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Women In Animation Virtual Summit Program Announced

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Women In Animation Virtual Summit Program Announced

Women in Animation (WIA) announces the program for the first-ever Women in Animation Virtual Summit, in conjunction with this year’s digital version of Annecy International Animation Festival and Mifa 2020, Annecy 2020 Online. The theme of this year’s Summit is “Reimagining the Future: Race, Solidarity and the Culture of Work.” This year’s Summit covers two world-shaking topics — the pandemic and the recently reinvigorated global call for social justice — and their momentous effects on the animation industry.

The Women in Animation Virtual World Summit will post exclusively on Annecy Online ( on Wednesday, June 17 and be available for Festival and Mifa badgeholders to view for the rest of the two-week festival. WIA will also make the Summit available to their members and more widely at a later date.

“The world discourse suddenly shifted when we all saw George Floyd brutally murdered by police in Minneapolis, U.S.A. We knew that we needed to pivot from our original program for the World Summit at Annecy to address the issues of work, race and solidarity,” commented WIA President Marge Dean. “We are using this global platform to give women of color the opportunity to talk about their experiences and how they see that the animation industry needs to change in order to be fully diverse, inclusive and humane.”

Producer Jinko Gotoh, who serves as WIA’s Vice President, was integral in gathering innovative panelists to participate in the summit. She added, “Animation is a platform to share all kinds of stories and messages. In today’s world, we need authentic voices from people of color now more than ever. The Me Too movement finally broke the silence around sexual discrimination. I truly hope that the current movement for social justice does the same for anti-blackness and racism.”

Marge Dean

Marge Dean

Jinko Gotoh

Jinko Gotoh

Part One of the Summit will open with Dean welcoming viewers and introducing the summit theme about what the future of animation could look like, based on a pronounced shift to focus on racism and solidarity in our industry and in the world at large. Part One will feature the following panels:

Jamal Joseph

Jamal Joseph

Black Women in Animation: Looking to the Future (70 minutes)

Moderator: Jamal Joseph (Professor of Film, Columbia University; Producer/Director/Writer/Activist)

Speakers: Jade Branion (Writer), Camille Eden (Vice President of Animation Recruitment and Talent Development, Nickelodeon Animation Studio), Misan Sagay (Screenwriter, Netflix), Karen Rupert Toliver (Executive Vice President of Creative, Sony Pictures Animation)

Panel Description: Led by moderator Jamal Joseph, this panel is anchored in personal stories and experiences. The discussion will also address being colorblind versus color affirmative, the importance of finding voice on both the executive and creative side, and the overarching power of animation to make an impact, given the freedom of imagination to create more ideal and more representational worlds.

John Agbaje

John Agbaje

Intersectionality and Solidarity (60 minutes)

Moderator: John Agbaje, (Director of Animation & Development, FX Networks)

Speakers: Julie Ann Crommett (VP, Multicultural Audience Engagement, The Walt Disney Studios; Secretary of WIA), Erika Dapkewicz (Lead Editor, Sony Pictures Animation), Shari B. Ellis (Production Manager, Gaumont Animation), Kaitlyn Yang (Founder, Alpha Studios)

Panel Description: As we live through what seems to be the largest civil rights protest in human history, we see the value of intersectional solidarity in this movement, and that the shared experience of struggle in the system, support and solutions can help each other thrive. This discussion will cover a wide range of life experiences, allyship in action, and lessons about effective solidarity.

After the first two panels, Dean will introduce viewers to Part Two of the summit, focused on changes brought about by virtual collaboration as forced into play during a pandemic. Part Two will unfold as follows:

Artists Creating from Home: A Series of Home Studio Visits (Approx. 5 mins) A collection of pre-recorded clips offering a glimpse into artists workspaces from around the world.

Producing in a Rapidly Changing World (60 minutes)

Moderator: Jinko Gotoh (Vice President of WIA, Producer for Netflix;)

Speakers: Rita Mbanga (Producer, Sandcastle Studios/Sunrise Productions), Carina Schulze (Chatrone Partner; Executive Producer/Writer), Osnat Shurer (Producer, Walt Disney Animation Studios), Christina Lee Storm (Founder, Asher XR), Niki Lopez (Creator & Co-Executive Producer, Nickelodeon)

Panel Description: Women leaders from various disciplines in the industry will share their perspectives and best practices in a world challenged by pandemic.

Artists Creating from Home: A Series of Home Studio Visits (75 mins) A collection of pre-recorded clips offering a glimpse into artists workspaces from around the world.

The Women in Animation Virtual Summit is made possible with the ongoing support of WIA’s Global Fund partners:

WIA Leadership Circle donors (in alphabetical order): 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 and The Walt Disney Company (including Walt Disney Animation Studios, Blue Sky Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm, Disney Television Animation, Disney Channel and Disney Junior, among others), Warner Animation Group/Warner Bros. Animation, WarnerMedia.

WIA Partners Circle donors (in alphabetical order): Electronic Arts (EA), Jinko Gotoh, Nicole Grindle, Lord Miller, Molly Mason-Boule, Mythos Studios, Nickelodeon, Mark & Kim Osborne, Pearl Studio, Skydance Animation and Virtuos.

WIA Supporters Circle donors (in alphabetical order): Bad Robot, Kristine Belson, Cinesite, Gail Currey, GKIDS, Locksmith Animation, Nexus Studios, Paramount Animation, SideFX, SPA Studios and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios; and WIA Friends donors (in alphabetical order): Allison Abbate & Tony Cervone, Tamara Boutcher, Duncan Studio, Warren Franklin, Pam Marsden, Rideback, and Catherine Winder.

Learn more about the organization at


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