For those of you still feeling sedentary after the holidays or just looking for some weekend inspiration, listen to these two interviews with Lotte Reiniger and Rebecca Sugar. They each have accomplished an important first in animation: Lotte Reiniger was the first woman to direct an animated feature, and Rebecca Sugar was the first solo woman creator of a TV series at Cartoon Network. These milestones are separated by 87 years, which says a lot about both how far animation has come and how far it still has to go.
Lotte Reiniger (1899–1981) is a German animation director who, between 1919 and 1979, made over 40 short films utilizing paper cut-out animation techniques. In this extremely rare interview, which was recorded in 1976 and recently made listenable through the USC School of Cinematic Arts website, she details her career leading up to and after the release of her animated feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed which was released in 1926—eleven years before Disney’s Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.
Last week, Rebecca Sugar (b. 1987) took some time to discuss the creation and production of her new show, Steven Universe, during an interview on NPR’s On Point. Her accomplishment may not be as trailblazing as Reiniger’s, but she has nonetheless managed to do something that no other woman artist has done in Cartoon Network’s 21-year-history. In the interview, she delves into her thoughts on the animation industry, answers some call-in questions, and treats listeners to a live performance of some of the songs that she has written for the series.