Netflix launches second edition of Animation Foundation program for underrepresented communities

Netflix launched a second iteration of their Animation Foundation program for early creatives, particularly from underrepresented communities, looking to break into the animation industry. For this second version, they are focused on native and veteran communities, teaming up with Illuminative and Veterans in Media and Entertainment (VME) to identify candidates for the program. 

Stories like Maya and the Three and Over the Moon help us see new perspectives and bring us closer to each other. With better representation in the animation industry, more such stories can be presented to the world. That starts by building access for underrepresented talent to better compete for entry level roles in animation – which usually go to people from the top animation schools or referrals from industry connections. 

In a statement Netflix shared, that they are encouraged by the results of our first foundation program with Latinx in Animation and Exceptional Minds. The program had 74 mentees and 19 Netflix Animation mentors, focused on art and visual development, storyboarding, CG/VFX, writing and production management. The goal of the program is to build equity and increase access for underrepresented early creatives.

Program participants were matched to a mentor from Netflix Animation Studio. Mentees received mentorship on the industry, career advice, and guidance with editing and curating professionally-styled portfolios, writing samples, or resumes, so they are prepared to apply for internships, training/apprentice programs, or entry level positions within animation. 

For this reason,  the Netflix Animation Foundation Program, a four-month mentorship program, partnering with Latinx in Animation and Exceptional Minds was started last year. For their second session, they have partnered with Veterans in Media and Entertainment (VME) and Illuminative to identify candidates from the veteran and Native American / Alaskan Native communities. 

Veterans in Media and Entertainment (VME) is a professional association of U.S. military veterans working in, or aspiring to work in, media and entertainment. Members work in all facets of the industry from above the line creatives to positions in studios, networks, agencies, production companies, trades, and unions/guilds. With over 4,800 members across the nation, VME’s footprint spans film, television, commercials, digital media, theater, music, animation, and gaming.

IllumiNative is a national, Native woman-led nonprofit dedicated to increasing the visibility of Native peoples and challenging and changing the narrative about Native peoples. We envision a future where the self-determination and sovereignty of Native peoples is respected, where our children see themselves reflected in the world around them, and where Native peoples author and drive our own narrative.

“This program was so helpful as an aspiring storyboard artist trying to break in. My mentor showed us his creative process and was open to any questions from us. Just having first hand experience of someone creating a storyboard from a script was amazing to watch. All my niche questions were answered. I’ve learned so much. Thank you so much Netflix! Also to my mentor,” story group participant Enacio Diaz said about the program.