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Industry Forum | New York Int'l Children's Film Festival
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We have always advocated for a more diverse and inclusive world for kids on screen. In 2020 we raised the call behind the scenes and launched our industry initiative, Toward an Inclusive Future, to jumpstart actionable conversations among experienced and rising creators of media and entertainment for kids. Once again, The NYICFF Industry Forum will host local, national, and international creative and cultural practitioners—100% online. Join us for frank and insightful conversations and help shape the future of kids' storytelling.

Every studio and content creator is looking to identify the best new talent in today’s competitive market—a task easier said than done. For the past 25 years, NYICFF has generated and discovered a pool of thousands of diverse, international filmmakers and producers at all stages of professional development.

The 2022 Industry Forum is a three-part series of exciting, vital virtual community conversations to celebrate, support, and expand the children’s media field toward a more inclusive future. NYICFF alumni filmmakers and partnering organizations will offer creative inspiration and practical takeaway for industry leaders, aspiring filmmakers and creatives, students, culture workers and educators. This NYICFF event is designed to both ensure and demonstrate the value of a diverse and culturally inclusive workforce from idea to audience.

Missed the the live events? Stream them now for free!

Now available online for free! We welcome participation from those at all career stages—from upcoming talent to established makers: executives, filmmakers, directors, producers, distributors, writers, animators, and film and media students.

2021 speakers & guests

Frank Abney
Co-founder of Rise Up Animation, director of Netflix's Canvas, producer of Oscar®-winning short Hair Love
Lindz Amer
Founder and CEO of Queer Kid Creative, co-host of Queer Kid Stuff, and host of Activist, You!
Masuma Begum
Virtual Intensive Training Intern, The Animation Project
Reginald De Guillebon
President, Folimage
Madeline Di Nonno
CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Television Academy Foundation
Elizabeth Ito
NYICFF Award-winning director (Welcome to My Life), creator of Netflix's City of Ghosts
Marie Jamora
Director of Flip the Record (NYICFF 2018) and What Isn’t There, and founder of Cinema Sala
Eché Janga
Director of Buladó (NYICFF 2021) and Helium
Monica Lago-Kaytis
Co-founder of Rise Up Animation, Executive Producer of The Christmas Chronicles
Guillaume Lorin
Director, NYICFF 2021 Grand Prize winner Vanille
Halima Lucas
Writer/director of Amelia's Closet (NYICFF 2017), writer, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
Ernesto Javier Martínez
Writer of La Serenata and When We Love Someone We Sing to Them, professor at University of Oregon
Koji Nelissen
Producer, NYICFF 2021 Award-winner Buladó
Halcyon Person
Head Writer at 9 Story Media
Nienke Poelsma
Head of Cinekid for Professionals
Miguel Puga
Co-executive producer and director of The Casagrandes
Noelle Stevenson
New York Times bestselling writer, showrunner of Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Ellen Su
Filmmaker, Artistic Recruiter at Titmouse, and co-lead for Women in Animation, NYC Chapter
Nala Turner
Lead Creative Arts Therapist,The Animation Project
Yalda T. Uhls, PhD
Founder, Center for Scholars and Storytellers, UCLA research scientist
Emerald Wright-Collie
Creative manager and producer, Silvergate Media and NYICFF Programming Committee member

2022 speakers & guests

Marieke Blaauw
NYICFF Award-winning (2017's Heads Together), Oscar®-nominated filmmaker of the animation studio Job, Joris, & Marieke
Liam Cohen
UC Santa Barbara PhD candidate in experimental condensed matter physics
Scott Cohen
Actor (Gilmore Girls, Billions); adjunct professor, Hunter College; NYICFF Board of Directors
Priya Giri Desai
Executive Producer, BWA Studios; talent consultant and recruiter; NYICFF Board of Directors
Kerri Grant
Award-winning writer; Executive Producer of Netflix's Ada Twist, Scientist
Mascha Halberstad
Animator and director of NYICFF 2022 Opening Night film OINK; co-founder, Holy Motion Studio
Camrus Johnson
Two-time NYICFF Award-winning filmmaker (2022's She Dreams at Sunrise and 2020's Grab My Hand: A Letter to My Dad); actor (DC's Batwoman)
Laura Ordoñez
Head of Podcast Ratings and Reviews, Common Sense Media
Huda Razzak
2022 NYICFF Jury Award-winning filmmaker of The Ocean Duck
Marleen Slot
Producer or NYICFF 2022's OINK and SWOP; co-founder, Holy Motion Studio
Nic Yulo
Director of NYICFF 2022's Horizon and Knights in Newark; award-winning writer; illustrator; children's book author

2022 industry forum events

June 14 — 5:00pm
Small is Mighty: Women Forging Paths in Animation

Featuring Marieke Baauw, Mascha Halberstad, and Marleen Slot

We’re shining a spotlight on multitasking animators forging their own, distinct paths to get their work made, including the director-producer team of Mascha Halberstad and Marleen Slot, who launched their own stop-motion studio, Marieke Baauw of the celebrated Oscar-nominated design and animation trio Job, Joris, & Marieke. We’ll look at creative business models that complement animation and enhance value proposition while slaying industry biases. PLUS: discover how small is mighty, from the Netherlands to New York.


June 21 — 5:00pm
Fostering a Diverse Workforce

Featuring Priya Giri Desai, Camrus Johnson, and Huda Razzak
Moderated by Common Sense Media's Laura Ordoñez

We're thrilled to kick off the conversation with BIPOC filmmakers whose successes we celebrate and whose insights we will glean. Emerging and aspiring creators and students will leave with a roadmap for how to get their foot in the door. PLUS: best practices for studios and platforms to identify and support new talent telling diverse stories.


June 28 — 5:00pm
STEM Stories on Screen

Featuring Nic Yulo, Liam Cohen, and Scott Cohen

Whether you are an educator, a change maker, a science and film nerd, or just love a good lab coat, join us to discover the profound impact that representation can have in supporting science-based careers and study and the outsized impact of representing diverse stories for women and girls to pursue STEM careers. PLUS: how to use these films and related materials to spark real change in the classroom and beyond.


2021 industry forum events

April 29 — 5:00pm
Behind the Curtain: Making Career Pathways Transparent

Featuring Monica Lago-Kaytis, Halcyon Person, and Ellen Su
Moderated by Emerald Wright-Collie
Presented with support from Rise Up Animation and Women in Animation

Rarely are two career trajectories identical, but no matter the case, the roadmap to a career in media can be particularly challenging—especially for those from underrepresented communities. Join us for a candid conversation from people who figured it out as they went along so you don’t have to go it alone and hear from training programs that expand access.
watch now

May 6 — 5:00pm
Owning Your Story: BIPOC Creators

Featuring Frank Abney, Elizabeth Ito, Halima Lucas, and Miguel Puga
Presented with support from Rise Up Animation

How can you ensure that your ideas and stories are authentically crafted, produced, and represented? Join these showrunners, executives, and creatives as they discuss the shifting landscape and how to make sure your voice is heard in today’s cultural moment.
watch now

May 13 — 5:00pm
Beyond Binary Storytelling In Kids’ Media

Featuring Lindz Amer, Ernesto Javier Martínez, Noelle Stevenson, and a presentation from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media's Madeline Di Nonno

Queer representation opens doors for everyone. Seeing queer issues, joys, triumphs, and celebrations on screen can give young audiences an avenue to understanding themselves and others. Activists, authors, and filmmakers discuss inclusive programming for kids and underscore the importance of discussing gender and sexuality in age-appropriate ways.
watch now

May 20 — 2:00pm
Going Global: Diverse Storytelling in a Diasporic World

Featuring Reginald De Guillebon, Eché Janga, Guillaume Lorin, Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo, Koji Nelissen, and Nienke Poelsma
Co-presented by Cinekid

How is diverse storytelling for young audiences supported globally? International film institutions, independent studios, directors, and producers discuss crafting films creatively and sustainably through dedicated initiatives, workshops, co-production partnerships, and more.
watch now

May 27 — 5:00pm
A Solid Foundation: Funding Kids’ Media as a Key Investment in Inclusion

Featuring Marie Jamora and Yalda T. Uhls
Presented with support from Center for Scholars and Storytellers

Children’s media has the enormous potential to help foster a diverse, inclusive society through thoughtful stories and broad representation. Funders are key in supporting independent filmmakers and arts organizations to get this work made and screened. This panel will highlight best practices of funders, filmmakers, and cultural organizations collaborating on positive change.
watch now



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