Women in Animation (WIA) and the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) have selected six finalists for their inaugural Stories x Women program.
The initiative is designed to bolster diverse voices in animation globally, with a focus on female creators from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America—three regions with growing creative talent pools.
Projects were required to have at least one woman in a lead position as either a producer, director or screenwriter. Two team members for each selected project will now receive mentoring from a group of international animation experts, plus one-on-one coaching to help them prepare to pitch their project at next month’s Annecy Animation Festival.
Here are the participating projects:
Gannu (Thailand) – Gannu creator Saraswathi Vani Balgam and Aimsinthu Ramasoot
Cotton Bottom Town (Colombia) – Luisa Fernanda Velasquez (with Andrés Felipe Rodriguez Rodriguez)
La Sombra del Altiplano (Highland’s Shadow) (Argentina) – Paula Boffo (with Patricio Plaza)
La Carpeta de Greta (Greta’s Journal) (Peru) - Elva Alessandra Arrieta Tabuzo (with Saul David Anampa Mesias)
Miss Camel (Saudi Arabia) – Haifaa Al Mansour (with Brad Niemann)
Rorisang & the Gurlz (South Africa) – Dr. Tshepo Maaka and Kabelo Maaka
La Sombra del Altiplano is aimed at older teens and young adults, but the other five concepts all target kids and families.
Annecy will be the second market outing for Gannu, which made its debut in an Asian Animation Summit Showcase session at Kidscreen Summit Virtual in March.
The Stories x Women program is sponsored by Walt Disney Animation Studios, with additional backing from South African prodco Triggerfish Animation.
Supporting underrepresented artists and gender equality has been a key mandate for WIA. In a 2019 study, the non-profit org reported that while more than half of all film animation execs and 39% of all TV execs are women, less than 10% are women of color (6% in film and 9% in TV). WIA’s ongoing goal is for women to hold 50% of the creative roles in animation. (That number currently sits at 20%.)