If you don’t know the name Karen Rupert Toliver then you will know it pretty soon. Netflix recently announced Karen as the vice president of animated film, a position that she calls a “dream.” “It has been an absolute dream working with Kristine Belson and her game-changing team at Sony Pictures Animation,” she toldVariety.
“The experience has been instrumental in shaping how I approach producing. Storytelling in animation continues to evolve and expand, and I am excited to join the team at Netflix to continue to break new ground.”
Karen found success in animation while working at Sony Pictures Animation as the executive vice president where she oversaw the recruiting of talent and the acquisition of creative material. She also spent 10 years at Fox Animation where she was in charge of development and production for franchises like Rio and Ice Age.
But in 2020, the producer became the first Black woman to win an Oscar for animation after teaming up with Matthew Cherry for the 2019 short animated film Hair Love. The short film is about a father who learns how to style his daughter’s hair for the first time. Hair Love touched so many people in the Black community as it celebrated natural hair through beautiful storytelling.
During her Oscars' acceptance speech, Karen called the short a “labor of love.”
“And it was because we have a firm belief that representation matters deeply, especially in cartoons, because in cartoons that’s when we first see our movies and that’s how we shape our lives and that’s how we think about how we see the world.”
Prior to her success at Fox and Sony that catapulted her to the exciting opportunity at Netflix, Karen started out as an assistant at Walt Disney Pictures. During that time, she was working on the Mighty Ducks franchise and got promoted to production executive where she worked on other films like Brother Bear, Chicken Little, and Meet the Robinsons.
In her new position with Netflix, Karen will work alongside fellow animation vice president Gregg Taylor while overseeing two to three animated features annually.
Featured image by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage via Getty Images