20 Aug 2019

Increasing diversity in the VFX industry - there's a long way to go

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ACCESS: VFX - working to make the VFX industry more inclusive ACCESS: VFX - working to make the VFX industry more inclusive ACCESS: VFX

News that Foundry has partnered with ACCESS:VFX highlights both the fact that there is an ongoing diversity drive in the VFX industry and that there is still a long way to go.

If you haven’t come across ACCESS:VFX yet, a) you will do soon as it looks to expand from its UK base and into regional hubs in New York, Chicago and Montreal, and b) let the organisation’s founder and chair, Simon Devereux, introduce why it’s so important.

“The UK’s VFX industry is estimated to be worth more than £1 billion a year to the UK economy,” he explains, “yet is currently 85% white and only 27% female. We need and want more diverse talent to join our sector.”

ACCESS:VFX aims to facilitate just that. It is a global non-profit organisation focused on driving inclusion and diversity in the visual effects, animation and games industries, and is just starting to build up a serious head of steam in its ongoing championing of diversity. Its e-mentoring programme recently celebrated connecting over 100 young people aged 13 to 41 to supportive VFX industry members. 70% of mentees are BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic People) and/or female, and there are ambitions to grow the programme to 350 by the end of 2019.

Q-VFX, Queer VFX, also launched back in June during Pride Month and offers an inclusive LGBTQI+ community hub where both staff and aspiring talent can access information, events, mentorship and support. It’s having a Soho get-together at the end of September. Details on the website.

Foundry is the latest industry heavyweight to join the organisation and CEO Jody Madden commented: “We are huge believers in making the visual effects industry as accessible as possible. The next generation of creative talent is our industry’s lifeblood. We are delighted to support this cross-company initiative to provide diversity and inclusivity.”

She’s not alone either. Paging through the corporate supporters of ACCESS:VFX is like reading though a Who’s Who of the VFX industry, with leading companies such as DNEG, Cinesite, Escape Studios, The Mill, ILM, Milk, and more all onboard.

That membership all helps drive the practical e-mentoring program that Devereux says is at the heart of the organisation’s mission. “We connect aspiring creative and VFX talent to leaders at VFX, animation and games studios — including Framestore, Union, Outpost and Fix FX, amongst others — through a private Slack channel. With so many exciting events planned for 2019, having a world-leading VFX brand like Foundry add its weight and support to our diversity campaign to mentor the next generation of talent is a win-win for our industry.”

More details at the ACCESS:VFX website: https://www.accessvfx.org


Andy Stout

Andy has spent over two decades writing about all aspects of the broadcast and film industries for a variety of high-profile industry publications on both sides of the Atlantic. During that time the industry has moved from 4:3 SD to 16:9 SD to HD and now on to 4K HDR. He's getting kind of curious to see where it goes next.

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