In a bid to further expand job opportunities in the animation industry, France’s first free animation school ÉCAS (Ecole Cartoucherie Animation Solidaire) has partnered with French animation producer Frog Box and post-production service provider Titrafilm to create a new course that will train professional actors in the art of dubbing animation projects.

News was announced Thursday at the MIFA market at this week’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival where the issues of inclusion, diversity and labor shortages in the sector were discussed in some forums at the festival, particularly at the Women in Animation summit.

Founded in 2018 by TeamTO in response to the under-representation and lack of diversity in the animation sector, ÉCAS has trained a new generation of underprivileged talent in 3D character animation and storyboarding (in partnership with Canada’s House of Cool) for the past four years.

Said Guillaume Hellouin, president of ÉCAS and TeamTO: “Over the past few years, there has been a general awareness and desire among producers, major platforms and traditional broadcasters to integrate a greater representation of society. Strong initiatives have been put into place to encourage more diversity in creative and technical teams.”

“And while animation studios have been featuring ever more diverse characters in their stories, the industry is becoming increasingly aware of the low representation of cultural and social communities among voice actors,” he pointed out.

Pointing to a “narrative revolution” that has contributed to the wealth and diversity of content from across the globe, Rodolphe Ploquin, animation post-production director at Titrafilm, concurred: “Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice. We are confident that combined efforts will help us build a model of sustainable diversity and inclusion in the animation industry.”

Stanislas Renaudeau d’Arc, Frog Box managing director noted: “Bettering ourselves means offering people from underrepresented communities and social backgrounds more opportunities to be heard and, if necessary, to try and address the shortage of talent and skills through training programs.”

The dubbing course aims to “recruit, cast, train and group new dubbing actors based on existing gaps in the market, thereby expanding the pool of talent currently available to the French and European markets for clients and other dubbing providers,” TeamTO and its partners explained.

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