Kidscreen has announced the launch of its Next Wave Mentoring Program, a three-month initiative designed to connect post-secondary animation students preparing to graduate with experienced mentors who can help guide their successful entry into the kids entertainment industry.
“With internships, festivals and student-inclusive events like Annecy cancelled or running in a drastically different way this year because of Covid-19, graduating students are going to have a harder time getting started in the workforce right now,” says Kidscreen VP and publisher Jocelyn Christie. “We are hoping this program will fill that gap and keep our industry well supplied with fresh new talent, and we could not be more grateful to our mentors for generously sharing their time and wisdom to help us meet that goal.”
The Next Wave Program will see a select group of third- and fourth-year students from world-leading animation programs paired up with industry mentors based on the type of work each student is interested in focusing on after graduating. Each matched pair will have three video calls over the next six weeks to discuss entry-level career planning, identify and develop leads for employment opportunities, and review the student’s portfolio of work. A second six-week phase of mentoring with another group of students and mentors is planned to begin 20 July and run until the end of August.
Schools participating in phase one are: California Institute of Arts (US), Sheridan College (Canada), Gobélins—L’École de L’Image (France), Ballyfermot College and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (Ireland) and The Animation Workshop (Denmark). And phase two will include students from NYU Tisch School of Arts (US), Centennial College (Canada), Griffith University and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Australia) and Image Campus (Argentina).
Next Wave mentors for phase one include Billy Wee (SVP of original animation, HBO Max), Eryk Casemiro (SVP of pre-school, Nickelodeon), David Levine (VP of kids programming for Europe & Africa/UK & Ireland, Disney EMEA), Janine Weigold (manager of original animation, international, Netflix), Tara Sorensen (head of creative development, children, Apple), Stephanie Betts (EVP of content and current series, WildBrain), Chris Keenan (SVP and executive producer of content development and production, Mattel), Alex Woo (former story lead, Pixar) and Colin Williams (creative director, Sixteen South).