WIA Summit 2021 WIA Summit 2021

For the fifth year running, Women in Animation (WIA) will hold a symposium in conjunction with Annecy Festival and the MIFA market. The theme this year: “The Business Case for Diversity.”

While the festival goes hybrid, the Women in Animation World Summit, which is held in partnership with South African studio Triggerfish, will be entirely virtual. Festival passholders and WIA members will be able to view the event from Monday, June 14 at 12:00 a.m. PST/9:00 a.m. CET through Saturday, June 19. From June 20, it will be open to the general public via WIA’s website and Youtube channel.

“At the last four summits, WIA built shared vocabulary around diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity,” said WIA president Marge Dean. “As a global community, the organization traversed monumental paradigm shifts, challenges and opportunities this past year including racial equity, a global pandemic, a rise in discriminatory violence, and strong headwind toward inclusivity.”

WIA is the largest group dedicated to the advancement of women in the animation and vfx industries. Every year since 2017, it has hosted panels and discussions around a related theme as part of its summit. At the 2019 summit, the organization presented the groundbreaking study Increasing Inclusion in Animation.

Here is this year’s program in full:

Welcome from WIA

WIA president Marge Dean and CITIA CEO Mickaël Marin welcome viewers along with Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest and senior producer Vanessa Sinden as WIA’s official partner for the 2021 Women in Animation World Summit.

Keynote Address: Stories Matter by Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, Ph.D.
  • Introduction: Julie Ann Crommett, WIA secretary/DEI chair and founder and CEO, Collective Moxie; equity and inclusion strategist
  • Speaker: Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, Ph.D., lead artist of At Buffalo: A New Musical & vp of creative affairs, JusticeRx
  • Keynote Description: Narratives and stories have a direct impact on how we perceive ourselves, the world, and each other. Join Dr. Amma as she shares insights and connections between her creative work, narrative change, and the African diaspora.
Panel: Alternative Career Paths and Opportunities for Talent
  • Moderator: Jinko Gotoh, WIA vp and producer, Netflix
  • Speakers: Meredith Dean (clinical program director, The Animation Project), Allison Frenzel (arts, media, and entertainment education programs specialist, California Department of Education), Corinne Kouper (svo development & production, TeamTO; co-founder, ECAS; co-president, LFA), Carina Lücke (director, Triggerfish Foundation (PBO)), and Arnon Manor (Visual Effects Society board member and chair of its education committee)
  • Panel Description: Attending art school and obtaining a degree is a privilege not afforded to all. This panel discusses how to challenge the status quo and create alternative career opportunities, especially for diverse talent.
Panel: Greenlighting Diverse Voices
  • Moderator: Janet Wu, director of original animated film, Netflix
  • Speakers: Peter Gal (cco, television for Dreamworks Animation), Jessica Julius (vp, creative development, Walt Disney Animation Studios), Ramsey Naito (president, Nickelodeon Animation Studio), Karen Rupert Toliver (evp, creative, Sony Pictures Animation), Sarah Victor (head of development, Crunchyroll)
  • Panel Description: The need to tell and hear representational stories from a more diverse range of storytellers has never been more important. This panel of seasoned content decision-makers shines a light on the importance of making stories from underrepresented communities, the need for authenticity in front of and behind the camera, and a behind-the-scenes look at the path to greenlight.
Video: Meet the Artist

This year’s Women in Animation World Summit featured artist Monica Ahanonu talks about her involvement in the project, and her inspiration for the artwork.

Panel: African Creators in Animation presented by Triggerfish
  • Moderator: Vanessa Sinden, senior producer, Triggerfish
  • Speakers: Omotunde Akiode (writer, story editor), Kelly Dillon (creator, KIYA), Ng’endo Mukii (director, writer), Malenga Mulendema (creator, Mama K’s Team 4), Tendayi Nyeke (development executive, Triggerfish), Orion Ross (vp, original programming, animation, Disney EMEA)
  • Panel Description: A conversation with leading African women taking center stage with shows they have created, written, and are currently directing.
Featurette: Mentoring and Making a Difference Around the World

An inspiring featurette that offers a glimpse into WIA’s history and successful global mentoring program.

A Fireside Chat with … Victoria Alonso
  • Moderator: Julie Ann Crommett, WIA secretary/DEI chair and founder and CEO, Collective Moxie; equity and inclusion strategist
  • Speaker: Victoria Alonso, evp, production at Marvel Studios
  • Panel Description: Victoria Alonso shares her perspective on the economic power of diversity in front of and behind the camera, and its impact on storytelling and success.
Video Compilation: Women in Creative Leadership

A visual collection of short stories from some of the world’s leading animation studios highlighting women in creative roles.

Closing from WIA

A closing message expressing gratitude from WIA’s president Marge Dean.

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Deputy Editor of Cartoon Brew.