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‘Breaking the Glass Frame’: Women’s Animation Symposium Slated for October at USC

Women in Animation, USC, UCLA, and CalArts to explore ways to better empower females in animation at USC on October 5 – 7.



Women In Animation (WIA) has partnered with USC, UCLA, and CalArts to create “Breaking the Glass Frame: Women and Animation, Past, Present, Future,” a symposium designed to empower women and LGBTQ+ people by spotlighting female contributions to animation and exploring solutions to sexual harassment, bias, and lack of diversity within the industry and academia. The symposium will take place October 5 – 7 at USC.

The symposium seizes momentum after the John Lasseter debacle (he will leave Disney and Pixar at year’s end after allegations of workplace sexual harassment), and the promotion of Jennifer Lee (“Frozen 2,” “Frozen”) as chief creative officer at Disney.

The symposium also follows on the heels of WIA’s “Women in Animation World Summit” at the Annecy Animation Festival in June, and WIA’s announcement of a “Women in Animation Vancouver Summit,” ahead of SIGGRAPH 2018 on August 11.

“We believe strongly in the next generation of artists and filmmakers and are honored to join in presenting this inspiring slate of speakers,” said Marge Dean, president of Women in Animation.

“Breaking the Glass Frame”

“With all the media coverage of women’s issues right now, it’s easy to presume that change is on the way,” said Maureen Furniss, director of the CalArts Experimental Animation Program. “It will take a total shift in the culture, after sustained effort, to see any lasting effects. This event brings focus to important issues and provides a sense of solidarity among women at all levels: executives, established artists, and students eager to join the animation world.”

Added Lisa Mann, associate professor of Practice of Cinematic Arts at USC: “This is the first collaborative event between three of the world’s most prestigious animation programs: USC’s John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts, the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television’s Animation Workshop, and CalArts’ Character and Experimental Animation Programs. We hope this gathering of incredible women will inspire the next generation to break through the glass frame.”

The symposium will feature keynote talks by Academy Award winner Brenda Chapman (“Brave,” “The Prince of Egypt”) and Brown Johnson, executive vice president and creative director at Sesame Workshop. “I’m proud to stand with my colleagues and friends as we celebrate women’s trailblazing achievements in animation at this first-of-its-kind gathering,” said Johnson. “Reflecting the diversity of the world around us has been a priority throughout Sesame Workshop’s nearly 55-year history; today, we’re coming together across the industry to model the power of inclusivity for future generations.”

Panels include “NextGen World View,” presented by WIA; “Breaking Through the Boys’ Club, Strategies for Positive Change in the Industry,” featuring producer Jane Hartwell (“The Croods”); “Advocating for Diversity + Inclusion in Animation: Race, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation + Age,” moderated by Jinko Gotoh, WIA vice present; and “An Invisible History – Trailblazing Women of Animation,” moderated by historian Mindy Johnson and featuring pioneering animators Enid Denbo Wizig (who worked on Bugs Bunny) and Jane Shattuck-Takamoto-Baer (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”).

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