen and behind the camera roles across more than 1,000 top-grossing films. The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative is generously supported by The Annenberg Foundation, The Harnisch Foundation, The David and Lura Lovell Foundation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Music Group, The Jacquelyn and Gregory Zehner Foundation, and other individuals. To learn more, visit http://annenberg.usc.edu/aii or follow on TwitterInstagram, or on Facebook.