In December I was invited to produce an event for London International Animation Festival (LIAF) 2015 that promoted female animators. I was delighted to be able to bring together three exceptional animators that I have worked with at Animate – Elizabeth Hobbs, Jo Lawrence and Noriko Okaku – as a fan of the work of all three, it was great to be able to showcase their animations to the LIAF audience.
Each animator is technically brilliant and innovative, employing a range of techniques and tools including rubber stamping film, watercolour, collage, puppets and pixellation, to produce a riot of weird and wonderful films. As well as enjoying a selection of films made over the past sixteen years it was a treat to see that all of them were working on new projects: Elizabeth showed some work-in-progress footage from a new film that included found footage, which was a new direction for her work; Noriko showed The Interpreter, a film made collaging 18th century etchings and hand drawn animation that is inspired by Derbyshire myths and legends; and Jo shared The Woman who Owns the Sun, a 3D animated film using green screen and pixellation techniques. Here’s a look at some of their work:
Imperial Provisor Frombald, Elizabeth Hobbs, 2013
Made for Channel 4’s Random Acts, produced by Animate Projects
The Interpreter, Noriko Okaku, 2011
Made for the Animate OPEN: Parts & Labour, commissioned by Animate Projects, QUAD and D-Lab
Ylem, Jo Lawrence, 2012
Made for Channel 4’s Random Acts, produced by Animate Projects and Lupus Films
It was fantastic to be able to share the work of these animators with an engaged audience and highlight what great work women animators can craft. It can sometimes seems as though film and animation festivals appear to privilege male directors and not take diversity in consideration when programming. For instance looking at the British Showcase in LIAF 2015 there are only 3 women in the 16 named animators, and only one of their special guests across the 10 days of the festival was female – Becky Sloan from Becky and Joe. At Ottawa International Animation Festival 2015 the only women represented in their Special Screenings strand was Michèle Cournoyer. Only 9 out of the 32 animators nominated for the McLaren Award at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015 were female. On the flip side, in 2015 Annecy curated eight special Women and Animation programmes focusing on the work by figures such as Janet Perlman, Stacey Steers and Florence Miailhe. More of this please.
And it’s not as though there is a lack of talent out there. Take a look at the the Great Women Animators database for a snapshot of some of the women internationally who are producing award winning animation. Why are these women not crafty enough in getting their names in the spotlight? Is it a lack of confidence around entering their work into festivals? For a recent open call project I was involved with only 30% of the entries were from women animators – where were the rest?
If you are interested in finding out more about women animators and being part of a community there is:
* Animated Women UK which hosts networking events throughout the year
* Tricky Women runs an annual festival in Austria that is dedicated to “confronting the audience with the unlimited aesthetics of animation films made by women”
* Underwire Festival champions female talent working in film in the UK, and is something that I am proud to be part of. There’s been a new category added for 2016 looking for the best animation technique in a short film so a great time to submit your work and be part of a community of women filmmakers.
* Women in Film & TV (UK) are also a great advocate and support network for women working in the industry and offer a great resource to find out about what’s going on in the film industry
Let’s keep celebrating the craft of women animators in 2016!