Speakers

Jennifer Kluska

Director

Jennifer Kluska is currently directing with Derek Drymon Sony Pictures Animation’s upcoming adventure comedy “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” coming exclusively to theaters October 1, 2021.

Kluska previously served as a story artist on various Sony Pictures Animation films including “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” “Hotel Transylvania 2,” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.”

Prior to joining Sony Pictures Animation, Kluska worked as a story artist at DreamWorks Animation on “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Bee Movie.”

Kluska’s other credits include supervising producer and series director on the 2019 reboot “DC Super Hero Girls” for Warner Bros. Animation.

Kluska studied animation at Sheridan College in Canada. She currently resides in Marina Del Rey with her husband Craig and their two cats.

Erica Daniels​

Program Advisor, National Screen Institute

 

Terril Calder​

Filmmaker

One of the foremost Métis media artists practising in Canada today, Terril Calder is a multi-disciplinary creator born in Fort Frances, Ontario, and currently living in Toronto. Calder’s Métis lineage is from the Red River Settlement and the Orkney Cree Métis. While her current practice is focused on stop-motion projects, which she writes, directs, crafts and animates, Calder also has an extensive background in performance art, visual art and media art.

Calder attended the University of Manitoba’s Fine Arts Program, graduating with a major in Drawing and a minor in Film. While in Winnipeg, she exhibited her multi-media and performance artwork with the influential Student Bolshevik group and was a member of Video Pool. After moving to Toronto following her studies, Calder became a founding member of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, where she curated visual and performance art exhibitions. Since the 1990s, Calder has lectured and taught art at organizations such as the National Ballet School of Canada, the Toronto District School Board, Art in the Park, the University of Manitoba, Indigenous Roots and imagineNATIVE, and in numerous Indigenous communities in Canada.

Calder’s films have been screened at major festivals and venues across Canada and internationally, including the Toronto International Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, Rotterdam, the Berlinale, the Tampere Film Festival and imagineNATIVE. In 2019, the Winnipeg Film Group presented the first retrospective of her work, and in 2020, she received her first film festival retrospective, at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Calder’s notable film honours include Best Experimental Film from imagineNATIVE for The “Gift”, an Honourable Mention at the Sundance Film Festival, a Genie Award nomination for Best Animation and a Special Mention at the Berlinale (Generation 14+). Her films Choke (2011) and Snip (2016) were both selected for TIFF’s annual list of Canada’ Top Ten Shorts. Additional awards include best animation prizes at the Dreamspeakers Festival, the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, the Indianer Inuit film festival in Stuttgart, and the Intercontinental Biennale of Indigenous Art in Piura, Peru, as well as a Pixie Award for animation. In 2016, Calder won the prestigious K.M. Hunter Artist Award for her contributions to the media arts.

In addition to her most recent animated project, Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics, Calder is co-creating a stop-motion video game with Meagan Byrne, providing animation for Alanis Obomsawin’s Green Horse project, and creating an animated art installation with the Glenn Gould Foundation in celebration of Obomsawin’s lifetime achievement award.

Jesse Wente​

Executive Director, Indigenous Screen Office

Jesse Wente is an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster, speaker and arts leader. Born and raised in Toronto, he is a member of the Serpent River First Nation. Jesse is best known for his 24 years as a columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning. Jesse spent 11 years with the Toronto International Film Festival, the last seven as the director of film programmes at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. An outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights and First Nations, Métis and Inuit art, he has spoken at the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Canadian Arts Summit, the Cultural Summit of the Americas, and numerous Universities and Colleges. Jesse has served on the board of directors of the Toronto Arts Council, The ImagineNative Film and Media Festival and Native Earth Performing Arts. He was recently appointed Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts, the only First Nations person to ever hold the position. Jesse is currently finishing his first book for Penguin Random House Canada. Jesse was named the first Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office in February 2018. Playback Magazine named Jesse the trailblazer of the year for 2020, and he was also included on Maclean’s Magazine’s Power List for 2020 and Toronto Life’s list of the most influential Torontonians of 2020.

Melanie Nepinak Hadley​

Program Director, WarnerMedia Access Canada

Melanie is an Ojibway woman from Winnipeg now based in Toronto. She is currently the Program Director for WarnerMedia’s Canadian ATL talent initiatives.

Prior to this role, she was a network executive at CBC where she managed projects in development and production.

Outside of WarnerMedia, Melanie contributes to the industry by sitting on the board of directors for imagineNATIVE, NSI, and Cousin Collective. She is also on the Content Advisory Board for Banff World Media Festival.

In all avenues she aims to connect talent to opportunity to show the world the rich tapestry of the Canadian storytelling community.

Glenn Gear​

Filmmaker

Glenn Gear is an Indigiqueer filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist of Inuit and settler descent currently living in Montréal. He is originally from Corner Brook Newfoundland and has family/ancestral ties to Nunatsiavut. His practice is grounded in a research creation methodology shaped by Inuit and Indigenous ways of knowing, often employing the use of animation, photo archives, painting, beading, and work with traditional materials such as seal skin. His work has shown in exhibitions across Canada and his films have screened in festivals around the world.

Marie-Ève Lacelle​

Solution Specialist at Toon Boom Animation

Marie-Ève Lacelle is a Storyboard Pro and Harmony Solution Specialist at Toon Boom Animation. She is a proud holder of both a 2D and 3D animation diploma from Cégep Du Vieux Montréal animation school. Passionate about animation Marie-Eve has worked on several projects including Disney’s ”Big Hero 6 the series” as well as ”Nickelodeon’s Glitch Techs”.

Marc Anhoury​

Programmer at Double Stallion Games

 

Mike Horowitz​

Animator & Artist at Double Stallion Games

 

 

Carl Edward Mongan​

Story Artist

Carl Edward Mongan is a storyteller and party clown making his way through everyone’s favorite oversized parking lot: Los Angeles!

Carl Edward pursued animation and graduated from California College of the Arts with a degree and beret. During college in Oakland, CA, he worked for a non-profit creating pediatric videos and resources to inform and reassure children about an array of medical conditions/procedures. Carl Edward got his industry start participating in the Nick Artist Program, creating media for the program and working on The Patrick Star Show as a trainee. He was mentored by Dave Cunningham, supervising director in the SpongeBob Squarepants universe.

Carl Edward comes from a theater and improv background, so he roots his stories in character development and truthful interactions. This also means Carl Edward is bad at whispering.

As a story artist, Carl Edward works to make people laugh by bringing his dark humor to life. As a party clown, he just wants to twist a balloon or twelve.

Arelybel Iniguez​

Production Assistant

Arelybel Iniguez is a Production Assistant on Nick Jr.’s latest high adventure and Latinx-influenced show, Santiago of the Seas! Born in East Los Angeles and daughter of Mexican immigrants, her greatest passion and motivating pursuit for entering the entertainment industry is to be an advocate for bolstering marginalized identities in media representation -especially amongst Latinx audiences.

Initially hired as an Executive Assistant for the show, she’s transitioned over to Production Assistant within 4 months and is elated to be part of a production that also values cultural authenticity and education, all whilst embarking audiences into thrilling tales of epic pirate adventures. Although she’s just getting started within her first year, she’s always seeking opportunity to garner more experience and is excited for the growth in store with ViacomCBS.

Olivia Lauletta​

Recording Engineer

Olivia Lauletta graduated from Chapman University with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Documentary Filmmaking and Film Production – Sound Design. While studying to get her Masters degree, she worked as a Post Production Intern for two years at Nickelodeon Animation Studios. Soon after her internship ended, she was offered a position as an Assistant Recording Engineer and Editor, in the Audio Production department at Nickelodeon. Within a year, Olivia was promoted to being a full-time Recording Engineer and has been working on various animated shows since.

Harold Anderson​

Nickelodeon Community Efforts (NICE) Intern

Harold Anderson is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania from West Philadelphia. Previously an intern for ViacomCBS Corporate Social Responsibility team, he now interns for Nickelodeon Animations’ Community Efforts department. In his spare time, he’s either playing video games, writing music for his hip hop collective and record label, or working with community partners for social good.

Shawn Wong​

Manager Animation Development, Nickelodeon

Shawn Wong is a Manager of Animation Development for Nickelodeon Animation. She works across both movies and studio business, helping to develop exciting, new content for kids and families. Since 2010, she has also served on the board of the Asian American Journalists Association, at both the local and national levels, where she helped spearhead the annual V3 Digital Media Conference and the “Vision. Visibility. Voice.” Awards, which recognized AAPI leadership in the community. She has also worked at Paramount Animation and as a city planning and media consultant for local communities.

Shawn received her M.F.A. from USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program and her B.A. from UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. 

Daniel Wineman​

Sr Director Animation Development, Nickelodeon

Daniel Wineman is currently Senior Director, Animation Development, Nickelodeon, with a focus on sourcing and shepherding original animated properties. As part of his duties, he is heading up Nickelodeon’s Intergalactic Shorts Program.

With over 20 years of experience in animation, he was previously Director, Development, at Disney TV Animation where he oversaw the development of shows including; The Owl House, Amphibia and DuckTales. Prior to that, he held a global role as Director of International Original Series & Co-productions, shepherding animation produced by Disney in all international hubs. In his first role at Disney, he acted as Director, Current Series, for Disney XD out of the UK, where he oversaw the creative and production of both fully-owned series and partnership productions across the region. He began his journey in 1998 at Cartoon Network, where he held roles in original animation, programming, acquisitions & co-productions. Wineman graduated from the University of Michigan with honors in the Humanities focusing on Art History and Comparative Literature.

Shawn Wu​

Manager Preschool Development, Nickelodeon

Shawn Wu is a Development Manager at Nickelodeon for preschool and bridge content out of the Burbank Office. Shawn works closely with writers and artists to review and give notes on a robust slate of Development projects, hears pitches, and brings in new talent. He recently helped oversee the development and production of Nickelodeon’s Baby Shark’s Big Show!. He is also a member of ViacomCBS’s Kids & Family Inclusivity Council. Shawn started at Nickelodeon in New York as an Executive Assistant to the head of Preschool.

Prior to joining Nickelodeon, Shawn was an NBC Page, where he worked at Late Night with Seth Meyers, Universal Kids, and Broadway Video. Shawn began his career in entertainment as an intern for a Real Housewife of NYC.

Eliza Hart​

Sr Director Preschool, Nickelodeon

After graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Telecommunications and Theatre, Eliza moved to New York to pursue a career producing children’s television. Eliza began her career in production, working on shows for Little Airplane Productions, Disney Jr. and Sesame Workshop before moving to Los Angeles and becoming a development executive at Hasbro Studios. She spent several years developing and producing animated series during her time at Hasbro before finding her way to Nickelodeon Animation.

During her time at Nickelodeon she has been lucky enough to work in animation development for both big kids and preschool. Some of her credits include Johnny and the Sprites, The Electric Company, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Littlest Pet Shop, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Rescue Bots, Rugrats, Middlemost Post, and Baby Shark’s Big Show.

Larson Liberlin De Shoriba Diop

 

Larson Liberlin De Shoriba Diop started his career as a professional dancer then pushed his passion in body language by exploring character animation. Since his graduation at Georges MELIES Animation School, he’s been working in several studios as a setup artist, previz artist and character animator for commercials, series and animated feature films for almost 15 years now. Today, as an artist and instructor, he’s focusing his animation skills on real time technology by using Unreal Engine.

Kevin Bertelli

 

Kevin spent the last five years breaking barriers and traditions in 3D animation. Never shying from new or better ways of doing things, he dives headfirst in a problem and pulls out of it its blood-soaked solution – Temple of Doom style- with singular goals in mind: better, smoother and faster.
Kevin’s taste in music will drive you to the brink of sanity. You’ve been warned.

Christophe Villez

 

After graduating from Gobelins Animation School in 88, Christophe Villez started working for twenty years in the animation industry as an animator, character artist and story artist for TV series productions, commercials, short films and feature films.
He then joined the video game industry, as a story artist, concept artist, character artist and animation director (for projects like Rayman Origins, Rayman Legends) world builder or even director.
Christophe Villez has recently been teaching concept methods as well as visual storytelling.

Greg Beettam​

Artist / Writer

Greg Beettam is a veteran comic book/graphic novel writer and artist, freelance illustrator, and graphic designer, with 30 years experience and expertise in visual storytelling. Co-creator of the self-published 90’s comic Xeno’s Arrow, he has worked in communications as both a designer and concept artist, specializing in storyboards, infographics, story development, and presentation design. He currently both teaches for and co-coordinates the Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts Program at Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design.
Follow Greg on Instagram @gregbeettam

Ramin Zahed

Editor-in-Chief

Ramin Zahed is an LA-based author and Editor-in-Chief of Animation Magazine. He has also written many books about animation, including the recent The Art of The Mitchells vs. the Machines, The Art of Vivo, The Art of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: The Art of the Movie and The Art of DreamWorks Animation.

Aphton Corbin

SparkShorts Director

Aphton Corbin began at Pixar Animation Studios in 2016 as a story artist on the Academy Award®-winning feature“Toy Story 4.” She also worked as a story artist for Pixar’s feature film “Soul,” which is now streaming on Disney+. Corbin most recently made her directorial debut on her SparkShorts film “Twenty Something,” which will debut on Disney+ this Fall.

As a story artist, Corbin helps the Director visualize their film in storyboard form. The artists provide the first representation of the movie to determine if the story elements are working well.

Raised in Richmond and Sacramento, CA, Corbin attended Pleasant Grove High School and graduated from California Institute of the Arts. She currently resides in Albany, CA.

Louis Gonzales

SparkShorts Director

Louis Gonzales joined Pixar Animation Studios in December 2000 to work on “Monsters, Inc.” as a layout artist, and continued in a similar capacity for the Academy Award®-winning “Finding Nemo.” Gonzales then transitioned into the story department and worked as a story artist for the Academy Award®-winning films “The Incredibles,” “Cars,” “Ratatouille,” and “Brave.” He also worked on features including “Monsters University,” “Cars 3,” “Incredibles 2,” and the short film “Lava.” Gonzales most recently made his directorial debut on his SparkShort film “Nona,” which will debut on Disney+ this fall.

Prior to Pixar, Gonzales worked at a 2D feature animation studio in Los Angeles as a layout artist and visual development artist on the films “The Iron Giant” and “Osmosis Jones.” He also worked on the live-action film “Scooby-Doo.”

From a very early age, Gonzales found himself interested in film and graffiti, but it was after graduating from high school when he realized that he wanted to tell stories. Some of his favourite films and cartoons include“Robotech,” “Looney Toons,” “Blade Runner,” and “The Wild Bunch.”

Raised in San Fernando Valley in Southern California, Gonzales currently resides in El Sobrante.

Emily Carson

Development Manager

Emily Carson is a Development Manager at Disney TVA, helping make shows for Disney Channel and Disney+. Previously she worked in production both in development and on Tangled: the Series/Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. Prior to Disney, she was at Cartoon Network and Frederator Studios, where she hosted the YouTube series “Cartoon Conspiracy”. When she’s not thinking about cartoons, Emily enjoys reading comic books, hanging out with her cat (Fat Louie), and who are we kidding, she’s always thinking about cartoons.

Kitty Walsh

Director of Development

Kitty Walsh is Director of Development for Disney Junior and has been with the team for five years. Kitty is passionately driven to collaborate with new storytellers in the animation community and develop heartfelt, fun, and impactful series that speak to every child. Previous to her joining the Disney Junior team, Kitty worked in production in the very non-kid friendly world of prison documentaries. On her days off, you will find her developing and coding video games with her husband.

Kurt Albrecht

Producer

Kurt Albrecht is the producer of Sony Pictures Animation’s action comedy “The Mitchells vs. The Machines.”

Previously, Albrecht served as the vice president of physical production, where he worked on the planning, budgeting and supervision of all projects in development at the studio. He also produced the studio’s mini movie, “The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol.”

Before joining Sony, Albrecht was the vice president of physical production at Paramount Animation. His additional credits include line producer on Warner Animation’s “Lego Ninjago” and at Imagi Studios’ animated feature “Gatchaman.” Prior to that he produced the home entertainment release “Disney Princess Enchanted Tales” for DisneyToon Studios.

Albrecht began his career at Hyperion Studio, starting as an assistant and rising to senior vice president of production. Over the course of his ten years there he either produced or oversaw the production of 7 feature length productions and 6 television series both animated and live-action.

Albrecht is a native of Seattle, Washington and now lives in Silver Lake with his wife and two children.

Mike Rianda

Director/Writer

Michael Rianda is the writer and director of Sony Pictures Animation’s original feature comedy “The Mitchells vs. The Machines,” streaming now on Netflix. The film is a very personal project inspired by Rianda’s own delightfully crazy family, and a childhood infatuation with robots.

Rianda was born in Salinas, California in 1984. He faced a hard truth when he was 11 years old: he was a loser that wore sweatpants every day. To try to escape the mockery of his classmates, he began trying to exploit his only two marginal skills: making bad jokes and drawing. The other children still found him to be a loser, but one that drew and said amusing things, and was thus deemed acceptable. This path led him to the California Institute of the Arts where he studied character animation from 2007-2010 and made the short films, “Everybody Dies in 90 Seconds” and “Work.” He has since been employed by Pixar Animation Studios and JibJab, taught at CalArts, and worked at Disney Television Animation where he served as a writer and creative director for the Annie Award-winning TV show, “Gravity Falls.”

He loves cartoons more than any grown man should.

Lindsey Olivares

Production Designer / Lead Character Designer

Lindsey Olivares is the production designer and lead character designer on Sony Pictures Animation’s original animated comedy “The Mitchells vs. The Machines,” streaming now on Netflix.

Before joining Sony Pictures Animation, Olivares worked as a freelance visual development artist and illustrator with a focus on character design and caricature. Her freelance clients have included Disney Television Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Locksmith Animation, Nickelodeon, Google, Furry Puppet Studio, Titmouse, Hornet Inc, Psyop, Airbnb, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Her film credits include DreamWorks Animation’s “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” “Penguins of Madagascar,” and “Trolls,” as well as Sony Pictures Animation’s “The Emoji Movie.”

Guillermo Martinez

Head of Story

Guillermo Martinez is the head of story on Sony Pictures Animation’s original feature comedy “The Mitchells vs. The Machines,” streaming now on Netflix. Martinez currently has a project in development which he will be directing for Sony Pictures Animation.

Prior to joining Sony Pictures Animation, Martinez served as a story artist at Laika Studios on “Kubo and the Two Strings” and “Missing Link.” Martinez’s additional credits include storyboard artist and writer on the Cartoon Network series “We Bare Bears.” Also at Cartoon Network, he developed a short film for the show “Clarence.”

Martinez was born and raised in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and earned his bachelors in design at the Escuela de Artes Plasticas in San Juan, Puerto Rico before attending Academy of Art University for his masters. He currently lives in Culver City with his wife, daughter and two plants.

Gyimah Gariba

Creator, Big Blue

Growing up in Ghana, Gyimah discovered his love of drawing while bringing his favorite cartoon characters to life. His distinct style has been praised by Forbes Magazine, who named him one of “15 Young African Creative’s Rebranding Africa” in 2015. Gyimah’s career started before he graduated from Sheridan College, when he joined the character design team for Black Dynamite. Since then, he has worked on a variety of hit shows including Steven Universe, True and the Rainbow Kingdom and Justin Time GO!, where he was the lead character designer. Gyimah’s clients range from musicians to sports broadcaster ESPN. He has also designed covers for Marvel Comics and worked to create promotional content for clothing and sportswear brand Adidas. In 2020, Gyimah was named one of Animation Magazine’s Rising Stars of Animation. Most recently, Gyimah is the creator of Guru Studio’s newest animated original series, Big Blue, which features a diverse cast of human and animal underwater explorers on a zany mission to protect an underwater planet, and is set to air on CBC this year.

Drew Mullin

Executive in Charge of Production, CBC Kids

Drew Mullin is an international award winning Writer, Director and Producer who joined the CBC Kids team as an Executive in Charge of Production in 2015. At CBC, Drew has overseen several broadcast and digital series including: Season 1 & 2 of Dot, Kingdom Force, Big Blue, Dino Ranch and Snapshots (2018 International Emmy winner), Season 2 of Addison and Season 3 of Napkin Man. He also works closely with the digital team to help executive produce the CBC Kids “Digital Originals” shorts including Canadoodaday (2018 Prix Jeunesse winner).

Erick Oh

Filmmaker

Erick Oh is a 2021 Oscar®-nominated Korean filmmaker/artist at Baobab Studios, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His films have been introduced and awarded at film festivals including the Academy Awards, Annie Awards, Annecy Animation Festival, Zagreb Film Festival, SIGGRAPH, Anima Mundi and more. Erick was an animator at Pixar from 2010 to 2016. He then joined Tonko House and directed ‘PIG: The Dam Keeper Poems’ which won the Crystal Award at Annecy 2018. His recent short, ‘Opera’, was nominated for the Best Animated Short Oscar. Erick then joined Baobab Studios, 8x Emmy Award and 2x Annie Award winning independent interactive animation studio. There he created ‘Namoo’ – which means “Tree” in Korean, an animated narrative poem come to life, inspired by the passing of Oh’s grandfather. The film explores one man’s journey from beginning to end.

Steve Subotnick

Critic, RISD

Steven’s animations are condensed and poetic. His artwork begins in the physicality of materials – paper, ink, paint, paper-mache, rags, photographs, wood – which are then transformed through digital manipulation. His goal is to embody ideas in the act of making. Steven’s films have screened in festivals, galleries, museums, and curated shows around the world. He is the recipient of major grants and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an LEF Fellowship, and an AFI Fellowship. Steven is also a dedicated teacher. He has taught animation for over thirty years at colleges and universities, including Rhode Island School of Design, where he currently teaches senior animation thesis projects.

Michael Langan

 

Michael Langan made experimental short films, commercials, and music videos for ten years before he had kids and became obsessed with telling stories. Since then he has worked as a feature screenwriter, full-time dad, and construction worker, respectively. He lives in Seattle.

Amy Kravitz

Professor of Film/Animation/Video

Amy Kravitz started making animated films when she was eleven. She studied Social Anthropology at Harvard University (BA), and Experimental Animation at California Institute of the Arts (MFA). Her films have won many awards and have screened throughout the world.
Her animation is a quiet testimony to the intimate collaboration between viewer and maker that takes place between each drawing. Her singular teaching methods, developed over five decades of experience, encourage students to develop individual approaches to the medium. Her classes explore animation as a distinct language that employs unusual materials, unique spatial expressions, and visual metaphors as its grammar.

Nayon Cho

Artist / Filmmaker

Nayon is a Korean visual artist with a focus in filmmaking and animation. After receiving a BFA in Film/Animation/Video from Rhode Island School of Design, she has directed and animated on projects for Netflix, Amazon Music, VICE, The New York Times and more. Her most recently animated short film “Like A Rabbit (토끼를 쫓아)” (2020) was commissioned for Adult Swim, and has screened internationally at film festivals. She has taught Intro to Animation at Cooper Union and RISD.

Africanus Okokon

 

Africanus Okokon (b. 1989) works with the moving image, performance, painting, assemblage, collage, sound and installation to explore the dialectics of forgetting and remembrance in relation to cultural, shared and personal mediated histories. The interdisciplinary practice deals with loss, the assumed truth of the recorded document, and the moral function of memory.

He received a BFA in Film/Animation/Video from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2013 and an MFA in Painting/Printmaking from Yale University in 2020. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Film/Animation/Video at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and is based in New Haven, Connecticut.

Pilar Newton

 

Pilar Newton received her BFA at Rhode Island School of Design and went on to get her start working on The Cartoon Network’s “Courage the Cowardly Dog,” and on MTV’s “Daria”. She has since contributed work to companies such as Nickelodeon, Homer Learning and Sirius Thinking, among others. She teaches animation at City College of New York and School of Visual Arts.

She has recently received her MFA in Visual Narrative from the School of Visual Arts.

Pilar along with her animation company Pilartoons, LLC is based in Brooklyn, NY.

Peter Lord

Co-Founder and Creative Director, Aardman

Peter Lord is Co-Founder and Creative Director of Aardman. He co-founded Aardman with his long-time collaborator, David Sproxton, in 1972. As a director, Lord has been honoured with two Academy Award ® nominations for Best Animated Short, the first in 1992 for Adam, and for Wat’s Pig in 1996, and Best Animated Feature for Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists in 2013. He has also earned BAFTA nominations for Adam, The Amazing Adventures of Morph, War Story and Chicken Run and, as a producer for Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Lord first met Sproxton in the early 1970’s at school, where they started experimenting with animation techniques on their kitchen table. They tried a range of methods before settling on plasticine/clay model animation. While they were still in their teens, a BBC children’s television producer offered Lord and Sproxton the chance to make short animated films for his programme, Vision On.

After going professional in 1976, their first success was with the clay character Morph, who later starred in his own series, The Amazing Adventures of Morph. As a testament to Morph’s enduring appeal, he still appears in new productions today.

Moving to Bristol in 1976, Lord and Sproxton built Aardman into one of the world’s leading model animation studios. In 1978, Aardman was commissioned by BBC Bristol to make two short films entitled Animated Conversations. The resulting Down and Out and Confessions of a Foyer Girl, both co-directed by Lord and Sproxton, broke new ground in animation by using recordings of real-life conversations. That led to a series of five Conversation Pieces for the UK’s Channel 4, all of which were co-directed by Lord and Sproxton, including Early Bird and On Probation. Expanding into music videos, Aardman collaborated with director Stephen Johnson and the Brothers Quay to create Peter Gabriel’s award-winning video Sledgehammer. In 1987, Lord created the video for Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares for Me. Two years later, Channel 4 again commissioned Aardman to create the five-picture Lip Synch series, which included Lord’s War Story. Lord’s other directing credits include Going Equipped and Babylon. Together with Sproxton, Lord has also played a major role in encouraging and promoting new directors. His executive producer credits with Aardman include Creature Comforts, Rex the Runt, HumDrum, Stage Fright and The Pearce Sisters as well as the spectacularly successful series of films starring Wallace and Gromit including, most recently, A Matter of Loaf and Death.

Aardman’s special brand of animation has also been seen in TV commercials in various countries for such products as far ranging as Chevron, Lurpack, Mita Copiers, Cadbury’s Crunchie and Polo.

In 2000, Lord teamed up with Nick Park to co-direct Aardman’s first full-length feature Chicken Run, starring the voice of Mel Gibson, which was a commercial and critical smash. Lord also produced the Oscar-winning first feature length film starring Wallace and his faithful canine sidekick Gromit. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was released in 2005.

Lord was a Producer of Aardman’s first CGI feature film, Flushed Away, which was produced in collaboration with DreamWorks in Glendale LA and released worldwide at the end of 2006. In 2011, he was Executive Producer on Aardman’s second major CGI project, Arthur Christmas, directed by Sarah Smith. This time the film was made in collaboration with Columbia and Sony Pictures Animation.

A second project with the same studio saw Lord returning to the classic Aardman technique of stop-frame animation. He directed his first solo venture: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, a delicious confection of piracy on the high seas, which starred the voice of Hugh Grant. The film was released in 2012 to critical acclaim worldwide and nominated for an Academy Award (2013 Oscars) in the Best Animated Feature Film category. Towards the end of 2013 Peter fronted an extremely successful Kickstarter crowd funding campaign to ‘Bring back Morph’. The campaign quickly exceeded its target funding and consequently more episodes of Morph were produced.

In 2009 Lord and Sproxton were presented with a Special Award from BAFTA in the TV Craft Awards.

In 2012 Lord was made the Honorary President of the Hiroshima Animation Festival and attends numerous animation and film festivals to give talks and sit on juries.

Lord and Sproxton were each awarded a CBE in the 2006 Queen’s Birthday honours list, the same year that saw them celebrate 30 years of Aardman.

In 2016, the award-winning studio celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Lord’s most recent film credits are as Executive Producer on Aardman’s 2015 hit film Shaun the Sheep Movie, the 2018 comedy adventure Early Man, and the second Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon released in autumn 2019.

In November 2018, Aardman became an Employee Owned organisation, ensuring that the studio remains independent and securing the creative legacy and culture of the company for the future.

Daniel Ojari

Writer/Director, Robin Robin

After graduating Wimbledon College of Art in 2008 with a degree in Set Design for Stage and Screen, Dan started out as a Freelance Animator, Set Designer and Model Maker, before taking an MA in Animation at the Royal College of Art from 2010-11.

His 2011 MA graduation short, Slow Derek, premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in 2011 before screening internationally at over 40 film festivals and winning the Grand Prix at Animated Encounters and Animayo,

In 2014, Dan co-founded Parabella Studios with Mikey Please, where they produced shorts, idents and commercials with commissions from clients such as Nike, E4 and Kamasi Washington. Their relaunch trailer for the 2017 series of The Great British Bake Off earned the pair a Cannes Lion Silver award for Film Craft in Animation.

In 2019, Dan and Mikey joined Aardman to co-write and direct the animated musical special Robin Robin, which premiers on Netflix in autumn 2021.

Michael Please

Writer/Director, Robin Robin

After graduating from Wimbledon College of Art in 2007 with a degree in Technical Arts and Special Effects, Mikey began his career directing music videos for artists such as Jeffrey Lewis, M Ward and TV on the Radio.

His 2010 MA graduation short from the Royal College of Art, The Eagleman Stag, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win over 20 awards including a BAFTA for Best Animated Short, Special Distinction at Annecy, The Wholphin Award at SXWS and Best Graduation Short at the British Animation Awards. The film was included in the Future Shorts festival, playing internationally in over 400 cinemas and was shortlisted for an Academy Award.

His second short film, Marilyn Myller, premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, went on to win Best Short Film at the British Animation Awards, a Special Jury Prize at the Chicago International Film Festival and the McLaren Award for Best British Animation at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

In 2014, Mikey co-founded Parabella Studios with Dan Ojari, where they produced shorts, idents and commercials with commissions from clients such as Nike, E4 and Kamasi Washington. Their relaunch trailer for the 2017 series of The Great British Bake Off earned the pair a Cannes Lion Silver award for Film Craft in Animation.

Mikey joined Cartoon Network In 2018 as Episode Director on Elliott From Earth, overseeing 16 x 11-minute episodes, which premiered in March 2021.

In 2019, Mikey and Dan joined Aardman to co-write and direct the animated musical special Robin Robin, which premiers on Netflix in autumn 2021.

Eva Cvijanović

Filmmaker

Eva Cvijanović is a Montreal-based, Sarajevo-born filmmaker and animator perhaps best known for directing the award-winning animated short Hedgehog’s Home. The needle-felted stop motion film premiered at the 2017 Berlinale, has since been screened at a multitude of renowned festivals like Sundance, Annecy and OIAF, and has been nominated for the Annie awards, Canadian Screen awards and the Quebec Iris prize. Without committing to a single technique, Cvijanovic employs animation for its power to convey immersive experiences and to design creative playgrounds for herself and her peers. She is currently working within the Unreal game engine to create linear animated content and exploring new collaborative venues in independent animation authorship.

Athena Georgaklis

Head of Development, Nelvana

Athena Georgaklis is the Head of Development for Nelvana. A highly respected animation executive, Athena leads the acquisition of rights and the development of all original content for Nelvana. Athena is committed to develop creator-driven content, working with the studio’s producers, creators, and talent around the world that will resonate with kids of all ages, and find a home in all markets. She helmed the creation of Nelvana’s The Most Magnificent Thing, DNAce, Secret Agent Binky, The Remarkable Mr. King, The Hardy Boys live action series and many more to come.

Athena has worked in Canadian broadcast and production for more than 20 years. Prior to Nelvana, she oversaw all original animation production for Corus Entertainment’s kids’ networks, supervising the development and production of Canadian content in both English and French. During her time, she led the production and development of hit shows like Johnny Test, Camp Lakebottom, Mysticons, 6TEEN, Cupcake and Dinosaur, Rocket Monkeys, and the Total Drama Island franchise.

Carl Brundtland

Director, Legal Counsel, Corus Entertainment

Carl has been working in the film/TV production and publishing worlds since 1993 when he worked in Jamaica for CPTC, a production company related to the JBC. Since that early start, he has worked as a technician on big Hollywood films, an assistant for established Canadian producers and produced over 20 music videos (none of them anyone has seen in a very long time). Working for various producers on Canadian indie films and TV, Carl decided it was time to get a backup plan, and decided to go to Law School. After graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2007, Carl has worked for the Canadian Radio/Television Telecommunications Commission (the CRTC), his own law firm and most importantly at Corus Entertainment for over the last decade. At Corus, Carl provides legal advice to Nelvana for its amination and live action programs, and to Kids Can Press for acquiring and publishing various children’s books.

Other than lawyering, Carl is a soon to be published writer of graphic novel series for kids (title pending). He is a happily married father of two, who loves to eat and think about eating more than he should.

Naseem Hrab

Associate Publisher, Creative, Kids Can Press

Naseem Hrab has worked in children’s book publishing for fifteen years. She is the Associate Publisher, Creative at Kids Can Press, an independent Canadian publisher based in Toronto. Naseem is also the author of a number of picture books for children including Weekend Dad, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Awards.

José Pou

Storyboard Artist

Ottawa Based Storyboard Artist, José Pou, has been honing his skills in Storyboarding for the last decade. Originally starting as a Layout Artist, José moved on to Key Posing, Animating, then to Animation Supervisor on a variety of shows. He has worked in almost every department in the studio environment. José blended all these skills with his 22 years of animation experience, bringing about a perfect marriage for his passion for storyboarding. José’s evolution into storyboards allowed him to supervise, direct and even teach at Algonquin college, where he graduated from. His love for the craft keeps him working on refining his skills and evolving into the next stage in his career.

Bradley Cayford

Storyboard Artist

Ottawa based storyboard artist, Bradley Cayford, has been honing his abilities in animation for the past two decades in feature film, television, music videos and gaming. From MMVA nominations for Universal Soul’s “Way Back in the Day” to being a part of the Kidscreen Award winning film, “Pirate’s Passage” as an Art Director, Bradley has continued to craft his abilities to work as a storyboard artist on shows such as “Wild Kratts” “Dino Ranch” “Bagel and Becky” as well as the feature film, “100% Wolf”. Bradley says, “I still have a lot to learn and certainly more to grow as an artist; I’m excited for the journey ahead.”

Brenda Gilbert

President, BRON Media Corp

Brenda Gilbert is the President of BRON Media Corp, a company she co-founded and leads with her husband, Aaron L. Gilbert. BRON Media Corp. is the parent company to operating units BRON Studios, BRON Animation BRON Releasing, BRON Digital, and BRON Ventures (holds an interest in a portfolio of 10 content companies).The BRON group of companies are industry leaders in production, finance and the sales and marketing of film, series television and animation.

Brenda has a special focus on BRON’s non-scripted arm BRON Life, and is currently an Executive Producer on several projects, including the Untitled Nicki Minaj series with HBO Max. Over her 20+ years in the media space, Brenda has produced, or executive produced more than two-dozen projects, including the animated film The Willoughbys, which premiered on Netflix in 2020.

Founded in 2010, BRON has been behind more than 100 productions and is proud to have been part of 27 Academy Award nominations and 6 Academy Award wins for the films Fences, Joker, Bombshell, Roman J. Israel Esq., and Judas and The Black Messiah.

In addition to her role on BRON’s Board of Directors, Brenda sits on the boards of Film Independent and Banff Television Festival Foundation; she was the track chair for mentoring initiatives with Woman in Animation, is an Advisor to the Vancouver Film School and La Salle College, plus volunteers time with Vancouver Community College.

Kim Dent Wilder

Executive Vice President, Mainframe Studios

Kim brings exceptional experience, leadership, and passion to her role as Executive Vice President at Mainframe Studios. As a proven strategic business leader, Kim has played an integral role in Mainframe’s expansion and diversification. From overseeing and managing its growing film and television operations to identifying and developing new business opportunities, Kim is the synergistic ‘glue’ at Mainframe. She nurtures the company’s creative artistry while also ensuring efficiencies across all creative and technological processes. She provides not just leadership and mentorship, but also the vision to expand the company across Canada.

Maisha Moore

Art Director

Maisha Moore is an Annie Award-nominated Art Director from Vancouver Canada. Maisha has been in the animation industry for the last 13 years, working on globally recognized media. She is currently the design department supervisor for the upcoming Young Love series, based on the Academy Award-winning short. Maisha was the Art Director of the inaugural Five in Focus program (now known as The ACE Program).

Rose-Ann Tisserand

Founder and co-Executive Producer, WIA Vancouver’s Animation Career EXCELerator Program

Rose-Ann Tisserand is co-founder of Flying Kraken Creative Studios, a boutique, Canadian-based studio that creates original animation content and specializes in award-winning animation design services. She has worked as a production executive for 22 years. She was supervising producer at Bardel Entertainment, a Consulting Producer with the NFB and is currently Executive Producer/Co-Creator of a series in development with Silvergate Media. She also sits on the Spark Animation Leadership Board and the Executive Advisory Board of Women in Animation Vancouver. Rose-Ann is founder and co-Executive Producer of WIA Vancouver’s Animation Career EXCELerator Program.

Tracey Mack

Co-Executive Producer, WIA Vancouver’s Animation Career EXCELerator Program

Tracey is honoured to executive produce the ACE program with Women in Animation. She is an award-winning Producer with twenty years of experience, producing over 120 hours of television in both live action & animated film, television and digital media. She is currently COO / Head of Production for Imagine Create Media, and was formerly the Head of Business Affairs / Associate Vice President of Production of Bardel Entertainment. Through her own company, Urban Safari Entertainment, she has just finished development on the animated feature, A Christmas Crisis, with Hollywood Suite, which she also wrote, and has produced The Adventures of Little Jake & Many Skies for APTN, the award-winning Kids’ Cookhouse, and the web series PARKED.

Vivienne Medrano

Creator, HAZBIN HOTEL and HELLUVA BOSS

Vivienne Medrano is the creator/director of HAZBIN HOTEL and HELLUVA BOSS, as well as other projects. She is the founder of the indie studio Spindlehorse and loves musicals and villains!

Bryan Dimas

Co-Founder & Co-Director, LatinX in Animation | Latino Film Institute

Bryan Dimas is an Animation Producer with experience in feature animation production, 2D and CG animation television development and production, and project management. He has contributed to various projects that include “Trolls World Tour”, “The Boss Baby 2″, “3Below: Tales of Arcadia”, “Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia”, and “Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh.” He has worked for animation studios that include DreamWorks Animation and Warner Bros. Animation. He grew up in Houston, Texas and attended the University of Notre Dame where he studied Electrical Engineering and Film, Television, and Theatre with a concentration in Film Production. He is particularly interested in the development and production of animation, and promoting diversity and inclusivity in Animation and STEM fields.

He is currently the Associate Producer, Development at Warner Bros. Animation.

Aubry Mintz

Director of Animation and VFX, Chapman University

Aubry Mintz has worked as a feature animator at Industrial Light and Magic and Square USA. Mintz is an award winning freelance animation director for clients such as Smirnoff, McDonalds, MuchMusic, General Mills and the Canadian rock band Rush.

He produced the animated pilot “Airship Dracula” for Rides TV with the Canadian rock group The Sadies and Juno winning animation director Michael Roberts, and Directed a short animated film “Nothing to Say” narrated by celebrity Danny Aiello and co-produced by the Oscar award winning Seneca Institute in Canada. With official selections at 22 festivals (including Oscar qualifying Edmonton International Film Festival and Tirana International Film Festival) and winning awards at Palm Springs International Animation Festival, Anchorage Film Festival, NFMLA and Canada Shorts.

Mintz is also co-author for the Focal Press book “Ideas for the Animated Short 2nd Edition” and has presented his storytelling findings at film festivals to packed audiences throughout the US and Canada and frequently does presentations on integrated storytelling, most recently at Disney Feature Animation, CTNX, Blue Sky Animation Studios and DreamWorks Animation. He has also recently appeared as a guest host on TV’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM) with Ellen Besen for a 4-hour program consulting on the animated short films from the National Film Board of Canada. He was also a Full Professor and Director of the School of Art at California State University Long Beach

Mintz is currently the Director of Animation and VFX at Chapman University and is on the board of Directors for the prestigious non-profit organization ASIFA-Hollywood.

Sidney Clifton

Senior Vice President of Animation and Mixed Media, Jim Henson Company

Emmy-nominated producer Sidney Clifton has over twenty years of experience as an executive and producer of animated and live-action content across multiple platforms.

She recently joined the Jim Henson Company as Senior Vice President of Animation and Mixed Media, and serves as Senior Consultant with Black Women Animate. As a mentor and recruiter, she has been a featured speaker at colleges and universities across North America.

Her passion for developing and supporting the underserved community of writers, artists, storytellers and creators was the catalyst for her launching The Clifton House; an writer’s and artist’s workshop and retreat space centered at her childhood home in Baltimore Maryland—the home she shared with her five siblings and parents, educator/activist Fred J. Clifton and National Book Award winning poet and author Lucille Clifton.

Raul Garcia

Director and Producer

Raúl was born in Madrid, starting his animation career very early. He’s been an animator on international feature films ranging from “Asterix and Caesar Surprise”, “The Chipmunks Great Adventure” and “The Land Before Time”, until he worked on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, which opened the door to be an animator at Walt Disney Studios. For 10 years he worked on animated classics such as “Beauty and the Beast”, “Aladdin”, “The Lion King”, “Hunchback of Notre Dame”, “Hercules” and “Pocahontas”. After “Fantasia 2000”, Raúl moved and became a Sequence Director for Paramount on films like “The Rugrats in Paris”, “The Wild Thornberries Movie” and “Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius”, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

In 2002, he joined Kandor Graphics as Creative Director, with the award winning short film “The Tell Tale Heart”, and soon afterwards was co-writer and director with his partner Manuel Sicilia on the feature film “The Missing Lynx”, winner of the Goya Award for Best Animated Feature in 2008. He produced with Antonio Banderas, the Academy Award Nominee short film “The Lady and the Reaper”.

As director and producer, he was at the helm of the Animated Feature “Extraordinary Tales”, based on Edgar Allan Poe stories. Extraordinary Tales won him a nomination as Best Director of an Independent Feature Film at the 2016 ANNIE Awards, as well as several International Awards. Raul Garcia is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences of Hollywood, The Writers Guild of America, The American Cartoonist Society, and Asifa Hollywood. He has published two books in animation techniques and acts as artist in residence at the Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore, and teaches animation around the world.

Niki López

Creator and Executive Producer, Nick Jr’s Santiago of the Seas

Niki López is a Puerto Rican showrunner, writer and visual artist working in the animation industry. She is the creator and executive producer of Nick JR’s preschool series, Santiago of the Seas.

López was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She attended Ringling College of Art & Design to earn a BFA in Illustration. Her animation career began as a “Nicktern” for Nickelodeon Animation Studios, where she got hired shortly after as a production assistant on Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and then as a color designer on The Fairly Odd Parents, Harvey Beaks, and Glitch Techs.

In 2018, López was selected as one of Variety’s 10 Animators to Watch, Animation Magazines’s 2020 Rising Stars of Animation, and most recently was featured in Variety Selects Family Entertainment Impact Report List.

Azarin Sohrabkhani

 

Azarin Sohrabkhani is a media arts professional with over 16 years of operations and leadership experience in the Canadian and international film, television, animation, and music industries. She is currently a freelance festival programmer and consultant, focussing on fostering the voices of underrepresented talent and stories.

As the Director of Industry at the Canadian Film Institute, which hosts one of the world’s foremost animation events, the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) and the new International Film Festival of Ottawa (IFFO), Azarin programmed and managed the 3-day industry event The Animation Conference, the Animation Exposé Professional Development Program and the Indie Talks series at the OIAF, as well as the newly launched IFFO Screen Summit. She was also the lead on all corporate partnerships and development strategies for the organization.

Azarin sits on the Advisory Board of Algonquin College’s Animation Program, was a Co-Founder of Ottawa’s DIY music festival, Ottawa Explosion Weekend and was a Series Producer on ‘The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia’.

Aydrea Walden

WIA Mentor Coach

A former newspaper reporter, Aydrea Walden is currently a Writer for Nickelodeon, and has also written on animated shows for Disney, Amazon, and Mattel. While working with Mattel, she wrote the viral short “Barbie and Nikki Discuss Racism.” Previously, Aydrea worked as a Development Executive for Peacock Kids, was the host of the 2020 and 2021 Nebula Awards, and created the Webby-nominated series Black Girl in a Big Dress. She also has extensive experience working in animation production management, starting in 2D television animation at Nickelodeon and Disney, and then moving into CG features at Dreamworks Animation where she worked on Croods, Home, Trolls, and How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

Trent Correy

Director & Animator, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Trent Correy is a Canadian-born shorts director and animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios with over a decade of experience working in the animation industry. Along with animating on films such as Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana and Raya, Trent also directed the animated short film Drop and co-created the Oscar-nominated short, One Small Step with Bobby Pontillas & Taiko Animation Studios. Recently, Trent was the character animation supervisor for Olaf, Bruni and Gale on Frozen 2, and is the writer and co-director of the Emmy nominated original short, Once Upon a Snowman. Currently, Trent is Creating and DIrecting Zootopia+, a series set to debut on Disney Plus in 2022.

Kyle Marshall

Co-Executive Producer, Nickelodeon

Kyle Marshall has been doing his thing in animation for the past 15 years starting his career as an animator in the frozen tundra of Canada and working his way into boarding, design, writing, directing and now Co-Ep of Nickelodeon’s ‘The Loud House’. He’s doodled for a variety of shows including ‘Atomic Puppet’, ‘The Snoopy Show’ and ‘3 Amigonauts’ and has an Annie nomination for his boarding and 2 Emmy nominations including ‘Outstanding Directing for an Animated Series’. He’s found his way to sunny California, residing in Los Angeles with his amazing wife Kelly and two sons Jack and Charlie.

Heather Kenyon

Executive Producer and Partner, Citizen Skull Productions

In addition to being a partner in Citizen Skull Productions, an independent production company and management group, Heather Kenyon is the principal of its children’s media division Citizen Kids. Citizen Kids is currently involved in six projects that are in production or discussions with international distribution and broadcast partners.

Previously, she was Vice-President, Project Development & Sales, at Starz Animation Toronto, producer of such films as 9, and Elton John’s Gnomeo and Juliet. Representing this high-end studio, she was responsible for development, as well as seeking co-production and co-venture opportunities.

Heather also worked at Cartoon Network, where she ultimately became the Sr. Director of Development, Original Series and helmed the development department for all animated and live-action series for children 6-11 years old. Heather has a BFA from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television and began her career at Hanna-Barbera Cartoons.

Martyn Jones

Technical Director, Karrot Animation

Martyn Jones is an animator, director, and technical specialist who has worked in the animation industry for more than 30 years. Beginning his career as an assistant animator on the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1987, he continued to work on traditional hand-drawn animated films and commercials as a freelancer in his home city of London, UK. During the 1990s he made the transition from traditional to digital animation and in 1998 began working with CelAction2D software. Since then he has worked on such well-loved award-winning children’s TV shows as Charlie & Lola, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, and Sarah & Duck. His work as both artist and tutor has taken him to far-flung destinations including two years in Kenya, working on the ground-breaking Tinga Tinga Tales. Martyn has trained CelAction2D animators in both professional studios and film schools, and he volunteers as a student mentor for UAL:Central St Martins in London. He is currently technical director at Karrot Animation on the latest series of Love Monster.

Michelle Melanson

President, Headspinner Productions

Emmy and Bafta Nominated, Michelle has 30 years’ experience in the kids and family production business with hundreds of episodes produced and over 50 awards and nominations. In 2015, Michelle became a partner at Radical Sheep in 2015 and was promoted to President when Boat Rocker Media acquired the company in 2016. In 2018, Michelle launched Headspinner Productions with Showrunner and Husband Ken Cuperus in 2018. Their first production, Denis and Me airs on Family Channel, CRAVE and Youtube where it has already racked up over 20 million views. Their newest series Happy House of Frightenstein launches in September 2021. Michelle has won the Canadian Screen award, the Grand Prize of the Youth Media Alliance, Multiple Kidscreen Awards and Cynopsis Awards. She also has a Juno Award for producing the Stella and Sam Album. In 2019,
Michelle was inducted onto the Ryerson Radio and Television Wall of Fame. And in 2021 she was the Youth Media Alliance Outstanding Achievement Award Recipient.

Michelle is also the Founder of Women Drawn Together-a free organization that fosters
learning, networking and mentorship for Women in the Animation community. In the past 7 years, the group has grown to 4 cities and over 1800 members.

Deanna Cadette

Executive Director, WarnerMedia Global Access Programs Canada

Deanna Cadette is a seasoned screen-based media professional, dedicated to advancing the careers of Canadian talent, and building an inclusive industry through strategic relationships and innovative programs.
She serves as the Executive Director of WarnerMedia Access Canada which builds career pathways between WarnerMedia and Canadian film, TV and digital talent from underrepresented communities.
Her career in entertainment spans a breadth of roles and disciplines, including equity and inclusion professional at the CBC, policy analyst at the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), director of the former WGC/Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program, and proudly starting as a camera assistant with the Cinematographers Guild (I.A.T.S.E. 677).
Deanna’s professional experience is supported by an MA in Public Policy, a BA in Journalism & Film Studies and a Certificate in Project Management.

Jennifer Twiner-McCarron

CEO, Thunderbird Entertainment Group

Jennifer Twiner-McCarron is the CEO of Thunderbird Entertainment Group, and its Kids and Family Division, Atomic Cartoons. The Vancouver-based global multiplatform entertainment company creates award-winning scripted, unscripted and animated programming for the world’s leading digital platforms, as well as Canadian and International broadcasters.

Jennifer Twiner-McCarron joined Atomic Cartoons as the Head of Production in 2011. Under her leadership, the studio grew from 25 artists to more than 800 today. She has led production on multiple titles including the Emmy-winning Beat Bugs for Netflix, Cupcake & Dino for eOne and 101 Dalmatian Street for Disney+. Other notable projects Jennifer has produced in recent years include productions that highlight Thunderbird’s mission of creating world-changing content with a focus on diversity and inclusivity, such as the multi-award winning Molly of Denali and Hello Ninja.

Jennifer was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of Atomic Cartoons in 2016, then CEO of all Thunderbird companies in June 2018, overseeing the $61.5 million business (FY2019) as well as a team of more than 1,000 people, in Vancouver, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Ottawa.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carleton University in Ottawa and a degree in film studies from the Vancouver Film School. She has received multiple Leo awards, an ELAN, and a DTV award. She was recently named the Equity and Inclusion Champion in BC Business’ 2021 Women of the Year Awards and was named Executive of the Year by Playback Magazine in 2018. In 2019, she was also included on the Women’s Executive Network’s list of (WXN) Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Jennifer’s greatest achievement, however, is her family and she cherishes spending time with her husband and three children.

Shirley Ley

Principal, BIPOC Executive Search Inc.

Shirley Ley (she/her) is a social justice informed psychologist licensed in Oregon, USA. Working as a principal at BIPOC Executive Search, she focuses on recruitment, training, and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) audits within higher education and non-profit sectors. Shirley has a personal investment in supporting industries that are committed to dismantling oppressive structural and systemic practices that disadvantage and racialized communities. Her philosophy to the work is informed by her political identity as a woman of Color, critical race and liberation theories, and community-centered healing practices. To facilitate the structural changes that are needed to sustain diverse and inclusive work environments, she forges relationships, by the way of educational programming, consultation work, and community-based healing events, with people across disciplines, inviting them to become allies in creating environments that allow minoritized peoples to affirm their potential and to realize their inherent worth.
Shirley’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shirley-ley/

Morgana Duque

VP Production, WildBrain Studios

Morgana Duque is a producer with over a decade of experience in the film and television industry. In her role as VP, 3D Production at WildBrain Studios, Morgana brings her background as an artist to production, fostering a work environment where the crew can thrive while supporting the creative vision to deliver awesome content. She joined WildBrain eight years ago and has worked her way up the ranks on such award-winning programs as Slugterra, Endangered Species, Kate and Mim-Mim, Fireman Sam, Mega Man: Fully Charged, and most recently as the producer on Go, Dog. Go! which became a Top 10 series on Netflix in over 45 countries. In 2020-2021, Morgana led the studio’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee during its inaugural year, spearheading internal efforts to grow an inclusive culture that invokes a deep sense of pride, quality and belonging in all staff members, and fostering an environment where every person feels safe to be themselves. The committee acts as a partner to the studio in nurturing real organizational change, with a focus on studio-wide D&I education and development, diverse talent growth, and diversity in creative content.

Adriana Chartrand

Lead, Indigenous Initiatives & Content Analyst, Telefilm

Adriana Chartrand (she/her/elle) is the Lead, Indigenous Initiatives and Content Analyst at Telefilm Canada, where she manages the Indigenous Funding streams, acts as a resource person and representative for Indigenous filmmakers, and works as a content analyst.

She is Red River Métis(Michif)/mixed settler, born and raised in Winnipeg, MB., and was previously the Institute Manager at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, responsible for developing, administering, and overseeing professional development labs and activities for Indigenous filmmakers.

She holds a Master’s degree in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor’s degree in Cinema Studies, with a minor in Women’s & Gender Studies, from the University of Manitoba. She has previously worked in social work and speaks English and French.

Diego Briceño

Program Lead, Equity & Inclusion, Canada Media Fund

Diego is a Colombian-Canadian Creative Producer and Media Strategist based in Montréal with over 20 years of experience as a producer, director, and concept developer on social impact documentaries, fiction and digital media. He has a BFA in Cinema (Film Production) and a Graduate Certificate in Digital Technologies and Design Art Practice from Concordia University. Driven by narrative, ethics and collaboration, his work often focuses on issues of marginalization, the environment and North-South relations. He has directed and produced eight documentary projects, including a television series and an interactive project plus one short fiction, which have all played in television or shown at national and international film festivals.

Through his company Cuiba Media, he specialized in the co-development of cross-media projects with a strong international appeal. He is the co-founder of Makila, a non-profit media incubation platform and is the co-creator and lead developer of the Cuban Hat Project, a grassroots documentary pitching contest that has been featured at events such as Hot Docs (Toronto), IDFA (Amsterdam), RIDM (Montréal) and Sunny Side of the Docs (La Rochelle). He also sits on the board of the Alter-cine Foundation which provides financial support to documentary filmmakers in the global South. Currently he serves as the Program Lead in Equity and Inclusion at the Canada Media Fund (CMF).

Mark Haslam

Media Arts Officer, Ontario Arts Council

Mark Haslam is the Media Arts Officer at the Ontario Arts Council. Previously, he was the Founder and Executive Director of the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival in Toronto. He is a filmmaker, and has worked in television as a documentary writer/director/producer. He began his career in radio broadcasting.

Maral Mohammadian

Producer, National Film Board of Canada

Maral Mohammadian is a producer at the renowned National Film Board of Canada’s Animation Studio in Montreal. Her award-winning films include Shannon Amen by Chris Dainty and Deyzangeroo by Ehsan Gharib. She has recently worked with international talents Daniel Gray (Hide) and Marta Pajek (Impossible Figures and Other Stories I) as part of international co-productions. Maral has helped to develop some of Canada’s top rising talents through the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship program, which has spawned a series of one-minute hits. In addition to films, she has produced interactive projects with a distinct edge, such as Paloma Dawkins’ acclaimed VR work, Museum of Symmetry.

Paul Thinel

Program Officer, Explore and Create, Canada Council for the Arts

Writer, director and producer, Paul Thinel has served on numerous committees for various provincial and national agencies while frequently being a content analyst / reviewer for the private film and television sector. He joined the Canada Council for the Arts in 2010 as a program officer in the Media Arts Department, he continues to be responsible for this artistic discipline for independent directors in the new Explore and Create program.

Elizabeth Foster

Copy Chief & Special Reports Editor, Kidscreen

As Kidscreen’s Copy Chief & Special Reports Editor, Elizabeth Foster is responsible for the creation and production of special reports and for the production flow of the print magazine. Career highlights include meeting Chris Kratt and breaking news on consumer products trends. Prior to joining Kidscreen, Elizabeth served as a News Editor covering labor relations for Reuters (a beat that involved significantly fewer rainbows and teddy bears).

Kadon Douglas

Executive Director, BIPOC TV & Film

A storyteller and community connector at heart, Kadon Douglas is the inaugural executive director at BIPOC TV & Film, a grassroots organization and registered non-profit advocating for racial equity and inclusion in Canada’s film and TV Industry. BIPOC TV & Film provides training and mentorship opportunities for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour creatives and operates HireBIPOC (a digital hiring database); and works in solidarity with industry, government, and the creative community to address and dismantle barriers to funding, professional development, and career entry and advancement. Prior to BIPOC TV & Film. Prior to BIPOC TV & Film, Kadon led communications and membership engagement strategies at Women in Film & Television-Toronto (WIFT-T).

Kadon also worked for several years in the documentary production field as a production coordinator, researcher, and digital marketing/audience engagement specialist. She is a two-time fellow of the Hot Docs Film Festival: Doc Accelerator (2013) and Shaw Media Diverse Voices (2015); and is a 2019 Ontario Nonprofit Network RBC Leading the Future fellow. Kadon is also an active member of the screen-based media community, volunteering her time on various committees and juries, and is the former chair of the Reelworld Film Festival.

Tori Coulthart

Vice President of Production, Jam Filled Entertainment

As Head of Production at Jam Filled, Victoria is responsible for leading a large team of animation artists across Toronto and Ottawa towards the common goal of producing high quality animation for an international audience. Victoria works closely with the team to produce a variety of popular shows such as: “Loud House”, “Final Space”, “DC Super Hero Girls”, “Thomas & Friends”, and “Bubble Guppies”.

Austin Wong

Director, Legal Counsel, Nelvana / Corus Entertainment

Austin is an entertainment lawyer, producer, writer and director. He has worked at such companies as Lions Gate Films, Rhombus Media, and Wildbrain (formerly DHX), and is currently Director, Legal Counsel for Corus Entertainment and Nelvana Studios. He was a producer of Bruce McDonald’s feature film This Movie is Broken and was Associate Producer for such feature films as Fernando Meirelles’ Blindness starring Julianne Moore, and Paul Gross’s Passchendaele. He also wrote and directed a short film funded by BravoFact called Gaysian.

Aisha Ghali

Independent Filmmaker

Aisha Ghali is a cartoonist and filmmaker based in so-called Toronto. They have worked as a director and storyboard artist for television and feature film since graduating from Sheridan College in 2016. Through their community organization Car Tune they’ve organized legal workshops, drink & draws, barbeques and town-hall style discussion forums for the local animation scene. They also teach, occasionally. They are currently in production on their independent short Petty Band.

Emi Yonemura

 

Emi Yonemura is an episodic director in animation, working for Crunchyroll (Onyx Equinox, High Guardian Spice), Rooster Teeth (gen:LOCK season 2), and Marvel. She has also storyboarded for Warner Bros. Animation, working on Justice League Action, Constantine: City of Demons, and The Killing Joke, as well as boarded for Universal Animation on Curious George: Royal Monkey. She graduated from The Kubert School in 2010 and lives with her husband, Garry Brown, two dogs, five cats, and numerous fish.

Mary Bredin

Creative Director, Green Tiger Club

Mary Bredin has boundless curiosity and a passion for story. She is the Creative Development Producer at TeamTO. Mary developed the TeamTO Original “Jade Armor” which will air on HBO Max in 2022. Mary is busy developing feature films, short form and long form content for the global market with Teamto. TeamTO is an award winning entertainment company based in Paris. Mary is co-creator of “Journey to Egs” a sci-fi comedy as well as “Pikwik Pack” on Disney Jr.. She also developed and Executive Producer the Emmy nominated “Justin Time” as well as the Netflix Original “True and the Rainbow Kingdom”. She was also an EP on the Oscar nominated animated feature “The Breadwinner”. Mary
received the Women in Film + TV award for outstanding contribution to the business of television. She
has also worked as a content buyer as the Director of Acquisitions and Programming at Disney in
London. She is also a parent and has a 17-year-old son, Rory.

Hong Qi

 

Hong Qi is a Toronto-based director with over 25-years of experience working in animation. Hong has a strong passion for visual storytelling, which she discovered early on in her career while employed as a traditional animator across numerous feature films, such as Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, and The Little Mermaid 2. Hong joined Brown Bag Films Toronto in 2003, where she transitioned to digital storyboarding working on multiple PBS KIDS programs, including the Daytime Emmy® Award-winning shows Peep and the Big Wide World and Peg + Cat. Most recently Hong has turned her talents towards the Annie Award-nominated series Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum. In her new role as a director, Hong is excited to create stories and adventures that will inspire children around the globe. When not engaged in a world of animated adventures, Hong loves painting and gardening.

Jeanette Moreno King

Supervising Director on Little Devil and President of The Animation Guild

Jeanette Moreno King brings over 20 years of experience to her role as Supervising Director on FXX’s Little Demon (greenlit to series and currently in production). She started her career as a key assistant animator on the original Space Jam movie and has worked her way up the ranks through a variety shows including The Simpsons, Futurama, and Netflix’s Q-Force and for many different studios including Fox Animation, Warner Bros. Animation, Netflix, Titmouse, and
ShadowMachine. A proud union member, Jeanette is the President of the Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, she earned her degree in sculpture from University of Texas at Austin. Her formative years were spent as a daily cartoonist in the Daily Texan where she developed her love of story and met her future husband and fellow cartoonist, Tom King who also works as a Director on Apple TV’s Central Park. They both now live in Los Angeles with their two children, two cats, and a tiny chihuahua.

Paula Spence

Art Director and Recording Secretary for The Animation Guild

Paula Spence is an Art Director and Designer in the TV animation industry, most recently at ShadowMachine (Little Demon) and Cartoon Network Studios (Shorts, Close Enough, Regular Show, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack). She enjoys building teams of talented artists, making meaningful connections and gorgeous artwork with them, and organizing the hell out of her projects. She serves as Recording Secretary at The Animation Guild, and strives to engage her fellow members and inspire them to volunteer for the greater good of the union’s membership, future members and the industry as a whole.

Raja Khanna

CEO and Co-Founder, Dark Slope

Raja is the CEO and Co-Founder of Dark Slope, a metaverse company developing new forms of entertainment using game-engines, motion capture, virtual production and immersive technologies. Dark Slope produces prime time “hyper reality”-TV productions and near real-time animation for streamers globally. The company also develops and publishes immersive experiences in VR and MR for entertainment centres, theme parks and home use. Raja is the former CEO, Television & Digital, for Blue Ant Media Inc. where he oversaw the company’s growth from inception to becoming a global producer, distributor, digital network operator and broadcaster. Previously Raja was the co-founder of QuickPlay Media, a mobile technology company enabling TV-everywhere capabilities for global telecom companies (acquired by AT&T). Raja is active on the boards of the Canadian Film Centre, OCADU Co, and FortyTwo Properties, a real estate company he co-founded focusing on developing real estate for the creative industries.

Bruce W. Smith

Creator of The Proud Family

Bruce W. Smith is creator and executive producer of Disney+’s “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” the long-anticipated revival of the groundbreaking animation series “The Proud Family.”

An accomplished director, producer and animator, Smith has been part of the animation industry for over three decades. He is best known for creating and executive-producing Disney Channel’s hit series “The Proud Family” and “The Proud Family Movie.” Most recently Smith served as one of three directors on the Academy Award-winning short “Hair Love.”

During his tenure Walt Disney Animation Studios, Smith supervised animation on many animated feature films including “The Princess and the Frog,” specifically for evil villain Dr. Facilier; “Winnie the Pooh;” “Tarzan” and “The Emperor’s New Groove.” His gift for unique character design led him into visual development for the Studio’s other projects such as “Wreck-It-Ralph” and “Frozen.” He was also lead animator on the short film “Tangled Ever After.”

Smith co-founded Jambalaya Studio, an animation company whose goal is to generate both racially and ethnically diverse projects for all mediums, for the production of over 50 episodes for Disney Channel’s “The Proud Family” and “The Proud Family Movie.”

His additional credits include “Space Jam,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “A Goofy Movie,” “Bébé’s Kids” and “Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child.”

A California Institute of the Arts alumni, Smith resides in Los Angeles, California.

Ben Juwono

Supervising Director on Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur

Ben Juwono is an Emmy & Annie-nominated Storyboard Artist & Director. He is currently a Supervising Director at Disney TVA on Marvel’s Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur. He has done directing and storyboard work for Dreamworks TV, Nickelodeon, Illumination, Marvel Animation Studio, and Titmouse. He enjoys baking bread and is currently still struggling creating a decent latte art on his espresso.

Kristin Donner

Co-Executive Producer on unannounced Nickelodeon show and Co-Chair of The Animation Guild Family and Membership Committee

Kristin Donner is a Los Angeles-based artist whose portfolio includes creative work for Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network. She is currently a Co-Executive Producer in development, a Color Designer in production and Chair of The Animation Guild’s Family and Membership (FAM) Committee. Kristin holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Illustration, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Entertainment Art/Animation and is the winner of the 2018 Stein Holding Contest at the Montrose Oktoberfest.

Lesley Headrick

Director

Lesley Headrick is a Series Director in Toronto and is a veteran of the animation industry. Over the span of her career she has worked on several award winning and nominated television and film productions. Her path has taken her to studios in Vancouver, Toronto, California, Hawaii, and the UK. She also has brought her experience to teaching and mentoring at Sheridan College.

Currently she resides in Toronto, with a wish to be able to work remotely from a tiny island in Addington Highlands.

Ben McEvoy

Partner and Executive Producer, Friends & Enemies

Friends & Enemies is a distributed creative collective that leads initiatives for agencies, brands, and media partners, providing branding, design, and content, as well as production for animation, live-action, interactive, XR, and experiences.

As Executive Producer, Ben leads a team of senior creatives in partnership with a broad network of multi-disciplinary production partners creating original as well as branded content from campaigns and multi-platform experiences. Jack-of-all-Trades/Master-of-Some, Ben also gets into all sorts of trouble firsthand, spearheading production as director, writer, editor, animator, composer, and heck, even coding.

Ben was previously Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) until 2020. He has also been highly active in the industry in partnership with CASO as well as academically, in the Seneca Animation and Transmedia / Interactive programs for almost 15 years. Ben has also lead initiatives for Sheridan College and Centennial College on projects in Canada, and internationally in India, Singapore and China.

Jamie Leduc

CREATE Department Head, Sisler High School

Jamie Leduc currently teaches animation at Sisler High School and is Department Head of the CREATE program. Jamie has over 20 years of experience in developing curriculum and teaching animation, film and game design for the public education system. He has enhanced student education by coordinating industry mentorships, internships, and scholarships. Through this, Leduc has inspired hundreds of students in pursuing careers in the film and animation industries.

 Xierra Cansino

Sisler Student Animator

My name is Xierra Cansino and I’m a grade 12 student at Sisler High School in Winnipeg MB, Canada. In a mentorship program with Nickelodeon called “The Orange Tree Project”, I was part of Yam Jam Animations. In addition to being lead compositor on our short “Grim Companion”, I worked on a number of things as well. This would include character design, rough backgrounds, storyboarding, rough animations and clean animations. Collaborating with my team and creating this passion project with the help of our Nick mentor was such a thrilling experience from beginning to end. I aspire to become part of a team like Yam Jam again to make animations that move people’s hearts! Storyboarding and animation are a couple of my dream jobs. I’m so thankful to be in Sisler’s CREATE program – with the most amazing teachers and peers – to learn, grow and make those dreams come true.

Sam Balanial

Sisler Student Animator

My name is Sam, and I’m a Grade 12 student from Sisler High School. I was chosen to be in team Clementine, where I did concept art, animation, colouring, and branding for Eclipse. My goals are to live comfortably while still doing the work I love! You can find me on instagram at @sxetto.

Megan Koscielny

Sisler Student Animator

Megan Koscielny is an 18 year old post-high student at Sisler High School in the CREATE program. Last school year, she participated in the Orange Tree Project which landed her on team Monarch Martians to help realize the animated short “Ikaw Muna”. During the OTP, she helped in early planning stages with story composition and drew concept art. In later stages, she completed rough and clean animation. Her aspirations are to enter the professional world of animation to work as a concept artist and to entertain the masses. Most of all, she aspires to be a role model for future generations of creative kids.

Carson Smith

Director, Nickelodeon Community Efforts

Born and raised in the NorthEast Los Angeles hamlet of Silver Lake, Carson is a product of the Los Angeles Unified School District and a graduate of the University of California, San Diego. Upon graduating from college Carson has worked in a wide array of entertainment industry gigs from primetime Situation Comedy Production Coordinator, to Set Builder, to Human Resources Manager. It is during his time at Nickelodeon that he realized he could make a career out of doing good. He now runs NiCE (Nickelodeon Community Efforts) and strives to increase accessibility and create career pathways for aspiring storytellers from underserved communities.

Lucy Heavens

Creator and Executive Producer

South African creator and executive producer, Lucy Heavens (“Space Chickens in Space”), along with her producing partner, Nic Smal, is behind Disney Channel’s next animated buddy-comedy, “Kiff,” which follows Kiff, an optimistic squirrel whose best intentions often lead to complete chaos, and her best friend, Barry, a sweet and mellow bunny. The series was inspired by the people and places Lucy and Nic experienced growing up in Cape Town.

Lucy is a seasoned comedy writer who over the years has worked on animation projects out of the US, UK and Europe for Disney, Dreamworks and Nickelodeon. She is a former winner of the Disney-Triggerfish Storylab – a development incubator for African writers. As a writer in Cape Town, Lucy always dreamt of creating her own show, but never thought it could be a reality living in South Africa, so to be running a show she co-created for Disney truly is a dream come true. In addition to “Kiff,” Lucy and Nic also have a second project in the early stages of development at Disney Television Animation (TVA).

Nic Smal

Creator and Executive Producer

South African creator and executive producer, Nic Smal (“Caillou”), along with his producing partner, Lucy Heavens, is behind Disney Channel’s next animated buddy-comedy, “Kiff,” which follows an optimistic squirrel whose best intentions often lead to complete chaos, and her best friend, a sweet and mellow bunny. The series was inspired by the people and places Nic and Lucy experienced growing up in Cape Town.

A 15-year industry veteran, Nic is an animator, storyboard artist, editor, comedian and musician, as well as the host of the hugely popular YouTube channel, Derick Watts & The Sunday Blues (over 67 million views). He has drawn on his comedic visual sensibility to design the characters and world of “Kiff.”

As a self-taught artist in Cape Town, Nic always dreamt of creating his own show, but never thought it could be a reality living in South Africa, so to be running a show he co-created for Disney truly is a dream come true. In addition to “Kiff,” Nic and Lucy also have a second project in the early stages of development at Disney Television Animation (TVA).

John Aoshima

Head of Story

John Aoshima is an Emmy and Annies nominated Television Director known for Disney’s “Gravity Falls” and “Ducktales” reboot, including Fox’s Primetime Animated Comedy, “American Dad!”. John had turned his passion for art and film into earning his BFA degree at CalArts. After a long career in television animation, he shifted his focus towards feature films and has worked on Laika’s Oscar-nominated feature, “Kubo and the Two Strings” as Head of Story. Since joining Netflix Animation in 2018, John has taken position as Sequence Director for CG-Animated Epic Series, “Maya and the Three” created by Jorge Gutiérrez and is now Co-Directing on CG-Animated feature with Shannon Tindle on “Ultraman”.

Yuhki Demers

Production Designer

Yuhki Demers is a production designer, and visual development artist working in animation and video games. Some of his recent credits include “Spider-Man Into the Spider-verse”, the upcoming “Spider-Verse” sequel, and upcoming Netflix series “My Dad The Bounty Hunter”.

See his portfolio here: https://www.fernandaabarca.com/

Alyssa Taylor

Prop Designer

Alyssa Taylor is a visual development artist with a love of story-telling. After studying music and working as a freelance musician in orchestras, she is now doing what she loves most: creating stories with art.

A former Netflix Animation artist, Alyssa was selected for the Art Trainee Program in 2021. After graduating from the program, she was promoted to a Prop Designer on My Dad the Bounty Hunter, where she just wrapped on her first CG TV Series project. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys water sports, hiking, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with her friends.

See her portfolio here: https://alyssasketches.com/

Zi Chen

Storyboard Artist

Zi graduated from Netflix’s Trainee Progam in May 2021, and is now a story artist on Storybots! In her spare time she likes to work on her webcomic and personal animations. She loves being outside, eating dirt, and playing bass. One day she hopes to run her own animated series!

Joy Lee

Prop Designer

Joy Lee is a tattoo artist turned animation designer! She graduated from ACCD in 2020 and got her first industry job at Cartoon Network as a production intern turned background designer. Afterward, she became Netflix Animations’ first-ever Art Trainee and has since been working full time as a prop designer for Netflix in hopes of never getting fired.

See her portfolio here: https://www.joydraws.com/

Nate Theis

Head of Story

NATE THEIS is currently Head of Story on new StoryBots content for Netflix Animation. A Savannah College of Art and Design graduate, his previous work includes a diverse mix of animation and advertising with studios such as JibJab, Warner Bros. Animation, and Planet Propaganda. He also has a chihuahua.

Paul Hornschemeier

Art Director

Paul Hornschemeier is an author, artist, and director who began his career in graphic novels before branching into a variety of media. He is the cartoonist of the graphic novels “Mother, Come Home,” “The Three Paradoxes”, the New York Times Best Seller “Life with Mr. Dangerous,” as well as various short story collections and art books.

His prose and comics—which have been translated into eight languages and garnered international awards— have appeared in publications ranging from Life Magazine to The Wall Street Journal. He served as Creative Writing faculty for The University of Chicago and has lectured internationally on narrative and art creation.

Hornschemeier’s animation and artwork appear on IFC’s “Comedy Bang! Bang!” and he has served as director and producer on numerous short films, both live action and animation. He was founding creative director for Dynasty Typewriter at The Hayworth, a theater in Los Angeles now in its fourth year and hailed as one of the city’s best venues for comedy and live performance. Hornschemeier also served as art director for the animated series “Twelve Forever” for Netflix. And is currently art directing “Captain Fall,” a new Netflix adult animated series from the creators of “Norsemen.”

Hornschemeier lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons, where he is at work on a variety of tv, film, and book projects.

See his portfolio here: https://beitelcreative.com/animation/

Madison Dunn

Storyboard Revisionist

Madison Dunn is a storyboard revisionist on Ultraman at Netflix Animation. In May of 2021, Madison graduated with a bachelors degree in Animation at California State University, Fullerton. While completing his education, Madison also served as president of CSUF’s Pencil Mileage Club, a 25-year-old animation club. Outside of work, Madison loves exploring in VR and taking occasional trips to Disneyland and the Lego store. Madison plans to spend the rest of his life telling stories and being a messenger of joy and hope to others.

See his portfolio here: https://artofmadisondunn.weebly.com/storyboards.html

Michael Moloney

Storyboard Artist

Michael Moloney is a TV Animation Director and story artist living in Los Angeles. He has worked in the entertainment industry for 15 years on a variety of shows such as Adult Swim’s Super-jail, Black Dynamite, Netflix’s Turbo: Fast, Amazon’s Niko and the Sword of Light, and Cartoon Network’s MaoMao: Heroes of Pure Heart.

He uses his sense of humour and passion for entertaining to create stories that resonate. You can find him on weekends playing board games, enjoying coffee and reading fantasy novels.

See his portfolio here: http://artofmikemoloney.com/

Apollonia Vick

Story Revisionist

Apollonia Vick, but goes by Apol, is a multi-award winning student director and writer on Adija and Monsters In The Dark. She earned a BFA and MFA in Digital Art & Animation. She was the 2017 story intern at Walt Disney’s Animation Studio writing and boarding on Ventana – the first ever released intern short. Apol was granted a story trainee position on the production My Dad the Bounty Hunter, and is now hired as a revisionist.

See her portfolio here: https://www.apolloniavick.com/

Grazia Como

Program Manager, Early Career Recruiting

Grazia Como is a Program Manager for Netflix’s Animation Outreach & Engagement. As a Program Manager, Grazia oversees Story Training initiatives designed to engage and develop emerging artistic talent.

Grazia started her animation career at PDI/Dreamworks as a render assistant on the studio’s first computer-animated feature film, Antz, in 1997. That was her foot in the door!

Prior to her current role, Grazia oversaw the Artist Trainee and Internship Programs across, Feature, TV, Technology, and Corporate at Dreamworks Animation. Her role was key to developing and managing training initiatives across the animation pipeline, as well as industry and community related initiatives.
In addition to her experience at DWA, Grazia worked in visual fx and commercials as a production manager at Stan Winston Studios as well as working in production technical support and training development at Digital Domain.

Grazia attended Cogswell PolyTechnical College in Sunnyvale, CA with a focus in Computer Animation but did not complete her degree as life had other plans for her.

Matt Roberts

Senior Artistic Recruiter, Walt Disney Animation Studios

MATT ROBERTS (Senior Artistic Recruiter) specializes in the areas of Story, Animation, and Visual Development for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Drawing from his own background as an artist, caricaturist, and writer, Roberts has recruited varying artistic talent for Disney, starting with his first film Bolt through Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Wreck-it Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana, Frozen 2, Raya and the Last Dragon, and the upcoming Encanto.

Roberts graduated from California State University, Fullerton and among his many fun facts, Matt grew up an Army BRAT, used to live with a magician, and enjoys everything vintage.

Anthony Edurese

Story Artist, Walt Disney Animation

ANTHONY EDURESE is a Story Artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios. raised in Vancouver, BC, he has worked in the animation industry as a 2D animator, storyboard artist and designer. Edurese joined Disney Animation in 2021 and is currently working on an unannounced project. He looks forward to honing his craft with the guidance of some of the best artists in animation.

Alison Mann

Co-founder and CEO, BRIC Foundation

After spending 17 years working in creative talent recruitment in the entertainment, tech and gaming industry, Alison Mann was inspired to help drive change around how we approach and discuss hiring around diversity. BRIC was launched in 2018 in service to this goal.Alison is also currently VP Creative/Strategy at Sony Pictures Animation where she advises on film and series-based development and focuses specifically on developing global-facing content and dialing up outreach to international talent. Although her main focus is artistic talent acquisitions as a recruiter, she is passionate about guiding students and professionals to become more presentable and better-equipped for the creative job market.

Magdiela Hermida Duhamel

Founder and Co-Director, LatinX in Animation

A production professional in animation, Magdiela champions and advocates for diversity both in front and behind the camera and her true passion is helping open doors into the industry for underrepresented groups. To help achieve this goal, Magdiela founded LatinX in Animation (LXiA), a member organization under the Latino Film Institute created to build a community for Latinx professionals that work in different roles throughout Animation, VFX, and Gaming industries. She currently serves as LXiA’s Co-Director, connecting new and experienced professionals in the entertainment industry.

Monique Henry-Hudson

Co-Founder, Diverse Toons

Monique Henry-Hudson is a production management professional that has worked on several animated feature films. She is also a filmmaker, podcast host and co-founder of DiverseToons, an organization providing discussions from Black professionals about their experiences in the animation industry and the lack of diversity in the industry.

Roger Oda

The Animation Guild 839 People of Color Committee Co-Chair

Roger Oda (he/him) is a fourth generation Japanese American raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. After attending animation programs at UCLA and CalArts he got his foot in the door at Titmouse drawing backgrounds for the Adult Swim show Metalocalypse. He has drawn backgrounds on tv shows such as American Dad, Motorcity, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and most recently Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina. Roger is co-chair of the People of Color Committee in The Animation Guild local 839. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, son, and two dogs.

Lexie Chu

Founder and President, Asians in Animation (AnimAsians)

Lexie Chu is one of the four founders and current President of Asians in Animation, launching the organization in 2020. She currently works at Skydance in Animation Development. Coming from a multi-disciplinary background in international film distribution, marketing, and film production, she started her animation career in global brand strategy and marketing for ZAG Entertainment and Method Studios’s Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. Most recently, she worked at Cartoon Network Studios on The Powerpuff Girls and Tig ‘n’ Seek, in addition to Minions: Rise of Gru, The Secret Life of Pets 2, Sing 2, and several in development features at Illumination and at Netflix where she supported many exciting, new, adventurous kids and family feature films to grace more than 200 million subscribers’ screens soon. Lexie is also the proud founder and first community captain for the Asians@ Netflix Animation employee group. She is always excited to keep supporting new talent and building more opportunities for global storytelling!

Monica Lago-Kaytis

Co-Founder & President, Rise Up Animation

Monica Lago-Kaytis is a Latin-American producer born in Hollywood, CA. She joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1994 for the film POCAHONTAS and continued to work in a wide variety of production roles on traditional, CG and stereoscopic animated films including HERCULES, MEET THE ROBINSONS and THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG. She served as Associate Producer on WRECK-IT RALPH and ZOOTOPIA then made her live-action debut with Netflix’s THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES. Her talent for casting put Kurt Russell at the top of the list for his now iconic performance as Santa Claus. Monica is a co-founder of the non-profit organization Rise Up Animation, which was created as a response to social injustice and inequity. Rise Up Animation provides feedback and guidance for BIPOC individuals around the world who are interested in working in all areas of the animation industry.