Animation is traditionally a fairly male-dominated part of filmmaking but there’s a wealth of female, trans and non-binary talent making films of breath-taking beauty and eye-popping style. Back in 2018 a group of energised animators decided to support and highlight the women animators and animation directors by creating the directory Punanimation. The organisation has since genitally-inspired Punanimation moniker in favour of a more inclusive brand – Panimation. Next week they’ll be hosting a panel and showcase with Vimeo in London’s Shoreditch (tickets here) – ahead of the event we caught up with the organisers to find out more about the rebrand, how the industry can support more diverse talent and what’s in store…
Introducing Panimation from Panimation on Vimeo.
LBB> What have you learned from your journey so far?
Panimation> We have learned so much from our journey this far! First off all that the need for a forum like Panimation was a lot bigger than any one of us could have imagined. And secondly that we constantly grow and learn along the way. A big part of our rebrand was us realising that the community had grown bigger and we needed to adapt and make room for people that don't identify as women.
LBB> Can you tell us about the decision to rebrand to 'panimation' and what you hope it will achieve?
Panimation> Promoting gender diversity in the animation and motion industry has always been our main goal and when Panimation started as Punanimation the initial idea was to create a community for women. Over time we have realised that there were other gender minorities within the industry who could benefit from our community, such as non-binary and trans people, and the rebrand was a necessity to create an environment where they would feel welcome.
LBB> Why do women, trans and NB animators need and benefit from a platform like this? What are the barriers or biases that are getting in the way for this talent - and how can the creative industry better support it?
Panimation> The animation industry is predominantly male-led, and people have a tendency to hire people that are like themselves. This affirmation bias leads to a change-averse, unbalanced environment. The lack of diversity, especially in higher positions, can also deter more diverse talent from entering the industry in the first place as young people need role models who they can identify with.
We think the industry as a whole need to work harder to support diverse talent (and as a result better, more interesting creative work). The Panimation Directory was created in response to this and provides a simple tool to start diversifying your teams and freelance roster.
LBB> What will you be discussing at the panel next week?
Panimation> We will be discussing films by three London based directors: Katy Wang, Jennifer Zheng and Jessica Ashman. We will talk about creative processes, the making of their films and the challenges they experience as creators.
LBB> And what can we expect from the showcase?
Panimation> Amazing, beautiful, thought-provoking, progressive short films!