With Annecy just around the corner and Pride Month now in full swing, Women in Animation (WIA) has revealed a new alliance with GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization, to host the 2023 WIA World Summit at the Annecy International Animation Festival.
Key guests participating in this year’s summit include Nimona graphic novel creator and film co-producer ND Stevenson; Shrek director Vicky Jenson – who is also hosting an Annecy WIP session for her upcoming film Spellbound; Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation president Ramsey Naito; BAFTA New Talent-winning filmmaker Anna Ginsburg; and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Nora Twomey (The Breadwinner).
The 7th annual WIA World Summit will kick off on Monday, June 12th at the Impérial Palace Hotel a day-long program including panels and focused conversations spotlighting key thought leaders, filmmakers, and executives from around the world discussing gender justice — a system of equity and fairness for people of all genders, gender identities and presentations.
As is always the case with WIA’s summits, this year’s event will be live-streamed and available to the public via the WIA website starting at 9:30 a.m. CEST/12:30 a.m. PST. It will also be recorded and uploaded to the WIA website for future viewing.
WIA President Marge Dean said of this year’s summit:
WIA is proud to collaborate with GLAAD in service of our shared vision of gender justice in animation. We look forward to gathering so many key thought leaders to discuss this year’s theme, ‘Break the Box: Redefining Gender and Leadership.’ The day will be filled with thought-provoking, robust discussions on the complexity of gender, including all the amazing things that can happen in our industry when people break free from stereotypes and societal expectations.
GLADD senior director of entertainment research and analysis Megan Townsend added:
I’m so excited to be joining WIA for a day full of impactful conversations on gender and storytelling. As we see an increase in anti-LGBTQ bills here in the U.S., authentic and inclusive storytelling is more impactful than ever in both combatting disinformation and uplifting our voices. The inclusive animated films and series highlighted at Annecy and through WIA’s work will be seen by audiences of all ages across the world and can spark conversations that accelerate acceptance for families of all kinds.
Here’s how WIA describes this year’s WIA World Summit program:
Session One – Unpacking: What is Gender?
- This educational session led by Megan Townsend, GLAAD senior director of entertainment research & analysis, unpacks the language and universal assumptions of gender, the ways we’re all impacted by those assumptions, and how we can move closer to the reality of gender justice in our global industry.
Session Two – Authentic Storytelling
- Our experiences, values, and identities are foundational to the stories we tell. This panel – moderated by Tendayi Nyeke and including Paula Boffo, creative director at Ojo Raro; cartoonist and writer Molly Knox Ostertag; and writer and animator Leslie Pulsifer – explores the ways in which gender shapes who we are and the stories and art we create as a result.
Session Three – Leading Diverse Creative Teams
- Leading creative teams comes with unique rewards and challenges, especially when the stories being told are deeply personal. This panel, moderated by WIA president, Marge Dean, examines how leaders can reject gendered expectations and harness the creative power of a diverse team. Panelists include Emilie Walmsley, head of animation for Eddy Animation; ND Stevenson, author and illustrator of Nimona and creator/showrunner of She-Ra: Princesses of Power; award-winning filmmaker and director at Strange Beast, Anna Ginsburg; and Noriko Matsumoto, executive producer and brand director at Dwarf Studio.
Session Four – Redefining Risk as Investment
- Risk and failure are integral parts of the creative process. Moderated by Julie Ann Crommett, this panel — featuring Deepa Joshi, co-CEO of Incessant Rain animation studios; Nosipho Maketo-van den Bragt, president and founder of Chocolate Tribe; Lou Bones, creative talent director at PSYOP; and director of Shrek and the upcoming Spellbound, Vicky Jenson — explores the inequitable effects of success as well as failure for creative leaders who are historically underrepresented in our industry. What can we learn when things don’t go as planned? How can we reframe risk and failure to create a more equitable industry?
Closing Fireside Chat – Authentic Leadership
- In this fireside chat with Ramsey Naito, president, Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, and Nora Twomey, co-Founder & creative director of Cartoon Saloon, we examine creative leadership through the lens of gender and explore what is possible when we embrace leadership styles that are authentic. We’ll also explore how leaders who break the box can effectively collaborate to make sustainable change in their organization and in our industry.
Pictured at top: ND Stevenson, Anna Ginsburg, Vicky Jenson, Ramsey Naito, Nora Twomey