Women In Animation Hosting SIGGRAPH Summit On Monday
July 26, 2019

Women In Animation Hosting SIGGRAPH Summit On Monday

LOS ANGELES — Women In Animation (www.womeninanimation.org) has announced the programming lineup and speakers for its Women In Animation Summit at SIGGRAPH 2019 in LA. The half-day event will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center (where SIGGRAPH is being held) in conference room 410 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm on Monday, July 29th.
The event plans on covering several key topics that are 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 study focused on women in the animation industry, entitled “Increasing Inclusion in Animation.” The study, which was first unveiled in June, 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 three percent 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 percent 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 comments. “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,” adds Dr. Smith. “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 WIA 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 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 - KEYNOTE: USC 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 Panelists:
- 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 Panelists:
- 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)