Last week for International Women’s Day we published a feature about the lack of women in animation, and what the industry is doing to redress the balance. In response, Corinne Orton from Playback Festival – an event showcasing the work of over 300 emerging filmmakers – writes about the strong pipeline of up-and-coming women in the field and selects five standout creatives to keep an eye on.
I was really interested to read this article about the lack of women in animation, as I personally have been really energised and encouraged by the emerging female animators coming through the Random Acts programme and the quality of work being produced. I am in no doubt that the future is female. Of 51 animations made on the programme, 31 of the filmmakers identify as female. With a diversity of voices we are seeing more female-led stories and explorations of themes such as insecurity, self-doubt, loneliness and identity. I was disheartened to hear that the industry becomes “laddy” further up the chain but we are trying to address that by giving female animators a platform on the national stage.
Some of the films in the Playback exhibition have gone on to great success. Beneath the Surface by Yero Timi-Biu has won awards and played film festivals; Emily Mulenga who made Taking Up Space has had her first solo gallery show, and Law of the Sea by Elmaz Ekrem screened in Trafalgar Square.
As part of the Playback programme we have worked with experimental animator Jessica Ashman to run free workshops in Birmingham, Kingston and London where the majority of sign-ups have come from female POC artists. We also have Nina Gantz attending Playback Festival next week to talk about her career, as well as many independent filmmakers and commissioners who will give tips on how to professionalise and carve a career in the industry.
We know that the appetite is there and are of the opinion that giving young artists access to inspiring role models who have a successful career in animation is a positive step. Some of our alumni have already gone on to work on Aardman productions. Whether or not it leads to a career in animation for more women remains to be seen, but by offering young women resources, support and a visible platform to create and present new work, we hope that their ambitions are harnessed and they keep on creating, leading to a more diverse industry that is representative of the world we live in.
Playback Festival takes place from 21 Mar 2018 – 25 Mar 2018 at ICA, London.