Sunday, March 8, 2015

Women in Animation 2015

Well, it's Sunday, March 8th and that means "International Women's Day" is today. But, why limit it to just one day?

2014 ended on a strong note for women in animation and 2015 is off to a good start. Some of the highlights were (and are):

The web series 'Bee and PuppyCat' was launched in November 2014. 'Bee and PuppyCat' is the brainchild of animator Natasha Allegri and produced by Frederator Studios. At the time of it's campaign, it held the record for the largest amount of money raised for an animated film in Kickstarter history (source: Wikipedia).

Also in November, across the ocean, veteran animator Joanna Quinn was awarded the ASIFA Laureate at the Bradford Animation Festival for her contributions to the art of animation over an extended period of time (source: ASIFA website).

Moving into 2015, in January, we saw a corporate shake-up in the animation world when producers Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria were promoted to co-Presidents of DreamWorks Animation (source: CartoonBrew website).

Also in January, Norwegian-born Canadian director and animator Torill Kove was nominated for an Academy Award for her animated film 'Me and My Moulton', marking the 73rd Oscar nomination for the NFB and the third nomination for Ms. Kove (source: NFB website).

Then in February, Signe Baumane released her feature-length animated film "Rocks in my Pockets" on DVD and also for streaming over the internet via a new distribution model/program created by movie studio: Yekra. This program allows people to join Signe's community of affiliates by enrolling with Yekra then embedding her film on their websites. At that point, the affiliates receive a small portion of the viewing fee when the film is viewed through the affiliate's actions (source: Rocks in my Pockets website).

Also in February, at Toronto's Radical Sheep Productions, the driving force behind Toronto getting it's own branch of Women in Animation, Michelle Melanson Cuperus was promoted from development Vice President to "executive producer for its entire slate of kids and family series" (source: Kidscreen website).

Staying in Canada, for the past two months, the National Film Board of Canada has been highlighting animated films produced by Canadian women animators. The first article, titled '3 keys for understanding and appreciating pinscreen animation' was written by Carolyne Weldon and was announced in the February 13th NFB newsletter. While more about the pinscreen itself, her article does discuss the work of animators Alexander Alexeïeff and Claire Parker. At the end of the article, you'll also learn about illustrator Michèle Lemieux who has picked up the torch with this oft misunderstood device.

The second article, titled 'Evelyn Lambart - Watch 6 Stunning Shorts by the First Lady of Canadian Animation' was posted on March 5th (and found in the NFB's March 7th newsletter). This one covers the woman who worked tirelessly behind the scenes of the NFB: Evelyn Lambart. Also written by Carolyne Weldon, this article briefly touches on Evelyn's history with the NFB's founder Norman McLaren before diving right into her solo films. On the linked webpage, you can read the article and watch six of Evelyn Lambart's short animated films for free. I don't know how long these films will be available for free viewing, so definitely watch them sooner rather than later.

And lastly, this year at the Annecy Animation Festival in France, they will be "placing women in the spotlight." From the November 2014 newsletter:

"In 2015, Annecy would like to acknowledge the contribution of women in the history of animation by paying tribute to the pioneers and highlighting the growing role of women producers and directors. This spotlight will take various forms and include:
- an all-female jury
- an Honorary Cristal award given to a major female animation personality
- the Annecy 2015 poster will also be created by a well-known artist from the world of animation. Her name will be revealed shortly!
- programmes devoted to films made by women."

These are just a small sample of the goings on in the world of women working in the field of animation and hopefully we'll see far more over 2015 than we did in 2014. But, as my regular readers know, in honor of International Women's Day, over the month, I post interviews of women animators from across the wide spectrum of animated film. So, next Friday, March 13th, please check back as I bring you the first interview: freelance animator (and ASIFA/Central member) Monica Bruenjes.