Les Femmes s’Animent (LFA), France’s highly active women in animation organization, will launch its first international initiative at this year’s Annecy Intl. Animation Festival, Parcours de Femmes (Women’s Journey).

A mentoring program, the diversity drive will help six French-speaking women writer/directors – three from France, three from Africa – produce their own animated short film. The three French artists will have diverse and socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

All animation techniques are welcome. Films will turn on women’s stories embodying their makers’ “struggles and victories, told with humor, conviction and emotion,” LFA announced Wednesday.

LFA’s aim is for the six projects to be pitched to potential financing and production partners at the 2022 Annecy Festival. Following development through to Annecy presentation,  selected projects’ mentors will be tailor-chosen according to the nature of each and every film. Mentors will be drawn from LFA ranks if possible but this is not a prerequisite.

“In the spirit of Geena Davis’ slogan ‘If she can see it, she can be it,’ we are convinced that talent is everywhere,” said LFA Co-Founder Eléanor Coleman.

“By working on the ground with female artists, creating real opportunities for new talent, we can guide attitudes towards greater inclusion and diversity in our industry so that animation becomes a better reflection of our society,” she added.

“Parcours,” as used in the French program title, means “winding way”: The program will follow six women on their own winding way, LFA said. But “parcours” in French can also refer to an obstacle course. Few women face so many obstacles in creating animation as women in Africa or those which the LFA program will target in France, LFA said.

LFA also hopes that the projects developed will reflect both their artists’ cultures and their auteurist vision.

“The heart of our project is to enable and support diverse voices, those that never get to be heard. There are surely so many stories waiting to be told with so many different points of view from the continent,” LFA Co-Founders Corinne Kouper and Eléanor Coleman told Variety. “And again the same is true regarding women from socially excluded backgrounds in France, that have never had anything to do with animation (yet!) which we’ll be helping.”

Opened with the LFA presentation at Annecy, the Parcours de Femmes call for applications closes Sept. 30.

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