Three-Day Symposium Set For Women In The Animation Industry


A three-day symposium spotlighting female contributions in the field of animation and exploring solutions to sexual harassment, bias and the lack of diversity in the industry will be held Oct. 5-7 at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. The event – called “Breaking the Glass Frame: Women and Animation, Past, Present, Future” – is being organized by Women in Animation, USC, UCLA and CalArts. Organizers say it’s designed “to empower women and LGBTQ+ people.”

Oscar-winner Brenda Chapman will be one of the keynote speakers. In 1998, she became the first woman to direct an animated feature (The Prince of Egypt) for a major studio and went on to win an Academy Award for co-directing Brave. She also wrote a story artist for Beauty and the Beast and was story supervisor for The Lion King.

Brown Johnson, executive vice president and creative director at Sesame Workshop, will also give a keynote address. “We’re at a pivotal point in our industry for women,” she said. “The content and experience of this vital symposium provides a fresh threshold to re-frame a new and balanced future for women’s voices within animation.”

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

“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.

“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.”

“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,” said Lisa Mann, associate professor of Practice of Cinematic Arts at USC. “We hope this gathering of incredible women will inspire the next generation to break through the glass frame.”

The symposium will also feature a series of networking mixers, presentations of academic papers, and screenings of short films including the new documentary, The Women of Titmouse Animation: The Inbetweens of Education, Employment & Everyday Life, directed by Chrissy Guest. A full schedule of events can be found at A final list of speakers and sponsors will be announced closer to the event date.

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