As numerous efforts to address gender inequity in screen-based industries and technology have been steadily gaining momentum and ground, an organization that addresses all of these areas will be establishing a Vancouver branch.
At the presentation of the inaugural Women in Animation (WIA) Diversity Awards at Spark Animation 2017 (held from October 26 to 29), WIA copresident Margaret Dean announced that WIA will be launching a Vancouver chapter in January.
This Canadian arm of the nonprofit organization will be headed by a governing board that will include Electronic Arts Worldwide Studios worldwide content production vice-president Molly Mason-Boulé, Animal Logic chief operating officer Sharon Taylor, and Sony Pictures Imageworks production senior vice-president Michelle Grady, under the guidance of WIA global chapters chair Gail Currey.
The organization was launched in 1995 to support, empower, and advance female professionals working in the art, science, and business of animation. WIA seeks to increase accessibility of resources, create educational opportunities, provide social connections, and inspire excellence.
"The WIA mission, its infrastructure, and its established programs will enable us to create an environment of opportunity for women in and entering the various fields of animation,” Grady said in a statement.
The Vancouver branch will be committed to devoting Canadian efforts toward achieving WIA’s 50/50 by 2025 initiative, which aims to ensure gender equality in the animation industry by the year 2025.
As one of North America's largest film production centres, Vancouver has become home to the world's largest clusters of visual effects and animation studios and is on its way to becoming one of the leading VR, AR, and MR clusters as well.
Some of the major industry studios and offices in the city, many of which have opened up in recent years, include Sony Pictures Imageworks, Vancouver Industrial Light and Magic, Method Studios, and Motion Picture Company Vancouver. In October, the Cube, a 3D development incubator, was launched in the Railtown district.
“Over the last decade, Vancouver has become a global center for innovative studios producing animation, effects, gaming, VR, and AR," Currey stated in a news release. "Therefore, it is fitting that WIA be present in this dynamic community to advance its mission of supporting and empowering women.”