Panel #1 – Saturday, Oct 6, 10:45am - 12:15pm:
Advocating for Diversity + Inclusion in Animation:
Race, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Disability + Age
A look at bias and discrimination taking place in the animation industry, and strategies for change. This panel draws on personal experience to discuss issues such as the lack of diversity in the workplace as well as harassment related to race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age.
Moderator: Teresa Cheng – Chair of the USC School of Cinematic Arts John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts
Teresa Cheng holds the John C. Hench Endowed Chair at the USC’s Division of Animation & Digital.
With over 30 years of animation and visual effects production experience, she has played key roles as a studio executive and a producer. Prior to joining USC, Cheng consulted for Walt Disney Imagineering and served as General Manager, Lucasfilm Singapore, with an international and local staff of 400. Cheng was Senior Production Executive overseeing production for the joint venture between DreamWorks Animation in the U.S. and the newly established Oriental DreamWorks in Shanghai.
Her feature film credits include Shrek Forever After, Madagascar, Batman & Robin and True Lies. During her 17-year tenure at DreamWorks, Cheng traveled extensively to evaluate CG studios in Shanghai, Nanjing, Taipei, Seoul, Mumbai, Bangalore, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto – culminating in the company’s expansion in China and India in the last few years.
In the visual effects community, Cheng has worked as both a client (Warner Brothers Studio) and a vendor (Rhythm & Hues) and is no stranger to startups (Digital Domain).
A native of Hong Kong, Cheng moved to Seattle where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Washington. Cheng has also lived in Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Yokohama.
Musa Brooker – Los Angeles based Director, Animator, Writer and Producer specializing in stop motion animation and owner of Platypus Pictureworks.
Musa Brooker (that's 'moo-say') is a Los Angeles based Director, Animator, Writer and Producer.
Specializing in Stop Motion, the Philadelphia native holds a BFA in Animation from University of the Arts and an MFA in Experimental Animation from The California Institute of the Arts where he was a Jacob K. Javitz Fellow.
When he's not working for larger production studios, Musa produces work out of his own little shop - Platypus Pictureworks. Musa has worked on projects large and small for clients such as McDonalds, Disney, Paypal, Target, Hasbro, Honda, NBC and Google. Along the way he's animated elves, trolls, cake, cereal, corn dogs, miniature cars, life size cars, a sponge named Bob, a mystery solving dog, super powered sandwiches, real sandwiches, tumbling leaves, cybernetic fowl, celebrities fighting to the death and real live people. He's also had the pleasure of directing a talking tree, a group of Bratz, a town of cougars, robots in disguise, a Super Bowl champion, an atomic powered super lizard, a Sith Lord and a Wookie.
Since 2010, Musa has also been a faculty member at USC's School of Cinematic Arts in the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts. In his spare time, Musa enjoys listening to old school Hip-Hop and NPR, visiting Disneyland and voting. He is a nearly obsessive Beatles fan and despite being allergic to cats, Musa presently finds himself living with three of them.
Erika Dapkewicz – Lead Film Editor on Sony Pictures “Vivo”
Erika is an ACE (American Cinema Editors) certified and award nominated Film Editor who specializes in Feature Animated Movies. She has worked on such films as Disney’s “Lilo & Stitch” - “Mulan” - “Pocahontas”. DreamWorks’ “Puss In Boots” - “The Croods” - “Monsters Vs Aliens” - and “Flushed Away”. Erika is currently the Lead Editor on Sony Pictures “Vivo” - an animated movie musical written and starring Lin Manuel Miranda (Hamilton - Moana). Erika is also a music composer and musician. She has scored short films and is in a successful Indie Band called, “Imaginarius”. Erika has also co-written and directed an Indie Live Action Sci-Fi movie from Orchard Pictures called, “Paradox Alice” (2012).
Yvette Kaplan – Director, Producer, Story consultant, Writer, Animator and Character Designer. Currently Timing Director on Disney’s hit revival of DuckTales.
Yvette Kaplan has worked in the animation industry for over thirty years as a director, producer, story consultant, writer, animator and character designer, and she’s still at it.
Some of Yvette’s career highlights include head of story on Blue Sky Studio’s hit feature Ice Age, director of Fox TV's King of the Hill, co-director of the MTV/Paramount feature Beavis and Buttheads Do America, and supervising director on the Beavis and Butthead MTV series. She was an episode director on the Nickelodeon series Doug, a creative consultant on Scholastic Films Magic Schoolbus series for PBS, director of the Emmy-winning pilot for WNET’s Cyberchase series, Supervising Producer on Cartoon Network's new series "Clarence," and is Co-Creator of the preschool series Zack and Quack, airing on Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. channels worldwide. In her current incarnation, Yvette is serving as Timing Director on Disney’s hit revival of “DuckTales.”
Jose Garcia Moreno, Associate Professor of Animation, School of Film and Television, Loyola Marymount University
José (1961) was born in Mexico City. He studied at the film school in Prague, FAMU, and worked as an apprentice in the animation studios Bratři v triku (Brothers in Trick) where he directed his first professional film under the historical Czech brand, founded by Jiří Trnka. He completed his education with a Masters in Fine Arts at UCLA. His work has been exhibited and awarded in film festivals around the world: Annecy, Anima Mundi, Clairmont-Ferrand, Guadalajara, among others. He has received prizes at Havana, Toronto, San Francisco, Mexico, Montreal and Japan.
He has been nominated to the Ariel by the Mexican Film Academy, received the Fulbright Scholarship, and also the FONCA / John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grant.He has been jury for the Mexican National Endowment for the Arts (FONCA) and for the McLaren-Lambart Award of the Society of Animation Studies. He was named in 2010 as one of the "Academic Leaders of the World” by the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores, Monterrey (ITESM) where he coproduced four animated short films on the theme of slavery and human trafficking with the support of CAST (Coalition for the Abolition of Slavery and Human Trafficking). In 2012, he was appointed by the President of Loyola Marymount University as part of the Strategic Planning Committee, chaired the Strategic Committee for Internationalization, and has also served as chair of the Animation Department in the School of Film and Television.
His body of work has an entry in the influential book "Animation, A World History" by Giannalberto Bendazzi. His most recent work includes a miniature reconstruction of a Baroque theater based on the Swedish Drottingholm mechanisms for a stop-motion piece, which recently received a Kennedy Center “meritorious award” for animation in a theater play.
Caress Reeves – Visual Effects Animator for Stoopid Buddy Stoodio's Robot Chicken and Supermansion
Caress Reeves is a Los Angeles-based animator and graduate from the USC School of Cinematic Arts Animation division. Her work often focuses on the intersection of the black experience and fantasy, usually from the perspective of black women like herself. Recently her animated work has displayed in art showcases such as the "DissMiss" (2017) installation in the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions gallery and the Soap Factory art collective in Minneapolis, MN. She also enjoys creating visual effects for stop-motion animation, her most recent work appearing in Stoopid Buddy Stoodio's Robot Chicken and Supermansion. When not busy with work, she spends her time writing fiction and visiting theme parks to pontificate about simulacra.
Kaitlyn Yang – Founder and Visual Effects Supervisor, Alpha Studios
At nine, Yang emigrated to the U.S. from China and was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, which leaves her wheelchair-bound. A graduate of USC's animation program, Yang founded her own post-production company, Alpha Studios, in 2013 and has more than 40 credits to her name, including "Robot Chicken" and "Falling Skies.” She is a recipient of the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Hollywood/Entertainment. She lives in Los Angeles with her two dogs.