Netflix Canada and Women in Animation Vancouver (WIA) announced the expansion of WIA Vancouver’s Animation Career EXCELerator Program (ACE). Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos included the news in his keynote speech at the virtual Banff World Media Festival today where he also shared that the company will be acting as the Premiere partner of the 2022-2024 program.
The goal of the ACE program is to advance women and those who identify as women into key creative roles in animation, providing mid-level career professionals targeted and focused mentoring, support and training. Through the program, participants are given the opportunity to develop, create and own original intellectual property.
The new grant will see the current ACE program expand to applicants across Canada and will allow for additional key creative roles to be included in the program’s offering. Currently six roles are covered in the program including writer, producer, director, art director, animation director, and composer. The initiative is open to all women, or those identifying as women or non-binary, with a special focus on attracting creators from BIPOC or underrepresented groups.
This collaboration with Netflix is part of the recently announced Netflix fund for creative equity, where Netflix will invest USD $100 million dollars over the next five years in a combination of external organizations with a strong track record of setting underrepresented communities up for success in the TV and film industries, as well as bespoke Netflix programs that will help us to identify, train and provide job placement for up-and-coming talent globally.
“Canada’s animation sector is second to none. This partnership will help ensure that the animation industry continues to thrive and include the experiences of Canadian women from diverse backgrounds,” says Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “WIA’s mission is to promote diversity and gender equity in the animation industry, with the goal of 50/50 by 2025. We are thrilled Netflix has recognized the value of the ACE program and the impact it has had on the animation industry here in BC. We are excited that this new partnership not only allows us to continue the program, but expand it to reach women across the country,” says WIA Vancouver board member & ACE program founder/co-executive producer Rose-Ann Tisserand.
Currently in its second term, the ACE program has proven extremely successful as all of the women in the first cohort have gone on to become leaders at Animation Studios across the country.
“ACE was such an amazing experience for my professional and personal growth. The program allowed me to gain confidence, skills and connections that otherwise would have taken me years. Working as the short film’s Art Director helped affirm my career goals, this role was exactly what I wanted to do. As a result of participating in the ACE program, I was promoted several times over and am currently the Design Department Supervisor for a series at Atomic Cartoons. This year I am also thrilled to be mentoring for the ACE program. I cannot wait for the world to see what this year’s talented team has brewing,” says 2019 ACE participant Maisha Moore.
Applications will open at the Spark Animation Festival 2021 for the next iteration of the program and all selected candidates will be announced in March 2022 on International Women’s Day. WIA Vancouver’s ACE Program would like to thank current sponsors for making the ACE Program possible. Current sponsors include Creative BC, Telefilm, Toonboom, Autodesk Foundation, Canadian Media Producers Association – BC Producer’s Branch, Boughton Law, National Film Board, Producer Essentials, Spark CG Society, Pender PR and The Research House Clearance Services.