Charitable Choices: Sydnie Baynes for Black Animators Matter Montréal

Black Animators Matter Montreal (BAMM) is a non-profit organization that aims to advance representation within the animation industry with a commitment to artistic, excellence, social impact and community engagement. We spoke with founder Sydnie Baynes to learn more about how BAMM aims to showcase local Black animators in the Montreal region.

Black Animators Matter Montréal

Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.

Black Animators Matter Montreal (BAMM) is a Black-led and Black Serving initiative, tailored to cater to BIPOC animators. As Montreal’s pioneering Black-led animation collective, we stand as a dynamic and innovative group committed to advancing talent within the Black community. Our mission is to shatter barriers and pave the way for underrepresented voices in the field of animation!

What problem does it aim to solve?

In brief, our initiative aims to dismantle barriers that extend beyond empowering seasoned creative minds; we are dedicated to fostering growth by welcoming animation enthusiasts into our community. In addition to this, the collective actively aims to solve issues of underrepresentation in the animation industry.

When did you start/join it?

As the founder, I’ve been involved since the program’s inception in November 2023. This collective is in its nascent stage.

What made you want to get involved?

Being a Black Montreal-born animator, I realized early on that there was not a vast amount of animators in my program. I specifically noticed a dire need for animators when planning the Animated Black Film Festival. During the first festival edition, we decided to do outreach to local animators we knew as a way of simplifying the screening selection workload. However, to our surprise we

What was the situation like when you started?

Very isolating! Working with large animation/VFX companies was challenging in the sense that there was gatekeeping in the animation community.

How has it changed since?

As of now, there has been an increasingly large interest in animation overall. This even includes the collaboration of animators and live-action filmmakers. Additionally, since then I have also seen an interest in the topic of social justice in animation.

What more needs to be done?

Realistically, there needs to be a growth in the number of Black-identifying animators. Animation is a tedious, yet rewarding medium. Larger animation/VFX studios are attractive for new animators

How can our readers help?

By watching and appreciating Black animated productions, especially local Black animations. Another way they can help is by simply spreading the word about this collective and the importance of Black animations.

Do you have any events coming up?

The Animated Black Film Festival is an event that I recently coordinated at the Black Community Resource. It’s been the festival’s second year running, and I very much plan on continuing the festival tradition. The festival highlighted the work of local Black animators and included a guest speaker panel with local professionals. My intention is to perhaps continue this festival hosted mainly by BAMM with the collaboration of other non-profit organizations.

Where can we follow you?

Our website (Which is developed by another non-profit, Afro Youth Summit) is still under construction. In the meantime, we encourage those interested to check out our Instagram!

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local community organization you love?

The Black Community Resource Centre (BCRC)! They offer a wide variety of programming stemming from Art & Culture to Intergenerational Health. I sincerely believe that the BCRC has one of the strongest community bonds as it offers development opportunities for its youth participants. It’s thanks to the BCRC that I was encouraged to start my own non-profit organization, BAMM.