SPARK ANIMATION Film Festival 2020 showcases Women in Animation (WIA) Diversity Awards from 29 Oct to 8 Nov

Graphics Society (Spark CG) has partnered with Women in Animation (WIA) to present the fourth annual WIA Diversity Awards, which recognise and honour individuals, films, and organisations that have made a significant impact in expanding the diversity of voices in the art and industry of animation.

The awards presentation ceremony is available to view online during the 12th Annual SPARK ANIMATION Film Festival from 29 October to 8 November 2020. The awards programme is available as part of the $25 Festival Pass (plus taxes and fees). Individual session tickets are also available.

The SPARK ANIMATION 2020 Film Festival and Conference has moved online this year with an expanded programme running over 11 days. The virtual festival ― produced by Vancouver-based SPARK CG ― is powered by Eventive, a technology platform designed by independent film lovers specifically to enhance virtual cinema screenings.

Women in Animation (WIA) is one of the most noted organisations that envisions a world in which women share fully in the creation, production, and rewards of animation, resulting in richer and more diverse entertainment and media that move our culture forward. 

The mission of WIA is to bring together a global community of animation professionals to empower and support women in the art, science and business of animation by increasing access to resources, creating opportunities for education, encouraging strong connections between individuals, and inspiring excellence.

Important Highlights of the SPARK ANIMATION 2020 Film Festival:

Laurence Ralph honoured for The Torture Letters

The WIA board of directors voted to award the 2020 WIA Diversity Award for Individual Achievement to filmmaker and Princeton University Professor of Anthropology Laurence Ralph for his animated documentary short, The Torture Letters

Fuelled by his own personal history of harassment by the Chicago Police, Ralph’s well-researched short connects the drug trade, police abuse and mass incarceration to the disease, disability, and premature death impacting urban residents of colour.

WIA president Marge Dean, pleased to honour Ralph with this “Best of Show” award, noted, “The Torture Letters uses the medium of animation in the best way possible by telling a story that not often heard but is critical for the advancement of humanity.”

SPARK CG Jury selects Maria Trénor’s short Where Were You?

Spain’s Maria Trénor’s film Where Were You? was awarded the 2020 WIA Diversity Award for Short Film, a juried award presented by SPARK CG. 

Where Were You? tackles the universal issue of domestic violence against women. The film mixes testimonies from women in different countries with the visual impact of animation, supporting the authenticity of many, often brutal, real-life experiences. 

SPARK ANIMATION 2020 Festival director Maria Antunes calls the film “a beautiful, powerful, and necessary piece of work.” She stated, “Where Were You? tackles the sad, universal reality of violence against women and challenges us to face not only brutal physical violence but also the daily, often subtle, indiscretions that affect more than half of the world’s population.”

Japan’s Kyoto Animation celebrated for inclusivity

The WIA Board of Directors voted for Kyoto Animation as winners of the 2020 WIA Diversity Award for Corporate Achievement. The husband-and-wife team of Hideaki and Yoko Hatta were recognised for creating “an inclusive studio that is based on the principle of creating a gender-balanced workplace.” 

WIA Vice president Jinko Gotoh mentioned, “As a Japanese producer myself, I’m particularly proud of the way Kyoto Animation shares WIA’s inclusive principle of hiring female artists, as well as their commitment to training artists.”

Award-winners recognised from around the world

Brian Horn from the United States, received the festival’s Cinematic Award for his commissioned work, Hearthstone Win or Lose. The Director’s Prize went to Canada’s Roy Stein for his short film Too Late.

The winner in the Regular Shorts category was Anton Dyakov from the Russian Federation for his film Box Ballet. Winner of the Music Video category was Kim Kyoung-bae from the Republic of Korea for Seoulsori. The Student Shorts award went to the French team of Grégoire de Bernouis, Jawed Boudaoud, Simon Cadilhac, and Hélène Ledevin for My friend who shines in the night.