Open discussion about ILM and the magic they create. Also VFX and movies in general. Anyone can post topics here.

Moderator: malducin

#31688
Where are the women vfx supervisors? Where the heck are they? Yeah, there are lots of women vfx producers and coordinators and rotoscopers and women in other positions. That's great.

But why the tiny number of women in vfx supervisory positions?

ILM itself has over a dozen vfx supes and ONE woman in that position, Linda deQuattro.

Doesn't even seem to be many compositing supervisors or CG supervisors. I do know Polly Ing is a CG supervisor on Ep. 7 but it still seems to be a rarity.

Am I wrong? Are there more women in vfx supervisory roles than I realize? Forget about an equal number. What is going on in vfx that seems to preclude even a sizable minority of women from joining the vfx supervision ranks?
Last edited by ShaneP on Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:28 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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By TylerMirage
#31690
First thing I thought of when I saw the thread title was the scene from Blazing Saddles.

"YO, WHERE THE WHITE WOMEN AT?!"

Yeah, it's interesting that the women seem to be more involved in the production/coordinating aspect of VFX, rather than supervising. This will probably come off as super sexist and I apologize for that, but maybe they just demonstrate better coordinating skills than creative skills? I mean, I know that both a supervisor and a producer need to have both creative and "producer-y" sides, and I'm not saying women aren't as creative (they're probably more creative, if anything), but...yeah. I don't know. I think it'd be really interesting to see a female supe being all like "We have to *BOOM* explode the practical bus this way because the CG alien shoots it with its space cannon like *CRRSSHHHHHH* *AAAHHHH* *PFFFTT*"

I work for a television production company in Western Canada, and what's interesting is that 90% of the office staff are females, and 90% of the production staff are males. But ALL of the high-ranking positions are the females. VP Business Affairs, Executive Producer, Development Producer, PM, PC, Supervising Producer, etc.. All female. The accountant, Field Producer, DOP, location sound, and myself are the only males on the team, ha ha. 5/25 staff are male.

I've sort of noticed a trend - it appears that VFX-related bonus features and behind-the-scenes interviews might be trying to throw more women in there. Or maybe I'm just crazy and whenever there is a woman being interviewed, it just stands out more?
User avatar
By ShaneP
#31693
Well, my point was there seems to be plenty of women on the creative side up until the supervisory level. You have paint and roto women supervisors. But it doesn't seem like you seem many animation, CG, compositing, layout or vfx women supes. You don't see many at all.

I don't agree that it's inherent that they're more or less capable in one area or another. Clearly women have demonstrated every bit the creativity as men have when placed in similar situations. What is going on?

In ILM's 40 year history they had dozens of vfx supervisors, TWO of which were women(Linda deQuattro and Ellen Poon). Bravo to them. But, where is everybody else?

BTW, it doesn't escape me that Lucasfilm is full of women serving in numerous capacities. Their president is Kathy Kennedy. And George Lucas and LFL had a long tradition of hiring women into various executive positions.

My question is why does VFX appear to be the outlier? I even notice Skywalker Sound seems to have more women working in the sound mixing and editing.

Is this a vfx cultural thing?
Last edited by ShaneP on Thu May 07, 2015 11:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
By TylerMirage
#31694
Now that you mention it, I do recall seeing plenty of roto and compositing females in BTS stuff, but not in the other other departments. Hmm...

Jeepers, only two females in 40 years?! And I've never even heard of Ellen Poon. :eek:

It's obviously a conspiracy, Shane. I think you need to break down the doors of ILM and demand to see all the women and personally promote them yourself. :e_biggrin:
User avatar
By ShaneP
#31695
TylerMirage wrote:Now that you mention it, I do recall seeing plenty of roto and compositing females in BTS stuff, but not in the other other departments. Hmm...

Jeepers, only two females in 40 years?! And I've never even heard of Ellen Poon. :eek:

It's obviously a conspiracy, Shane. I think you need to break down the doors of ILM and demand to see all the women and personally promote them yourself. :e_biggrin:




Ellen Poon was an early member of the CG department at ILM when it was growing in the early 90s and worked up to vfx supervision by end of that decade. She supervised ILM's work on The Green Mile among others. She eventually left and formed her own multimedia company and now works overseas on HK prods.

Oh wait, Sandy Karpman was a vfx supervisor too around that same time. So, three in 40 years. Statistically, that's pretty pathetic. But it's industry wide. It's not just ILM.

And again, yes you see roto and compositors who are women. That's my point though. You see them enough in the ranks throughout departments you would think that would also be reflected in the supervisory ranks. But, it doesn't seem so.
#31698
I don't think that VFX is an outlier per se in the film industry, but more like since it's close related to the tech industry, there is a lot of sexism inherent in the system, starting with education in STEM. Anecdotally it would seem they fare better coming from the art side, say like Jean Bolte in the Viewpaint department. It doesn't help when even women in power like Amy Pascal and Victoria Alonso don't seem to care or grasp the situation.

ILM does seem, also anecdotally, better in that respect, there have been a few women supervisors, and many women in different departments. There might be some women in supervisory roles, but the ways credits are done nowadays, almost anyone listed just as CG or digital artist, it's difficult to know.

Ellen Poon was great, I remember when she left to supervise Hero. I do remember seeing her name listed in an animated movie, I think maybe PDI/Dreamworks?
#31704
malducin wrote:I don't think that VFX is an outlier per se in the film industry, but more like since it's close related to the tech industry, there is a lot of sexism inherent in the system, starting with education in STEM. Anecdotally it would seem they fare better coming from the art side, say like Jean Bolte in the Viewpaint department. It doesn't help when even women in power like Amy Pascal and Victoria Alonso don't seem to care or grasp the situation.

ILM does seem, also anecdotally, better in that respect, there have been a few women supervisors, and many women in different departments. There might be some women in supervisory roles, but the ways credits are done nowadays, almost anyone listed just as CG or digital artist, it's difficult to know.

Ellen Poon was great, I remember when she left to supervise Hero. I do remember seeing her name listed in an animated movie, I think maybe PDI/Dreamworks?


Yeah Poon was also at DNeg for a spin too. I think she's mostly worked in Hong Kong and China in the last decade or so. Ive watched a few of the films she's suped. HK martial arts stuff.

Oh you might be right about ILM better than others in the industry regarding roles for women. Again, this is just a layman's observation and I might be wrong.

Jean Bolte is another supe who has been there a long time too.
#31719
Poon was at Dneg for a stint? I'll have to check it out.

I wonder if the Viewpaint dept. is a bit like the old model shop. I remember seeing Bolte listed just as a viewpainter, and somebody else listed as the Viewpaint supe. Kinda like when Steve Gawley and Lorne Peterson switched back and forth supervising miniatures on different shows. Other departments also had women in lead positions as well.

It might be perception, other VFX studios might be doing better than the norm, though we might not now the names. Them again sometimes you here this horror stories from studios via the Sony hack or VFXSoldier, so there is still a long way to go. And since there are no laws concerning things like paid maternity leave, it's going to be an uphill battle in most cases.
#31747
vfx fan wrote:I'm more curious as to why more women function as fx producers?


Maybe a higher percentage of women in careers that lead to VFX producer roles, so proportionally there might be more. Might be that there is less sexism in related careers as well, like general film school, business administration etc. Who knows!
#31833
Well, Lynwen Brennan addresses this a bit in the wired article

Am I happy that there is still this gender bias within the industry? No. But I am happy to see it’s changing. I just think it’ll take a while.


Also Colette Mullenhoff, who won a Sci-Tech award and got a standing ovation mentions this:

There are five women in R&D today. At one point I was the only one.


I do know that several years ago there were other women in R&D, did they leave or get cut after the Disney acquisition? At least the situation seems to be improving.
#33143
NYT talks to Lynwen Brennan and other women at ILM about turning the tide o the vx industry to include more women in creative positions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/movi ... .html?_r=0

Here's a snippet:
"Women made up just 5 percent of all visual effects supervisors on the 250 top-grossing films in 2014 (the last year for which figures are available), and many teams employed no women artists whatsoever."

I hope we see ILM making some progress in this area…and soon. 5% women as part of the vfx supervisory teams is not acceptable.

You've always been an industry leader in the craft of vfx ILM. So, here's a new challenge to take the lead on. Go ILM!