Thursday, July 16, 2020

Enriching Education: Animation Workshops with NY Women in Film & Television

New York Women in Film & Television is pleased to announce it will present two exciting multi-day virtual animation workshops, one for teens and one for adults, in late July as part of its commitment to advancing the filmmaking and storytelling skills of the greater New York City community. Participants in the NYWIFT Women’s Media Workshops will be encouraged to draw on their community’s experience of the COVID-19 crisis to create their personal animated stories. The program is presented with the support of New York City Council Members Joe Borelli (District 51), Keith Powers (District 4), and Carlina Rivera (District 2). Completed projects will have a unique NYWIFT premiere on a live virtual platform and be available via the NYWIFT Vimeo channel.

NYWIFT will present the program in partnership with the prestigious New York Film Academy animation department, which will provide expert animation educators from its award-winning program, Isaac Kalsky and Robert Appleton, to guide participants in working virtually to create their own finished short films. Not only are these skills used in film, television, and advertising, they are also a vital part in the creation of digital environments and social media. Participants will emerge from the workshops with baseline skills that they can grow and use in a variety of ways and industry sectors in the future.

NYWIFT will present two workshops:
Animation Modeling Class (for teens 14-18)
Over three days, participants will learn the basics of industry standard Maya Autodesk interface while modeling a fish, an aquarium, and props. Participants will emerge from the class with a good understanding of how to make simple objects in a 3D environment.
Dates: July 20-22, 2020; 10 AM – 5 PM (with a one hour break daily)
Cost: Free
To register: email

3D Animation Class (for adults)
This Webinar explores basic methods of animation and how they are being implemented in Maya Autodesk's 3D computer graphics software. Topics will include: Disney’s 12 principles of animation, a demonstration of bouncing ball animation, a demonstration of a Pendulum animation and tail animation, walk cycle animation, and techniques for facial expression.
Dates: July 23-24, 2020; 4 – 7 PM
Cost: $50
Link to register:

Attendees can go to and download either an educational copy of Maya Autodesk 2020 or a 30-day trial. Maya Autodesk can be used on the Windows or Mac platform on any decent laptop or PC.

I had a chance to interview Easmanie Michel, NYWIFT Special Projects Associate, who curated the program.

Why did NYWIFT decide to host these virtual workshops?
We pivoted to virtual programming and launched the new NYWIFT Talks series in early March as COVID-19 started to hit. We are striving to meet the needs of the community as the pandemic continues to impact the media and entertainment industry, in addition to directly addressing the response to the Black Lives Matter Movement through several of our programs. This Inaugural Women’s Animation Workshop aligns with NYWIFT’s efforts to continue supporting the filmmaking community through offering virtual programming. This workshop provides participants with a way to add storytelling and technical skills to their repertoire even during this time of COVID-19.

Why is it important to encourage more girls and women to enter the film and TV industry?
We’re seeing a radical shift in our culture at this moment --a calling to amplify the voices of those who have traditionally been invisible. If we want to create a world where there is equality and every individual has the ability to be self-determined, then girls and women will need to be a vital part of the process that redefines the film and TV industry.

What are some current programs available to build awareness and encourage girls to think about careers in film?
From the start we envisioned this free animation workshop as a way to introduce girls, who would otherwise not be able to afford a program, to a skill set that currently has a competitive advantage in the industry. In the past, we’ve had a Girl Scout troop visit our office to find out about the industry, and our intern-mentor program is open to girls who have had no experience in film, an opportunity that would be hard to find anywhere else in the industry.

What are some careers in the film/TV industry that are sometimes overlooked?
A big one that comes to mind is Production Designers, who are responsible for creating the physical world of the film. NYWIFT is currently working on including this category in our programming and celebrations in the coming years. This will hopefully add visibility and encourage girls and women to pursue a career in that department.

Easmanie Michel (NYWIFT Special Projects Associate) has worked continuously in the film and television industry since 2004. Michel is currently producing the feature Caroline’s Wedding, which she co-wrote. In February of 2018 the script was the Grand Prize Winner of the American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest and Michel received the New York Council on the Arts Individual Artist grant for Caroline’s Wedding in 2019. Michel has a Master’s Degree in Cinema Studies from New York University and she is currently completing a Certificate in Financial Accounting at NYU.

New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) advocates for equality in the moving image industry and supports women in every stage of their careers. As the preeminent entertainment industry association for women in New York, NYWIFT energizes women by illuminating their achievements, presenting training and professional development programs, awarding scholarships and grants, and providing access to a supportive community of peers. NYWIFT brings together more than 2,500 women and men working both above and below the line. NYWIFT is part of a network of 50 women in film chapters worldwide, representing more than 15,000 members. NYWIFT is a nonprofit 501c3 public charity.

New York Women in Film & Television is supported by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS), New York Community Trust, Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and Warner Media.
More information can be found online at:

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