In a world where men have often had the upper hand, it takes guts to take what rightfully belongs to you, not just as a female animator but as a woman in the workforce. These female animators are breaking the glass ceiling. With their creative contributions to the animation industry, they’re adding authenticity, improving old designs and concepts, and giving a voice to everyone who wants to become like them.
Here are BOA's Top 7 Female Animators you need to know about:
1. Lotte Reiniger
A pioneer in stop-motion animation, Charlotte or Lotte Reiniger's career in the animation and filmmaking industry has spanned nearly 60 years. Among the projects she has created are versions of "Cinderella," "Hansel and Gretel," and, one of her best-known projects, a 1926 silent film, "The Adventures of Prince Achmed."
2. Lillian Friedman Astor
The first thing you should know about this hardworking woman in animation is that she was actually rejected by Disney. However, that didn't stop her. Lillian Friedman Astor is known as the first female studio animator, having worked at Disney's rival studio, Fleischer Brothers Studio.
3. Ellen Woodbury
Ellen Woodbury worked at Walt Disney Studios during their renaissance period, bringing to life characters like Abu from "Aladdin," Zazu from "The Lion King," and Pegasus from "Hercules." She made a name for herself as Disney's first female supervising animator and is considered a highly-respected woman in animation.
4. Niki Yang
Yang has been considered one of the most sought-after women in animation. Animation website Keyframe has referred to Yang as a renaissance woman in the field of animation, having worked as a storyboard artist, writer, voice artist, and supervising director.
5. Emily Dean
Emily Dean's animation career began at the Australian Film Radio School (AFTRS) where she graduated and earned a certificate in Animation Directing. Her passion for the craft found herself working with major studios, like Warner Bros and Sony Pictures Animation. In 2017, Emily Dean has found her production studio, Grade 8 Productions.
6. Lindsey Olivares
A rising star in the animation industry, Lindsey Olivares took up Computer Animation at Ringling College of Art and Design and began working at DreamWorks Animation in 2009. Besides working on Madagascar 3, she has also contributed to DreamWork's "Penguins of Madagascar" and SPA's "The Emoji Movie." But perhaps Olivares is better known for the 2021 computer-generated science fiction film, "The Mitchells vs The Machines."
7. Domee Shi
Despite initially being rejected by Pixar Studios, Domee Shi has now made history as the first woman to direct a Pixar short and a solo feature there throughout the studio's 36-year history. She is widely known for Disney's animated film "Turning Red" and the animated Pixar's short "Bao", which won an Academy Award in 2019 for Best Animated Short Film.