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UN Women’s HeForShe Partners with CalArts to Create Animated Films Promoting Gender Equity

UN Women’s HeForShe Partners with CalArts to Create Animated Films Promoting Gender Equity
A series of films created by CalArts’s students will premiere at the annual HeForShe Summit on September 26th, 2018 in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.  

The project uses the power of animation to express complex issues about human rights to viewers around the world. CLICK HERE for the project trailer.

(Valencia, California, August 12th, 2018) – UN Women’s HeForShe movement partners with internationally renowned, California Institute of Arts (CalArts), to promote gender equality through the arts. The partnership engages students in CalArts’s animation programs to tackle persisting gender stereotypes and drive cultural change through the production of original animated short films addressing serious barriers to gender equality. 

Attitudinal changes towards gender equality have been identified as the key drivers of progress for societies around the world. The report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, released in March 2017, identified “Breaking stereotypes: Tackling adverse social norms and promoting positive role models” as the first of seven drivers of change to increase women’s economic participation worldwide.

Universally acknowledged as the world’s top school for animation, CalArts is uniquely positioned to ally with UN Women’s HeForShe movement. As a form of entertainment popular with a wide global audience, animation crosses cultures and borders. Using the medium’s power to communicate and move an audience in powerful ways, the films created by CalArts students, working with Experimental Animation Program faculty Pia Borg and Character Animation Program faculty Soyeon Kim, are intended to galvanize momentum towards gender equality in local communities around the world. 

“We’ve set these students a tough challenge, but the results are important both for their own aspirations, and also for the potential their films have to directly build gender equality and shape culture change. The inequalities and power imbalances that we are dealing with are complex, pervasive and deeply rooted. It can be a struggle to capture that complexity in words. These incredibly talented students wield the power to go right to the heart of it with their imagery, and shake us beyond our everyday perceptions. I know what we are going to see in these short films is going to be extraordinary and far-reaching in its impact,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women.
“For nearly half a century, CalArts has stood at the forefront of educating artists to create work that positively influences the world. Our partnership with HeForShe reflects the innovative spirit envisioned by our founder, Walt Disney, and these student-created films exemplify CalArts’s desire to foster positive cultural change.  We are proud to join with UN Women to promote gender equality and their efforts to help change the world,” said Ravi Rajan, President of California Institute of Arts
Launched by UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson on September 20th, 2014, HeForShe has become one of the most important social movements in the world today, mobilizing men and boys as advocates for gender equality. Since its launch, HeForShe has mobilized millions of supporters from every single corner of the world, generating more than 2 billion conversations online and offline.

Successive generations of CalArts animators have profoundly impacted the field.  Many of CalArts’s First Gen animators became the directors who transformed the industry—creating PIXAR and leading the creative resurgence known as the Disney Renaissance. Although there were only two women in CalArts first class of animators in 1975, the Experimental and Character Animation Program’s are now over 70% female. These demographic changes contribute to a spirit of transformation that informs the films being created for the HeForShe movement.

The student animations will premiere at the annual HeForShe Summit on September 26th 2018 in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.  

UN Women is the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. For more information, visit UN Women, 220 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017, New York. Tel: +1 646 781-4400. Fax: +1 646 781-4496.
Created by UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women, the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality provides a systematic approach and targeted platform where a global audience can engage and become change agents for the achievement of gender equality in our lifetime. HeForShe invites people around the world to stand together as equal partners to craft a shared vision of a gender-equal world and implement specific, locally relevant solutions for the good of all of humanity. For more information, visit
ABOUT California Institute of Arts (CalArts)

Ranked as America’s top college for students in the arts by Newsweek/The Daily Beast, California Institute of the Arts has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines and cultural traditions.