It’s her time! Female excellence in the creative industries: Ioana Moldovan
The 16th edition of Animest celebrates female excellence in animation through an ample selection of films directed by women: fresh voices changing the rules of the game, breathing new life into the field and collecting festival awards through their unique approaches and daring vision. In honor of this theme, we’d like to help bring female creators into the spotlight. Despite the gender imbalance in the industry, these ladies’ animations top charts worldwide. Join us to enjoy their films until Sunday, October 17, in-person at Cinema Elvire Popesco and the Cervantes Institute, and online, on the Animest streaming platform.
Why is this discussion still necessary, you ask? After all, the conversation around gender imbalance has already been had in so many contexts over many years. Well, we’ve got some numbers you might like to look at. Globally, around 60% of the students at art schools and universities identify as female, while only 20% of the key roles in the creative fields are held by women. In Romania, a study carried out by the Animest Association has shown an even greater gap between women studying animation (73%) and female directors who received funding for their projects from the Romanian Film Centre (8.22%). In our own experience organizing the Animest International Animation Film Festival for the past 15 years, women holding power roles in Romanian animation were the exception, not the norm.
Why this major gap? We continued investigating this issue and invited several female professionals, at the top of their field in the creative industries in Romania, to join the conversation. We wanted to explore how they felt when they entered their fields and if they’d experienced gender prejudice in their careers. We asked how necessary they felt initiatives promoting female excellence in creative jobs were, and (of course) inquired about the animated female characters they looked up to as kids.
We did not set out to prove a hypothesis. Our intention is to shed light on a series of diverse experiences that will help inform a realistic perspective on how the creative industries in Romania interact with women whose professional performance is nothing short of excellence. And the other way around.
Today, we’re seeing this issue through the eyes of photojournalist Ioana Moldovan. Her work was featured in publications like The Huffington Post, The New York Times and Al Jazeera. Ioana’s photographs often immortalize tough contexts: protests, wars, sensitive social issues.
1. As a kid, who were your favorite female characters in animation movies or shows?
I grew up with the animated shows on Italian TV stations – before we got more options. With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ April O’Neil and Lidia from Lydia and the Seven-Colored Flower (Lydie et la Fleur aux Sept Couleurs). Daria would only hit screens later.
2. What was your first interaction with your field of work?
I discovered my passion for documentary photography when I first shot a former communist workers’ colony. That’s when I first felt the need to dig deeper into a community and find the relevant stories it could share. It wasn’t enough to just snap some shots in the street, I wanted to use images to tell well-documented stories.
3. Have you encountered gender prejudice in your career? Do you think your professional path would have looked different if you were male?
I’ve oftentimes encountered gender prejudice, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it has truly altered my photography career. I’m just speaking for myself, I know for a fact that there are many examples that prove otherwise. Yes, more men are photojournalists. And there are situations where it’s easier to be male (for instance, documenting men’s communities in Muslim countries), but, at the same time, there are contexts where women have the advantage (extreme examples include documenting victims of sex trafficking or of genital mutilation). In my opinion, this is mostly an issue of access. And, yes, maybe you do choose your subjects depending on the level of access you believe you’ll have. I’ve personally never had to drop a story I wanted to document just because I am a woman.
4. How do you feel about Animest dedicating this year’s edition to women in animation?
I don’t know much about what it’s like to be a woman in the field of animation, but, nevertheless, any initiative that recognizes the contribution and success of females in any field is welcome.