AfroAnimation Summit 2024 Honors Kemp Powers, Camille Eden, Bruce Smith, and Jermaine Turner at Inaugural Icon Awards

Independent Films Showcasing the Impact of Diverse Storytelling in Animation Celebrated at FRWD Awards

AfroAnimation, the largest annual event featuring diverse and BIPOC animators and creators, announced today the honorees for the first AfroAnimation Summit Icon Awards, along with the films selected as finalists for the FWRD Awards. The fourth annual AfroAnimation Summit will be held April 10 – 12, 2024 in Burbank, the Media Capital of the World, with Kemp Powers, Camille Eden, Bruce Smith, and Jermaine Turner honored at an awards luncheon on April 10th. AfroAnimation brings together the largest coalition of industry leaders, pioneers, and animation studio executives, artists, and creative talent to drive increased representation and inclusion throughout the entertainment industry.

Icon Award honoree Kemp Powers, director of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, will headline the summit’s kick-off panel April 10, ‘Developing Original Stories and the Art of Diverse Storytelling.’ Pioneer Award honoree Camille Eden, vice president of recruitment, talent development and outreach at

Nickelodeon will speak on the April 11 panel, ‘Unveiling the Untold Narratives of Women in Entertainment: Triumphs, Challenges, & Journeys.’ Additional panels include:

  • Star Wars and Beyond: Career, Culture and Content; Examining One’s “Self”: A Look Behind the Scenes at Pixar's Latest Sparkshort;
  • The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story with director Jarelle Dampier, writer Khaila Amazan, and producer/program creator David Schulenburg;
  • How I Got My Show Made: The Underdog Story of “Invincible Fight Girl” with Creator Juston Gordon-Montgomery;
  • Our Career Path to “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” with executive producer Rodney Clouden, writer LaGina Hill and voice actor Gary Anthony Williams;
  • Products of Animation: A Paramount Global Creative Group Discussion on Consumer Products; and
  • Drawing Ourselves: Being Black in Animation with Floyd Norman, Carole Holiday, Marlon West, Bruce Smith, Ron Husband and Searit Huluf.

In addition, Bruce Smith, creator and executive producer of Disney+ “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” and Jermaine Turner, director of adult genre animation for Netflix, will be honored as industry pioneers at the AfroAnimation 4.0 Icon Awards. Smith has been part of the animation industry for over three decades. Most recently, he served as one of three directors of the Academy Award-winning short “Hair Love.” At Netflix, Jermaine Turner has helped create some of the most popular adult animated genre shows such as Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, Arcane and Blue Eye Samurai.

The AfroAnimation Summit is hosted by the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel. The FRWD Awards Dinner on April 11th celebrates the art of diverse storytelling in the film, new media, and streaming platform industries. Award semifinalists include (Best Series: Castevania, Proud Family, Young Love, Scavengers Reign), (Best Animation Feature: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Elemental, The Boy and the Heron, Craig of the Creek), (Best International Series: Kizazi Moto Generation Fire, Iwaju, Kiya and Supa Team 4) and (Best Animation Director: Kemp Powers, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse).

“I created the AfroAnimation Summit to spur an increase in diversity – of talent and in the stories we tell – throughout the creative industry,” said Keith White, founder and CEO, AfroAnimation. “I am proud of the impact we’ve had over the past three years, bringing together more than 6,000 creative professionals who have incredibly diverse stories to share that appeal to wide audiences. I look forward to celebrating that success with industry representatives and summit attendees at this year’s FWRD Awards Dinner and Icon and Pioneer Awards luncheon.”

This year’s AfroAnimation Summit includes a focus on gender representation. Representatives from gaming, sync licensing (music), scriptwriting, voice over, and starting an animation production will also be represented at the summit for the first time. A new Exposition Hall features immersive experiences, and the Intern Hall provides a welcoming place for entry-level attendees to network and connect with opportunities in the industry. Hundreds of high school and college students are expected to attend, and recruiters representing major Hollywood animation studios will provide networking and interview opportunities for all attendees. The summit will also welcome Alain Bidard, an award-winning Martinique director known for blending Afro-Caribbean and global cultural elements in animation, further highlighting the event’s commitment toward showcasing diverse storytelling.

Each year, the AfroAnimation summit attracts artists, creators, animators, producers, storytellers, character designers, writers, voice over talent, VFX artists, and film/TV executives from around the world. This year’s summit sponsors include: DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Animation, Warner Bros. Animation, Netflix Animation, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Marvel Animation, Lucasfilm Ltd., Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic, Walt Disney Imagineering, 20th Television Animation, Disney Branded Television, Toon Boom Animation Inc., Laika Studios, FlareNova Studios, Visit Burbank, ASIFA-Hollywood and Xencelabs.

“We are also excited to launch an innovative mobile app platform that enables creatives to swipe right to discover career and freelance jobs in the entertainment industry at this year’s event,” said White.

More information and event details can be found at: www.afroanimation.com.

 

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