Sunday, 31 March 2013

 We Need More Women in the Film and Animation Industry
The FITC Toronto (short for Future.Innovation.Technology. Creativity) is hosting The Design and Technology Festival on April 21-23, 2013.  The festival offers an insight on how to use modern day technology to create new innovate stories in both films and animation.  The event offers a variety of guest speakers such as GMUNK who was deeply involved in developing the TRON Legacy movie and Ariel Garten widely known for the "Bright Ideas" that featured a showcase at the Vancouver 2012 Olympics which combined technology, neuroscience, and the arts.

Since this event offers a chance to meet these bright thinkers and learn how to use new technology to create original ideas, this directly leads to why I titled this article We Need More Women in Film and Animation Industry as statement rather then asking in the form of a question.

I would like to perform an experiment by asking a simple question:

How many women directors can you think of on the top of your head?

I know when I asked myself this question I will admit only 4 directors came to mind and after that I found it difficult to come up with more names let alone their works.  The unfortunate reality is that women directors are heavily underrepresented in the film and animation industry which leads to the question as to why? There are plenty of women directors but their names or works do not come up that quickly as compared to male directors such as Christopher Nolan, Joss Whedon, and heck even Michael Bay is easily remembered.  To answer the why question I would have to get into the issues with representation within the media which would take up a whole post but in this case to put it simply the mainstream media creates a distortion of our reality by solely depicting male directors sitting on the directors chair and behind the scenes of an animation production as a "boys only club".  A good example would be how heavily advertised male directed movies are by Hollywood.  Now I'm not saying that the movies made by the male directors mentioned above are bad in fact they are great movies (except anything made by Micheal Bay) what I'm saying is that we need more variety in our film and animation directors.  The yearly awaited Oscars is also guilty of this biased by having only nominated two female directors in its long history of existence.  The first was Lost in Translation directed by Sofia Coppola in 2003 and the second was The Hurt Locker directed by Kathryn Bigelow in 2010. 

Fortunately the gap between female and male directors in the independent film and animation industry is slowly closing the gap.  There is a large amount of representation of women that are independent film makers and are slowly rising up on the ranks in the animation area. Instead making this post such a downer by pointing out the hard facts about mainstream media I want to celebrate the accomplishments of these women in the film and animation industry. The technology that is available for us today allows us to be able to create stories or to tell stories from our communities using techniques that were once confined to our own imagination . There are now unlimited possibilities on what we can do with this technology by going to this event advertised by FITC Toronto the participates (especially women) will get an education on how they can use this technology to be able to tell their own stories.  Everyone has an imagination or story to tell all they need is the tools to let it loose into the world.  For the women whom are already in these industries will find this to be a good opportunity to network with people from different companies which can lead to amazing future career paths.

I could go on but instead I think the women whom are already in the industry can speak better for themselves than I ever could in their place about their accomplishments and can serve as an inspiration for women aspiring to get involved in the film and animation industry. (For the sake of this post I will keep it short).
Alanis Obomsawin is from the Abenaki Nation that is located in the North-East of Montreal, Quebec.  She is famous for documentaries about the issues affecting Indigenous People in Canada.  She is famous for documentaries such as Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance that discuss the Oka Crisis that occurred in 1990 and Is the Crown at War with Us? which is about the violation of the Fishing Rights and the way of life by Mi'kmaq community in New Brunswick that occurred in 2000. Marjane Satrapi is of Iranian-born French contemporary graphic novelist, illustrator and animated film director.  She is famous for her autobiographical graphic comic Persepolis that discussed her childhood in Iran, the Islamic Revolution, her life as an immigrant in Vienna, Austria, and lastly her departure from Iran.  She also co-directed the animated adaption of her graphic novel in 2007 which led to her winning the Cesar Awards in 2008 and being nominated for Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature in 2008. She was the first woman to be nominated for animation section in the Academy Awards. Jennifer Yuh Nelson is Korean-born American director and storyboard artist.  She joined DreamWorks Animation Studios in 1998 as a storyboard artist and was heavily involved in films such as Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, and Madagascar.  She was the head of story in Kung Fu Panda which lead to her winning the Annie Award for Best Storyboard. She would later become the director for Kung Fu Panda 2 which was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature in 2012.  She will be directing Kung Fu Panda 3.

I could list more (but that will take forever) I think the accomplishments of these women shows how they utilized their creativity and modern technology to be able to tell their stories in distinct ways.  This is the main reason as to why I believe a lot of women should attend The Design and Technology Festival because it is so important to create role models for the next generation by showing the youth that nothing can stop them from fulfilling their full potential in whatever they want to be in the future. (barriers be damned!!!) I believe The Design and Technology Festival is definitely a step in the right direction for aspiring women whom want to get involved in these industries.

For more information about the The Design and Technology Festival here is the main website:

Have a Blast!!!!