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Rise Up Animation puts people of color at the forefront of the animation industry

By CREATE Philippines
October 06, 2021

Based in Los Angeles, California, Rise Up Animation is an organization created with the goal of diversifying talent in the animation industry

The initiative is led by Filipino-American artist Bobby Pontillas, whose credits include Disney classics such as Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6. Pontillas’ co-organizers also include African-American animator Frank Abney (Tomb Raider, Frozen), Canadian-born Trent Correy (Zootopia, Moana) and Monica Lago-Kaytis, a Latin-American producer (Pochahontas, Hercules).

In light of the pandemic, Rise Up Animation’s objective is to uncover the potential of aspiring animators of color through panel discussions, tutorials, collaborations, and workshops. Among those organized was a special “Filipinx Directors in Animation” panel with Pontillas, Josie Trinidad (Ralph Breaks the Internet), John Aquino (Atlantis: The Lost Empire), Ian Abando (Despicable Me 2) and Bobby Rubio (Inside Out, Incredibles 2). The panel was held on August 6 of this year.

Bobby Pontillas
Bobby Pontillas

In fact, Filipino visibility in animation reached a milestone in 2019 with Float - Rubio’s directorial debut about a Filipino father whose son possesses the power to float in the air, released on Disney+ in November last year. It was the first-ever animated short featuring computer-generated Filipino characters. 

“The floating was a metaphor for me,” Rubio told Asian Journal, “I [heard] Filipinos suggest that they thought it was a metaphor for assimilation, that the boy was trying to embrace his Filipino heritage but the dad was like, ‘No, you’re American,’ and tried to stifle is Filipinoness.”

Filipino animation is a high-demand industry, especially with the slowdown of live-action filmmaking. 90% of the world’s animations are produced in Asia with the Philippines being a major global outsourcing hub, currently earning revenue between $20 million to $30 million. This is owed to its competitively priced labor offering a range of technical skills, including competence in the English language.

Thus, Rise Up Animation is equipping aspiring talent with tools that specifically address their needs, helping turn their cinematic projects and dreams into a reality. 

To learn more about Rise Up Animation, visit their website.

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