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July 12
2022

ISSUE

Summer 2022

Cinzia Angelini: Bridging Cultural Diversity Through the Magic of Animation

Cinzia Angelini grew up in the 1970s in Milan, Italy, inspired by Japanese cartoons and the films of Hayao Miyazaki and Disney classics, which she studied frame by frame. Renowned director, animator and Head of Story at Cinesite Studios, Cinzia has worked for major animation studios in Europe and the U.S. for more than 25 years. Her body of work includes Balto, Prince of Egypt, The Road to Eldorado, Spider-Man 2, Minions, Despicable Me 3 and The Grinch. Cinzia wrote and directed the acclaimed CG animated short film Mila, a war story that centers on the plight of civilian children, and is currently directing HITPIG, an Aniventure animated feature produced at Cinesite.

Cinzia Angelini

Creating Mila was a life-changing experience, inspired by the stories my mother told me about how she felt as a child during the bombings of Trento in World War II. I wanted to use the medium I love, animation, and shine a light on the terrible realities for millions of children and families around the world who are caught in the crossfire of war. Audiences have embraced Mila’s messages of hope, imagination and perseverance and I’m so encouraged that there is a growing appetite for honest and authentic stories.

I fully embrace the power of animation. Hollywood might applaud socially relevant features, but it still views animation as essentially little more than “entertainment.” It has enormous potential to affect fundamental change in how we approach each other and how we deal with societal challenges. I believe that stories told through the magic of animation can move people and influence our future generations like nothing else can.

If Mila can change even one decision maker’s experience about the consequences of war, then all our efforts were well worth it.

The Mila theme is resonating with people around the world. Our team had 350 artists who gave their time and talent from 35 countries, the largest independent virtual studio collaboration ever created. And a surprising number of those volunteers have their own personal experience with war or in their family histories, which also moved them to want to be a part of this project. The strong theme of the film ended up being the secret for its success. Mila is more than a film; it’s a story within a story.

Inclusion and diversity were key elements in assembling the Mila team, and I’m proud that a significant percent of women were in leadership positions.

Finding ways to harness the talents of so many artists and filmmakers versed in different styles of work, cultures and languages made the final film that much richer. The entire process has been challenging and incredibly rewarding. It helped me improve as an artist, influenced how I collaborate with colleagues and showed me strength of our global interconnectivity in new and inspiring ways.

I’ve always embraced risk as an opportunity to innovate, grow and become stronger. Risk takers challenge the norm and push the boundaries of their professions. I keep leaning into the unknown, because even if things don’t work out as planned, you learn so much from the journey.

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