ANIMATION MAGAZINE -- One of the most powerful events of this year’s online Annecy and MIFA program was the Women in Animation panel titled “Black Women in Animation: Looking to the Future,” which went live on Wednesday (and is free to watch at https://online.annecy.org).
Featuring Camille Eden, Nickelodeon’s VP of animation recruitment and development; Karen Rupert Toliver, executive VP of creative at Sony Pictures Animation; screenwriter Misan Sagay (“Belle”) and writer Jade Branion (“The Chi”), and moderated by Columbia University Professor of Film Studies Jamal Joseph, the panel was an honest discussion of the challenges of breaking into animation as a Black woman, and what animation executives can do to improve the landscape in terms of diversity and representation.
Eden recalled that after she graduated from film school in San Francisco State, the opportunities were few and far between.
“I applied for a year to get a job at a visual effects company, and even then, I got my foot in the door by getting a job at the security department,” she noted. “I had to literally pitch myself to the producers to take a chance on me. When I moved into animation and recruiting, the number of people of color working in the business was very low. You never saw anyone who looked like you, so I decided to do something about that and reach out to those artists — because there are out there. I embraced the mission to focus on inclusive hiring even before we talked about it as a word. There is so much untapped talent out there.”