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March 22nd, 2017
On Wednesday 8th of March, The Mill's London Studio, in collaboration with Animated Women UK, proudly hosted an evening panel discussion in celebration of International Women’s Day 2017.

Nearly 100 people joined at the Windmill Street Studio for an evening of important and emotive discussion, where honest feelings and opinions were shared throughout. The spectacular turn out, more than nodded to the sheer importance of the discussion at hand and helped celebrate this years #BeBoldForChange campaign.

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The panel was fronted by eight female ambassadors, all in various roles within the industry including; Digital Artist Bimpe Allen from ILM, Producer Noga Alon-stein from Union Films, VFX Supervisor and Head of 2D Sara Bennett from Milk, Motion Designer and Co-Founder Allison Brownmoore from Blue Spill, Graphic R&D Designer Sarah Invernizzi from Framestore, VFX Artist Ceylan Shevket from MPC, and Mill 3D Artist Marta Carbonell Amela.

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The session was followed by a stimulating Q&A session which offered the audience an opportunity to actively partake in the debate. The excitement and energy of the night soon saw attendees moving to the Loft Bar where they continued to network over drinks with fellow industry members and key recruiters.

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We were lucky enough to catch up with some of the evening's panelists and those involved to discuss the success of the event and recap on some of the important things discussed on the night.

What were your highlights of the evening?

Noga Alon-Stein, Producer at Union Films

“Being part of a panel made up of a truly inspiring group of women. I actually have a fear of public speaking but sat up there with women who were all so encouraging, I have honestly now overcome the fear.  Also, the opportunity to chat to everyone afterwards over some drinks was really wonderful, there was so much talent in one room, it blew me away.”

Allison Brownmoore, Co-Founder of Blue Spill

“I really cannot pin it to one moment because the entire experience was a highlight. The level of positive energy and passion for change was undeniable, it was was almost tangible!”

Louise Hussey, Executive VFX Producer at Double Negative and Member of Animated Women UK

“It was amazing to see so many women and men at the event and to have the opportunity to network and chat afterwards was a real bonus.”

Did anything come up in discussion that you were surprised at?

Noga Alon-Stein, Producer at Union Films

“Not really. But mostly because Claire and Simon prepared us really well and the energy in the room was very open so nothing seemed off limits to discuss.”

How did you feel the audience responded to the panel?

Allison Brownmoore, Co-Founder of Blue Spill
 
“I felt there was a lot of positive responses from the audience, many of whom reached out to me afterwards which was incredibly touching. There were also a few comments to remind us that there’s work to be done. Change isn’t going to eventuate from discussion exclusively, but from actions thereafter.”

Louise Hussey, Executive VFX Producer at Double Negative and Member of Animated Women UK

“There was a really great buzz, with an overall feeling of support, humour and warmth.”

Noga Alon-Stein, Producer at Union Films

“I think they responded well, no beer bottles were thrown in our direction so that’s always a good sign! The atmosphere felt really relaxed and friendly.”

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What advice would you give other people who may be thinking about hosting similar events?


Noga Alon-Stein, Producer at Union Films

“Go for it.  This industry is young and still reshaping so the more people are involved and aware and discussing how we can improve the better this industry is going to get.”

Allison Brownmoore, Co-Founder of Blue Spill

“I’d encourage them to do it! There’s so many incredibly talented women in our industry and giving them a platform to speak and be heard increases not only visibility but also promotes the capacity for change.”

Louise Hussey, Executive VFX Producer at Double Negative and Member of Animated Women UK

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Go for it!  The more we can get women onto panels, either as individuals or to form an entire the panel, the more visible women become as part of the conversations in our industry whether it is creative, technical or a more specific issue related panel.  A lot of publicity and constant reminders are helpful as everyone has busy lives.  A few drinks are always a plus and the space for everyone to chat and catch up is invaluable.”

Final words of wisdom…

Noga Alon-Stein, Producer at Union Films 

“Learn as much as you can,  especially in your first years when your mind is like a sponge and this comes easier. Everything is useful in one way or another and will give you a better overview later on on the industry and what makes it tick. Plus it's interesting! Also and so importantly; Dare. Ask for more complex shots, get more responsibility, even if this means you are stepping out of your comfort zone every now and then. This will help you grow not just at your job but as a person too.”

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The event was driven and organised by The Mill’s Group Head of Talent Claire Anderson and Group Head of Learning and Development Simon Devereux, who were keen to recap on why events of this kind are integral to the development of the industry.

Why do you think holding of these type of events is important?
Simon comments; “We know there’s an issue around being more inclusive and more diverse; these events are a brilliant way to stand up as an industry and say ‘look, we need to tackle this’ and driving to get as many people involved as possible.”

Claire adds; “Diversity and inclusion shouldn’t be an isolated discussion with those already signed up, it should feed into every conversation and permeate out across our business. It should be a consideration that underpins every decision, and these events help to raise this and create the conversations about it.”

Why did you feel it was important that The Mill get involved with this type of event?
Simon comments; “As employers, you’ve got to be bold and make sure that everyone is involved in the conversation. It’s all about inspiring careers and creating an environment where talent can thrive, and everyone can come in and feel they are represented. It’s important for both creative excellence and commercial success.”

To find out more about International Women’s Day and this year's Campaign theme, click here.