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A 'Trailblazing' Anniversary!

"An Invisible History" Program

8/7/17 – One year ago today, in one remarkable evening, light was finally cast collectively on the rich 'her-story' of animation! From the very beginnings of celluloid to the digital revolution, women have been redefining the animated form and this noted gathering of stellar trailblazers were rightfully celebrated! What better forum to place women in the spotlight than a standing-room-only crowd at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences premier Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills!

The talent gathered that evening was truly 'Her-story'-making! Collectively, in that room were women artists who had worked on every Disney Animated feature film — ever! From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Moana, and beyond! The excitement was palpable and the epic three hour event flew by as if it was a mere moment! People still share with me... "I was there!"

Disney Legend Marge Champion—live action reference for Snow White—was part of this extraordinary event!

And what a line-up! The 15 women panelists (a mere tip of a massive mountain of masterful animation mavens) reflected a remarkable array of artists across multiple roles and decades of our collective animated past.

Mindy Johnson, Presenter; Enid Wizig, Animator; Virginia Fleener, Animator; Carmen Sanderson, Ink & Paint; Eleanor Dahlin, Inker; Gretchen Albrecht, Head of Ink & Paint; Jane Baer, Animator; Bonnie Arnold, Producer; Jun Falkenstein, Director/Animator; Lorna Cook, Academy Award nominated Director; Tina Price, Digital Animation Pioneer; Carole Holliday, Animator/Director; Linda Miller, Animator; Amy Smeed, Head of Animation; Patty Peraza, Special Effects Animator; Kathy Zielinski, Lead Animator. Also featured – Disney Legends Ruthie Tompson, Marge Champion and Arlene Ludwig.

It's been quite a year since this extraordinary event. Enlightened insights, expanded understanding, industry transitions, empowered talent, educated classrooms and audiences — the array of speaking/presenting opportunities has been wonderful — all sparking positive change. Unfortunately, there's been sad change as we've lost so many of our ladies. Seeing the indomitable Carmen Sanderson in the front row, who we lost a few weeks following this event, reminds me of just how fleeting time truly is.

Final photo of panelists with more trailblazing animation attendees.

I am so deeply honored to be sharing the story of these trailblazers, particularly with eager audiences hungry for this wider understanding of women artists and their contributions to animation. Rather than tapering off, the interest and enthusiasm has sustained and continues to expand for wider, more universal audiences! Very exciting! There's still research and discoveries to make, but thankfully this nearly-lost 'her-story' is being told.

A final photo-op!

You'll be hearing more about new projects and discoveries in the coming weeks and months ahead, but today marks a memorable 'Trailblazing' milestone well worth noting!

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