5 Female Animators Who Shook Up The Industry

5 female animators who shook up the industry We’re big believers in the power of career mentors and role models—having someone to look up to as you navigate your own professional journey can give you the help and inspiration you need to follow your dreams. And when we stumbled upon the Smithsonian Magazine’s round-up of 5 women who shook up the animation industry, well, we couldn’t have asked for a better list of role models!

The list of what writer Daniel Eagan calls “extraordinary women animators” is, simply put, a fantastic round-up of some of the best in the business. Without further ado, the list includes:

Lotte Reiniger, credited with directing the first feature-length animated film. The Berlin native made a name for herself by using cut-out silhouettes that she moved frame-by-frame. Her film credits include The Adventures of Prince Achmed and The Rose and the Ring.

Janie Geiser, an internationally acclaimed puppeteer from Baton Rouge, La. Janie founded her own puppet company and later experimented with animation techniques that unite to create a collage of effects. Make sure to watch The Red Book, a mesmerizing film that’s as beautiful as it is entertaining.

Jennifer Yuh Nelson, a gifted storyboard artist and director—and someone we’re lucky to call a friend! Jennifer directed Kung Fu Panda 2, which, after making nearly $700 million at the box office, solidified Jennifer’s position as the most successful female director in Hollywood.

Helen Hill, an animator, documentary filmmaker, activist, teacher, wife and mother who completed 21 short films that explored the full range of animation. Her book Recipes for Disaster: A Handcrafted Film Cookbooklet is now a go-to resource for alternative filmmakers. Although her work was damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, most of her films are still available from the Harvard Film Archive.

Sally Cruikshank, credited with writing, animating and directing 1975’s Quasi at the Quackadero, one of the first countercultural films to break through to a mainstream audience. She cites the Fleischer Brothers and Walt Disney among her sources of inspiration. Cruikshank has animated approximately 20 pieces for Sesame Street, and has also contributed animated sequences to full-length films like Twilight Zone: The Movie.

A pretty amazing list, right? We encourage you to not only learn more about these wonderful women, but to watch their work, too—you’ll be glad you did!

As you make your own path in the world, who inspires you? We’d love to hear more about the people you look up to in the comments.

Image via Milestone Films

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