Small Factory Productions and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media Announce Winners of the “If You Can See It, You Can Be It!” Contest


Media Contact: Jennifer Smiga, inBLOOM Communications, (201) 892

Students in grades 1 – 5 were invited to create original characters for an animated cartoon short film to raise awareness of gender stereotypes in media. 

Fair Haven, NJ (May 29, 2015) – Students in grades 1 – 5 from across Monmouth County, N.J. were invited to submit their original drawings and stories into the “If You Can See It, You Can Be It!” contest. Small Factory developed the contest in partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media sponsored by the Friendship Train Foundation, to bring awareness to gender stereotypes in children’s media and entertainment.

According to the Institute’s research, Children’s programming is one of the most imbalanced media, with less than a third of all on screen speaking characters depicted as girls or women. Negative gender stereotypes can greatly influence the choices and opinions children make in their lives. Organizers believe that this project and the work of the children who enter will show them the possibilities of a more diverse media landscape with different characters that can exist not only our imaginary worlds, but in their real lives.

Nine winners were selected to participate in a workshop that was held on March 21-22 at the Small Factory studio in Fair Haven, where they drew and wrote their original animated cartoon short and song.Photo1

Winners included Julian Mattioli age 10 from Colts Neck, Stephen Makin age 10 from Rumson, Adele MacGregor age 7 from Oceanport, Quinn DeNunzio age 10 from Navesink, Gianna Cofone age 10 from Atlantic Highlands, Paige Jaenicke age 9 from Fair Haven, Emma Belletier age 10 from Avon-by-the-Sea, Ginger Felumero age 9 from Morganville, and Isabella Scott age 11 from Sea Bright.

Small Factory and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media will produce and post the final cartoon on their websites and social media platforms this spring. Curriculum will also be available for download for educators and parents across the country to share the cartoon’s message and inspire creativity blind to gender stereotypes. For more information, visit

“Children constantly amaze me. They see the world with a neutral eye,” said Christopher Dudick, Owner, Small Factory Productions. “Superheroes come in wheelchairs. Girls explore the universe in rocket ships. The shy boy stands up to the bully. These are the characters our young artists dream up. It was natural for us to partner with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to run this contest. The winners should be proud of their achievements and we can’t wait to premiere their cartoon with the world online this spring.”

“We’re thrilled to inspire children and the next generation of content creators to develop these animated videos with Small Factory’s support,” said Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. “Our Institute is committed to dramatically improving gender stereotypes in our media, and these videos are an important new tool for educating children and their families.  The stark gender inequality in media aimed at little children is significant, as television and movies wield enormous influence on them as they develop a sense of their role in the world. And because young kids tend to watch the same television shows and movies repeatedly, negative stereotypes get imprinted again and again.”

Contact Chris Dudick at if your school or organization is interested in participating in the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media “If You Can See It, You Can Be It” Create-a-Cartoon initiative. Additional cartoons and curriculum will be created.

About Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Founded by Academy Award®-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (GDIGM) is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence the need to dramatically improve, gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters for entertainment targeting children 11 and under. The Institute has amassed the largest body of research on gender prevalence in entertainment, which spans more than 20 years. GDIGM works collaboratively with decision makers and content creators through our workshops, training sessions and research-backed content evaluation and recommendations.

About Small Factory Productions

Small Factory Productions recognizes the important role of the arts and technology in the healthy development of a child’s brain. Children of all ages and abilities thrive, both socially and academically, in a comfortable environment where the freedom to create and play are encouraged. A child’s imagination is a powerful tool when celebrated and allowed to flourish.

Small Factory offers captivating, interactive experiences in rewards-based arts and technology camps, classes and workshops for preschoolers to young adults. Small Factory’s space is based on a professional television and music production studio setup and combines traditional art, music and storytelling with cutting edge software.

Small Factory’s programming meets New Jersey and New York Core Content Standards for Language Arts Literacy and Visual and Performing Arts. In 2012 and 2013 alone more than thousands of students participated in programs at the Small Factory NJ studio and at more than 60 schools, colleges and hospitals across the region. For more information, visit
Photo3 Photo4 Photo2Watch Final Cartoon Here!

Small Factory Integrates STEAM Into Classes and Programs

Small Factory Integrates STEAM Into Classes and Programs

STEM education has been one of the most talked about subjects in our country. The applied, project-based way of teaching and learning integrates the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math together to solve real-world challenges and problems. It’s viewed as the key solution to improve educational performance and solve the workforce development problems our nation faces. Recently, however STEM education has evolved into something greater since its development. After realizing that the tools and methods of art and design offer new models for creative problem-solving and interdisciplinary partnership, the movement has evolved from STEM into STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).

At Small Factory, we have been offering STEAM activities since our doors opened in 2007.

STEAM education promotes bridging the gap between business and educational goals to create a more productive and sustainable global culture based on teamwork. Scientists, artists and designers must develop new ways of working together and new modes of research and education. This will keep America at the forefront of innovation, ensuring our sustained global leadership and cultural prosperity in the 21st century.

Recent research has proven that art education helps students excel in other academic subjects. According to a study by the National Endowment for the Arts, students from lower socio-economic backgrounds who actively participated in the arts tended to score better in science and writing, and were more likely to aspire to college.

Small Factory understands that arts education is important to creativity and that creativity is an essential component of innovation, which is necessary to develop new industries in the future. That is why we integrate STEAM education into our classes and workshops throughout the year.

Some Examples

10801948_10152859402899293_116402340797752739_nOur 3D Printing class allows students to use computer modeling and 3D printing technology to create their very own action figure, and our Bricks 4 Kidz Robotics class, where students program LEGO® robots to perform tasks, are just some of our programs that use a combination of science, technology, engineering, art and math to teach students.

We have also launched a “Maker Space and Open Studio” Membership program for students of all ages currently enrolled in Small Factory’s classes. In addition to giving the students unrestricted time in our Fair Haven studio, we will also be holding a new STEAM based activity every week. These activities include Robotics, Make a Flash Light, How to Soder and Create A Catapult. An instructor will be on-site to assist when needed. Students may come and go as much as they please during specific days and times.
Read more about our “Maker Space and Open Studio” Membership here. gnz8vxY6kq1IxtDE8YE4DgsskGC2PLCT7CjFNb8mNBQSSQJMap_cqJ7uhp1Q0CmgUI_9YZEcpMyB4d13XAGKE8R07bmWQbK6OJveOVbqvF80xw=s0-d-e1-ft

Art and design will transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century. As the nation works together to promote the importance of STEAM education, we will advance towards creating a better world for our children and future generations.