Three of southern California’s most prestigious animation schools – USC, UCLA, and Calarts – have partnered with Women in Animation (WIA) to organize a unique and timely event, Breaking the Glass Frame: Women and Animation, Past, Present, Future.

Taking place October 5 through 7 at USC’s downtown Los Angeles campus, the first-of-its-kind symposium is designed to empower women and LGBTQ+ people by spotlighting female contributions to the field of animation and exploring solutions to sexual harassment, bias, and lack of diversity that challenge working women within the industry and academia.

“With all the media coverage of women’s issues right now, it’s easy to presume that change is on the way,” says 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.”

Here are some of the highlights of the event:

  • Keynote talks by Brenda Chapman (Brave, The Prince of Egypt) and Brown Johnson (executive vice president and creative director, Sesame Workshop).
  • Panels including “NextGen World View”; “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 president; and “An Invisible History – Trailblazing Women of Animation,” moderated by author and historian, Mindy Johnson and featuring two pioneering animators, Enid Denbo Wizig and Jane Shattuck-Takamoto-Baer.
  • Networking mixers.
  • Academic paper presentations.
  • Screenings of short films including the new documentary The Women of Titmouse Animation: The Inbetweens of Education, Employment & Everyday Life directed by Chrissy Guest.

Co-organizer Lisa Mann, associate professor of practice of cinematic arts at USC, points out that this event is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the three L.A. powerhouse animation institutions: 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,” she says.

For the full schedule of events and details on how to attend, visit the event website at breakingtheglassframe.com. Early-bird registration runs through August 31st.

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