Trisha Gum

Trisha Gum is a filmmaker and fine arts artist living in Los Angeles, C.A., she has been working professionally in animation for ten years. Trisha started her film career working as an Art Director and Production Designer on various TV shows, such as, ROBOT CHICKEN, WB’s MAD, and Adult Swim’s FRANKENHOLE.  Trisha transitioned into writing and directing in 2010 and in 2011 she was selected for AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. In 2015, she won an Emmy for her work on AMAZON’s TUMBLE LEAF. She recently wrapped as the Head of Story on Warner Bros THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE and is currently Co-Directing THE LEGO MOVIE SEQUEL.

Trisha Gum (Head of Story, The LEGO Batman Movie) will be joining Chris McKay for the filmmaker Q&A.

Chris McKay

The LEGO Batman Movie – CHRIS McKAY (Director) most recently directed the worldwide box-office hit animated adventure “The LEGO Batman Movie,” the second feature in the LEGO film franchise.  Previously, McKay served as co-director, editor and animation director of the 2014 blockbuster “The LEGO Movie.”  His work as an editor on that film earned him the American Cinema Editors Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film, Animation, as well as an Annie Award nomination for Best Edited Animation Feature Film.

A Chicago native, McKay is the visionary behind numerous television and film programs of critical acclaim.  He is the director, writer and producer behind the award-winning television series “Robot Chicken,” “Titan Maximum” and “Morel Orel.”

McKay has worked as a successful producer, editor and writer for Adult Swim/Cartoon Network.  He has directed more than 50 episodes of “Robot Chicken,” one of the highest rated and critically acclaimed programs on Cartoon Network. Since its premiere, the show has received 14 Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Short-Form Animated Program, Outstanding Voiceover Performance, and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animations, and McKay won the Emmy in 2010 for his work as director. The show has also received five Annie Award nominations and won the award for Best Character Animation in a Television Production in 2008.

As director and a show producer, McKay made “Titan Maximum,” a groundbreaking animated program for Adult Swim that incorporated traditional stop-motion as well as 2D and 3D animation.

Additionally, McKay has been nominated for an Annie Award for Best Directing in an Animated Television Production or Short Form for his work on the darkly comedic “Morel Orel,” created by TV comedy writer Dino Stamatopoulos.

McKay is a regularly featured panelist at Comic-Con International, Wizard World’s Comic-Con Tour, and the Anime Expo.  He currently resides in Los Angeles.


Mind Game

Masaaki Yuasa
Japan · 2004 · 103 min
In Japanese

Buckle in and prepare to surrender yourself to an exhilarating and wildly entertaining ride. Mind Game is a psychedelic explosion of unconstrained expression – gloriously colorful mages ricochet in a cacophony of rapid fire associations that mimic the thought process, like Masaaki Yuasa’s brain splattered onto the screen in all its goopy glory. Audiences will begin to grasp what they are in for early on as loser Nishi, too wimpy to try to save his childhood sweetheart from gangsters, is shot in the butt by a soccer-playing psychopath. The bullet travels through his ass to his brain and beyond, projecting Nishi into the afterlife. In this limbo, God – shown as a series of rapidly changing characters – tells him to walk toward the light. But Nishi runs like hell in the other direction, forestalling death and returning to Earth a changed man, driven to live each moment to the fullest.

Comment: Film depicts violence and sex.

©2004 MIND GAME project

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Songs of Love and Death

A curated collection of adult-oriented short films that speak to the themes of love and death, two topics that provide everlasting inspiration for beautiful, thoughtful, funny, powerful films.  Songs of Love and Death is presented in collaboration between WOMEN IN ANIMATION and ANIMATION IS FILM. 



Kirsten Lepore, USA, 2017, 3 min

It’s okay, you can look at my butt.



Lucette Braune, Netherlands, 2013, 8 min

A young woman struggles through the crowd on the way to the store. As she passes these strangers some leave a mark – but only one leaves a mark that sticks.



Anna Eijsbouts, Netherlands, 2017, 2.5 min.

A stop-motion cutout animated film about the world we live in. Based on an original poem by Neil Gaiman.



Lucrèce Andreae, France, 2017, 15 min

On a windy and cloudy beach, granny is praying, mum is shouting, the sisters don’t care and Lucas is alone. Grandpa was a weird guy, and now he’s dead.



Sandra Desmazieres, France, 2011, 11.5 min

Bao loves taking the train with his sister. It’s the highlight of his day.  But after today, nothing will ever be the same.



Alexandra Hetmerova, Czech Republic, 2013, 11.5 min

Single mom Medusa is dating a creepy Satyr, while little Minotaur makes friends with a sweet-hearted Cyclops.



Yoko Kuno, Japan, 2013, 5.5 min

In a hospital, an ethereal connection between nurse and patient triggers a strange transformation.



Iria Lopez, Spain, 2012, 8 min

As the only pig in a human family, José has trouble fitting in. But after an encounter with the neighbor next door, he begins to come to terms with who he really is.



Celeste Lai & Peyton Skyler, USA/Taiwan, 2014, 3 min

A short animation about the meaning of life.



Max Porter & Ru Kuwahata, USA, 2017, 5 min 30 sec

My dad taught me how to pack.



Sonia Gerbeaud & Mathias de Panafieu, France/Belgium, 2014, 10 min

In an isolated village, a little girl befriends a pack of coyotes. When the villagers come for the coyotes, they don’t expect the girl to be close behind.

Outlandish Lands

Once upon a time cartoons weren’t just for kids. In the days before the Hays Code and Saturday morning television, a darker and more libidinous version of the art form thrived side by side with live action. Unconstrained by reality, cartoons could be portals to worlds of impossible landscapes filled with bizarre and semi-unhinged characters, where plots played out like Freudian nightmares, as if the movies were projections of the filmmakers’ own latent fears and desires. Talking eggs, mirrors with arms, graves that grow mouths to suck in the living, death, carnality, shapeshifting hobgoblins, dada absurdity, and everything undulating and bouncing to jazz and swing beats.

In this surreal selection from Ub Iwerks, Fleisher Studios, and Warner Brothers and others, a comely Easter egg goes spooning in a spoon, Willie Whopper takes a nitrous oxide-induced trip into space, Porky Pig pursues a maniacal dodo through a Dali-esque topography, Cab Calloway moonwalks with demons to a funereal “St James Infirmary”, and Betty Boop slinks and cavorts (as only Betty can) with a lecherous old mountain man.

Outlandish Lands was curated by Jerry Beck and Greg Ford in collaboration with ANIMATION IS FILM.


Night Is Short, Walk On Girl

Masaaki Yuasa
Japan · 2018 · 92 min
In Japanese

Night is Short, Walk on Girl takes place over the course of one strange night as a nameless young woman, known only as “the girl with black hair,” walks the streets of Kyoto and experiences a series of surreal encounters and odd characters, drinking middle-aged salarymen under the table, exploring an all-night used bookstore with a bird goblin, helping a guerilla theater company express their feelings… all the while unaware of the romantic longings of Senpai, a fellow student who has been creating increasingly fantastic and contrived reasons to run into her, in an effort to win her heart.

The perfect “I guess it’s romantic?” comedy for the modern age, Night is Short is a celebration of the unconventional, confusing routes that love and life can take.

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Tehran Taboo

Ali Soozandeh
Germany/Austria · 2017 · 96 min
In Persian with English Subtitles · Recommended ages 17 to adult

The lives of three strong-willed women and a young musician cross paths in Tehran’s schizophrenic society where sex, corruption and drugs coexist with strict religious laws and patriarchal traditions. In this bustling modern metropolis, breaking taboos can be a means of personal emancipation, especially for women. By using animation, the film offers just enough distance to explore provocative subject matter without salaciousness, while the rotoscoping of real actors injects authentic human emotion and reminds the viewer that what is depicted is very real. In this way expat Iranian filmmaker Ali Soozandeh skates a thin edge to bring to life a story that would be difficult to tell by any other means.

Comment: Film depicts sexual situations, drug use, and adult themes

Film was also selected as feature film in competition at Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2017

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Mary and The Witch’s Flower

Hiromasa Yonebayashi · Yoshiaki Nishimura
Japan · 2018
In Japanese

Based on the 1971 children’s novel The Little BroomstickMary and The Witch’s Flower is an all-ages action fantasy adventure that hearkens back to some of the most beloved animated films of all time, full of ingenious characters, jaw-dropping imaginative worlds, and the simple, heartfelt story of a young girl trying to figure her place in the world.

Mary is a plain, young girl, stuck in a rural British village with her Great-Aunt Charlotte and seemingly no adventures or friends in sight. But a chance encounter with a pair of mysterious cats leads Mary into the nearby forest, where she finds an old broom stuck in the overgrowth of a nearby tree, and the strange blue glow of the fly-by-night flower, a rare plant that blossoms only once every seven years. As the broom comes to life and lifts Mary high into the skies, she discovers a mysterious school for witches above the clouds. But the charming headmistress Madam Mumblechook and bumbling Doctor Dee are not all that they appear, in a twisting tale that reveals even the most ordinary-seeming children are capable of the most extraordinary adventures.

Featuring the voices of Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent, and Ruby Barnhill.

Press reviews:



A big, animated film that give you chills with a perfect combination of visuals, music and emotion. It’s a fun, family friendly adventure that dives deep into your heart and plants its own flower.  You can’t help but fall in love with it.

 — io9



There’s no shortage of fantastical invention to marvel at in Mary and the Witch’s Flower, a whimsical, winsome world… the wondrous hallways and classrooms, glinting gemstones, magical artifacts, and strange magical creatures always introducing a new moment of awe.

  — Collider 

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Lu Over the Wall

Masaaki Yuasa
Japan · 2018 · 112 min
In Japanese

From visionary anime auteur Masaaki Yuasa, who takes over the festival this year with two other selections – the new rom-com Night is Short, Walk on Girl and outré classic Mind Game – comes a hallucinogenic-but-family-friendly take on the classic fairy tale of the little mermaid who falls in love with mankind, and then comes ashore to join a dysfunctional middle school rock band and propel them to fame.

New kid Kai is talented but adrift, spending his days sulking and isolated in a small fishing village after his family moves from Tokyo. When he demonstrates a proficiency at making music on his synthesizer, his classmates invite him to join their nascent garage band, but their practice sessions soon bring an unexpected guest: Lu, a young mermaid whose fins turn to feet when she hears the beats, and whose singing causes humans to compulsively dance – whether they want to or not. Winner of the grand prize at Annecy, Lu Over the Wall is a toe-tapping, feel-good demonstration of Yuasa’s genre-mixing mastery that will leave you humming long after you leave the theater.

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The LEGO Batman Movie

Chris McKay · Trisha Gum
USA · 2017 · 116 min
In English

“From the moment Lego Batman (Will Arnett) shouts ‘Wanna get nuts?!’ at his arch supervillain the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) – a nod to Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film – the family-friendly animated superhero comedy maniacally blisters the screen with loving homages to past Bat-flicks, wacky baddies, wickedly clever references (including a great jab at Marvel) and one very unsubtle message: Don’t be a jerk, be a pal.” – USA Today 

Recommended ages 5 to adult

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Big Fish and Begonia

Xuan Liang · Chun Zhang
China · 2016
In English · Recommended ages 8 to adult

In development for over a decade, this mind-blowing animated feature surpasses any toon China has produced to date in terms of sheer beauty and imagery – a procession of enormous whales swim through the skies, a tentacled creature ferries a girl across a sea of clouds, feline porters walk on their hind legs – while weaving a surreal and complex tale informed by Chinese myths and motifs. In a hidden world within our world, celestial beings are in charge of the tide and the changing of the seasons. One of these beings, a young girl named Chun, transforms into a dolphin as part of a coming-of-age ritual and enters the human world she has always longed to explore. When she falls into danger, a human boy named Kun saves her life, but gives up his own in the process. With the help of her childhood friend Qiu, Chun tries to revive Kun’s spirit in order to thank him for saving her.

Film also selected as feature film in competition at Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2017

WORLD PREMIERE (English Language Version)
In English
Xuan Liang & Chun Zhang, China, 2016, 105 min
Recommended ages 8 to adult

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Disney • Pixar’s The Incredibles

John Walker
USA · 2004 · 116 min
In English

Brad Bird, USA, 2004, 116 min
In English

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Directors Q&A, West Coast Premiere

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children

October 21, 2017 4:15 pm
Sold Out


Birdboy: The Forgotten Children

Alberto Vázquez
Spain · 2017
In Spanish

There is light and beauty, even in the darkest of worlds. Winner of Spain’s Goya Award for Best Animated Feature, Alberto Vázquez’s first feature is a darkly comic, mind-bending fantasy based on his own graphic novel and award winning short film. Striking graphic imagery brings to life a discordant world populated by adorable (and adorably disturbed) animated critters, searching for hope and love amid the ruin. Stranded on an island in a post-apocalyptic world, teenager Dinky and her friends hatch a dangerous plan to escape in the hope of finding a better life. Meanwhile, her old friend Birdboy has shut himself off from the world, pursued by the police and haunted by demon tormentors. But unbeknownst to anyone, he contains a secret inside him that could change the world forever.

Film also selected as feature film in competition at Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2016

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Japan · 2017 · 90 min
In Japanese with English Subtitles

Producer Genki Kawamura follows up his mega-hit Your Name with another tale of star-crossed teenage lovers with a sci-fi fantasy twist.

Two junior high school pals, the shy Norimichi and fast-talking Yusuke, are goo-goo-eyed over the same elusive classmate, Nazuna. But Nazuna, unhappy over her mother’s decision to remarry and leave their countryside town, plans to run away and has silently chosen Norimichi to accompany her. When things don’t go as planned, Norimichi discovers that a glowing multi-color ball Nazuna found in the sea has the power to reset the clock and give them a second chance to be together. But each reset adds new complications and takes them father away from the real world – until they risk losing sight of reality altogether.

Fireworks tells a simple story of adolescent longing that taps deep wells of emotion. It is tale of vulnerability and youthful wistfulness, of missed opportunities and long-ago dreams, the urgency of young lovers, and the desire to create a separate universe, a magic place outside of time, where they can be together.

Recommended ages 11 to Adult

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Santiago Caicedo


Santiago Caicedo (1976) is a Colombian artist and filmmaker. His work, difficult to label, revolves around motion graphics, animation, stereoscopy, video art and film. His short films have participated in numerous festivals around the world, including Annecy, Clermont Ferrand and SIGGRAPH, and have received many international awards. Caicedo’s work enhances graphics and fantasy in a unique style where he vanishes all references to common times or places and takes us away on trips to strange worlds.



Powerpaola is a nomadic artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She was born in Quito, Ecuador in1977 and has lived in Colombia, France, Australia and Argentina. She has participated in residencies at La Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris; Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney. She was awarded the project “En Vitrina” at Sin Lugar a Dudas, Cali. For 14 days she was in a glass box drawing what she saw outside. She is the author of books like Virus Tropical, La Madremonte (written by Enrique Lozano) Por Dentro / Inside, Diario de Powerpaola, Costuras (written by Alejandro Martín), and  Sandiliche (written by Ronaldo Bressane). She currently lives and works Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Virus Tropical

Santiago Caicedo
Colombia · 2017 · 90 min
In Spanish with English subtitles · Recommended ages 14+

Adapted from the graphic novel memoir by Colombian-Ecuadorian cartoonist Power Paola, Virus Tropical is a thoughtful and deeply affecting coming-of-age story that begins on the night Paola is conceived – in a stylized but anatomically complete sequence that sets the tone for the film’s matter-of-fact exploration of sexuality and family – and ends with her striking out on her own as a young adult. Over the intervening years we accompany Paola, the youngest of three daughters raised by a mostly single mom, as she gropes and fumbles her way through friendships, new schools, clunky romances, and various domestic dramas. Scrappy DIY black and white animation and lo-fi Latin-indie score lend a lovingly idiosyncratic charm to a film that brings forth a unique and utterly refreshing girl’s POV perspective. By the end you have formed a gentle intimacy with this family and are happy to have spent time together.

Comment: Film contains frank depictions of nudity, sex, childbirth, and recreational drug use.

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Arthur de Pins · Alexis Ducord
France · 2017 · 78 min
In French with English Subtitles · Recommended ages 8 to Adult

Award winning artist/author/cartoonist Arthur de Pins turns his hit graphic novel series into a stylish first animated feature, in which vampires, witches and zombies hide in plain sight by working at a horror-themed amusement park. The park is built over a gateway to hell and stocked with delightfully ghoulish characters such as blood-sucking CEO Francis von Bloodt, tattooed, spell-casting, teen skater-witch Gretchen and the swooningly handsome but vain Steven, heart-throb leader of the sexy “Twilight”-style vampires, who have a plan to banish the zombies and other less attractive creatures and take the park over for themselves. Despite all the undead, this Cannes Film Festival premiere is a family-friendly affair, more “Thriller” than Freddie Krueger, and features music by euro-rockers Skip the Use and an original score by Eric Neveux.

Film also screened and selected as feature film in competition at Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2017

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Director Q&A, US Premiere

The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales

October 21, 2017 1:30 pm
Sold Out


The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales

Benjamin Renner · Patrick Imbert
France · 2018
In France

Benjamin Renner follows up his delightful, Oscar®-nominated Ernest & Celestine with a lively trio of hand-drawn cartoons about life on an animal farm, adapted from his own acclaimed graphic novel about a fox who struggles to live up to his reputation as a carnivore. Failing miserably at stealing chickens, he swipes three eggs instead. But after sitting on them patiently in the hopes of a meal, the newly hatched chicks cling to the fox and call him mommy. Despite his hunger he can’t quite bring himself to eat the infants he’s falling in love with. Other characters include a duck who has no idea how to swim, a lizard who speaks Mandarin, a stork who is too lazy to deliver babies, and if you wait for the end credits, a grumpy frog janitor modelled on the film’s multi-Academy Award®-nominated producer Didier Brunner. Throughout it all, Renner’s trademark warmth and visual humor is in full effect, in this entertaining, truly all-ages film that manages to be smart, charming, and laugh-out-loud funny without even a whiff of cynicism.

Film also screened at Annecy International Animation Festival 2017

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Three Snow Whites

Animation is Film is thrilled to open our first edition with a special anniversary screening of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the film that started it all and after 80 years, a still-unrivaled achievement in filmmaking. In this epic story of love and friendship, the kind and beautiful princess Snow White wins the hearts of Dopey, Grumpy, Doc and the other dwarves and triumphs over the evil plans of her wicked stepmother Queen. As the very first feature film from Walt Disney Animation Studios it established the studio as a powerhouse of creativity, innovation, and storytelling, and blazed a trail for everything that has come since.

A different take on the Grimm’s fairytale, Max Fleisher’s Betty Boop in Snow-White from 1933, a darkly surreal one reeler featuring Koko the Clown moonwalking to Cab Calloway’s minor blues St. James Infirmary, will be shown prior to the feature, as well as Lotte Reiniger’s Snow White and Rose Red, a entirely different story rendered in Reiniger’s distinct animation.

Introduction by legendary animator Andreas Deja.


Guillaume Renard · Shojiro Nishimi
France/Japan · 2017 · 90 min
In English · Recommended ages 17+

Genre-mashup MFKZ is the collaboration of French comic artist Guillaume “Run” Renard and ultra-hip Japanese animation house Studio 4°C, creators of TekkonkinkreetGenius Party and Mind Game. The Tekkonkinkreet dream team of Shojiro Nishimi and art director Shinji Kimura reunite to bring to life a dark but stunningly animated sci-fi vision that mixes anime, film noir, and Lucha Libre in an orgy of video game-inspired mayhem.

The film centers on young Angelino and his skull-and-flame pal Vinz, who live in a seedy tenement in an LA-inspired dystopian metropolis – a burnt-out, gang and cockroach-ridden neo-urban hell. Following a scooter accident Angelino starts experiencing migraines and strange hallucinations, as well as fits of rage-inspired superpowers, as he slowly awakens to the truth of his origins: he is half-human and half-Macho, a supernatural alien race that is bent on taking over the planet.

Comment: contains graphic violence, adult language as well as potentially offensive language and depictions of race and gender characterizations

Film also screened at Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2017

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The Breadwinner

Nora Twomey
Ireland/Canada/Luxembourg · 2017 · 93 min
In English

The Secret of Kells co-director Nora Twomey breathes life into this extraordinary story of 11-year-old Parvana, who finds strength in the love of her family and the power of storytelling. In Taliban-controlled Kabul, women and girls are not permitted to leave the house unescorted, to earn money, or to shop for food and supplies in the market. So when her father is unfairly imprisoned, Parvana cuts off her hair and dresses as a boy to become her family’s sole breadwinner, experiencing a new freedom she has never known as a girl. With war approaching, Parvana does everything she can to support her family, while trying desperately to help free her father. Meanwhile, as her world tumbles into chaos, she tells stories to her little brother, to her friend Shauzia, and to herself, as a source of strength and hope.

Film also screened as work-in-progress at Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2017

A Special Offer from our friends at Ireland Week! Use AIFCONF2017 to access discounted tickets to Ireland Week, where you can see Breadwinner director Nora Twomey on a special animation panel.

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Arthur de Pins


Arthur de Pins is a renowned French illustrator known for his diverse comic book series Guilty Pleasure (Péchés mignons), The March of the Crabs and Zombillénium. He has made several animated shorts, including Géraldine, which won twenty different prizes, including Best Graduation Film at Annecy 2001, and The Crab Revolution, which garnered him with 45 international prizes including the Audience Award at Annecy 2004.

Alexis Ducord


Storyboard artist, illustrator and director, Alexis Ducord graduated from Gobelins, l’école de l’image in 2000. He has directed three animated series and collaborated on over twenty, including Lili’s Island and CO2. He also worked on the feature films Go West, a Lucky Luke Adventure and April and the Extradordinary World (Cristal for a Feature Film at Annecy 2015)

Ali Soozandeh


Director Ali Soozandeh was born in 1970 in Shiraz Iran. He studied Art in Tehran. After emigrating to Germany, he had his diploma in Media Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne. He founded his own company Cartoona- moon and was involved in many feature/documentary films and TV-series as an animation specialist. He also directed a number of music videos and short films before he filming his feature debut Tehran Taboo. Ali’s credits as head of animation include, among others, the animated documentaries The Green Wave (2010), Grimme Prize winner for Best Documentary, and in competition at Sundance Film Festival and Camp 14 (2012), and at Locarno and Toronto International Film Festivals.

Shojiro Nishimi


Shojiro Nishimi is a director of animated films known for his realistic productions and spectacular action scenes. His use of original characters with distinctive proportions immediately attracts his viewers’ attention, and his unique, delicate universe is the culmination of his artistic brilliance. He worked as director of animation on Tekkonkinkreet, which was rewarded Best Animated Film at the Japanese Academy.

Guillaume Renard


The work Guillaume Renard, aka Run, falls within a modern approach blending stylized drawings, pulp references and strong urban culture. His first animated short Operation Blackhead (selected at Sundance, 2003) was a precursor to the Mutafukaz universe. In 2006, Ankama Editions published the first volume of Mutafukaz and in 2008 Run created Label 619, a literary collection of comics and artbooks with urban-inspired designs and vintage pop culture references.

Yoshiaki Nishimura

Born in Tokyo, 1977. Founder, Studio Ponoc. In 2002, Nishimura joined Studio Ghibli after returning from his studies in the United States. He was involved in the promotions of Howl’s Moving Castle (2002), Tales from Earthsea (2006) and Ponyo (2008).

He was the Advertising Producer of Le Roi et l’Oiseau (The King and the Mockingbird) and Cheburashka, two foreign animated films distributed domestically by Studio Ghibli in 2006 and 2008 respectively.

He received an Academy Award® nomination for his first feature film as a producer, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013), directed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata. The Academy Award®-nominated When Marnie Was There was the second film for Nishimura, in which he reprised his role as producer. In 2017 his new studio, Studio Ponoc, released Mary and The Witch’s Flower, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi.

Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Hiromasa Yonebayashi


Born in 1973 in Ishikawa-ken, Japan, Hiromasa Yonebayashi studied design at the Kanazawa College of Art. During college, he worked part-time drawing caricatures and working on animation for television commercials. In 1996 Yonebayashi joined Studio Ghibli and worked as an animator on Princess Mononoke (1997) and My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999), and as Key Animator for Spirited Away (2001), The GHIBLIES (2002), Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) and Ponyo (2008). He was also the Assistant Supervising Animator for Tales from Earthsea (2006).

Besides working on Ghibli’s animated features, Yonebayashi has worked on the original short films for the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka. He was the Directing Animator for the Ghibli Museum’s Mei and the Baby Cat Bus (2002), and the Supervising Animator for Imaginary Flying Machines (2002) and he was also responsible for creating the storyboards and directing Evolution (2008), a short film documenting one of the Ghibli Museum’s attractions, the Films Go Round display.

Yonebayashi made his debut as the director of a feature animated film with Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty (2010), the top grossing domestic film of that year and the highest grossing Studio Ghibli film in the US. After working as a Key Animator on From Up on Poppy Hill (2011) and The Wind Rises (2013), Yonebayashi’s second feature animated film When Marnie Was There was nominated for an Academy Award © for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year in 2016.

Masaaki Yuasa

Masaaki Yuasa is a Japanese animation director, scriptwriter, designer, and CEO of Science SARU. After graduating Kyushu Sangyo University’s majored Fine Arts, he joined Ajia-do (an animation studio in Tokyo) and became a key animator for the anime TV show Chibi Maruko-chan, he also did the animation for the first opening, Full of Dreams, and the ending, Dancing Pompokolin. After becoming freelance, he did the background set design and key animation for the Crayon Shin-chan movies. He also wrote the script for his first directorial work, the 2004 Mind Game, which won the Animation Division Grand Prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival put on by the Agency for Cultural Affairs Japan, as well many other awards. He would go on to direct his first original TV anime, Kemonozume (2006) as well as the 2010 The Tatami Galaxy, based off a book by Tomihiko Morimi, both of which won many awards.

In 2014, he also directed, wrote the script, and did storyboarding for Food Chain, an episode of the popular American TV series Adventure Time. This episode was popular enough that he was nominated for the Director’s Award (TV Division) at the American Annie Awards. Lu Over the Wall (2017) is his latest film and it won Cristal for a Feature Film at Annecy International Animation Film Festival.

John Walker


Producer John Walker brings a diverse background to his role at Pixar Animation Studios; including live theater, animation, and live action production. Prior to coming to Pixar, Walker served as Associate Producer for Warner Bros. Osmosis Jones and The Iron Giant, during which he began his association with Brad Bird. Upon joining Pixar in August 2000, Walker worked with Bird as the Producer of the Academy Award® winning feature The Incredibles. He most recently served as an Executive Producer for Disney’s Tomorrowland, also directed by Bird. Walker is currently working as Producer on the upcoming Pixar project, Incredibles 2.

Born in Elgin, Illinois, Walker studied English at the University of Notre Dame. After graduating, he continued his education at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco before returning to Chicago. There he pursued a theatre career which included a seven-year stint as Managing Director at the Tony Award®-winning Victory Gardens Theatre where he produced over 30 new plays.

Walker also served as President of the League of Chicago Theatres for three years; as General Manager of the Royal George Theatre; Managing Director of Peninsula Players Theatre; and as General Manager for Cullen, Henaghan & Platt, a commercial theatre producing partnership. Walker co-produced John Logan’s Hauptmann  at New York’s Off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theatre before moving his career into feature films at Warner Bros.

Nora Twomey

As a co-founder and Creative Director at Cartoon Saloon, Nora Twomey oversees the development of the company’s slate of productions, such as Puf n Rock, the preschool series narrated by Chris O’Dowd and acquired by Netflix.

Nora directed the multiple-award-winning short films From Darkness, and Cúilín Dualach (Backwards Boy), and was co-director of Cartoon Saloon’s Academy Award®-nominated animated feature The Secret of Kells. She then served as Head of Story on the company’s second feature, Song of the Sea, which was also nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature.

Pedro Rivero


Producer, director and screenwriter. Screenwriter for several TV animated series and for the feature film Goomer, Goya Award for the Best Spanish Animated Feature Film 1999. Producer, director and screenwriter of La Crisis Carnívora (2007), the first Spanish feature film in Flash animation for theatres, and Birdboy (2010), Goya Award for the Best Spanish Animated Short Film, preselected for the Academy Awards (longlist), with more than 40 awards and 200 selections in film festivals.

Rivero was President of the Basque Screenwriters Guild 2002-2008. He is an author of theatrical plays and comic books.

Filmography as Director and Producer:

PSICONAUTAS, LOS NIÑOS OLVIDADOS (2015). Animated feature film.

BIRDBOY (2010). Animated short film.

LA CRISIS CARNIVORA (Animal Crisis, 2007). Animated feature film.

Other Works as Screenwriter and Producer:

UNICORN BLOOD (2013). Animated short film.

Alberto Vázquez

Alberto Vázquez is an animation director, illustrator and cartoonist. His books and comics have been published in countries like Spain, France, Italy, Brazil and Korea. He has written and directed short animation such as Birdboy, Ramiro, sucia rata, Unicorn Blood and Decorado. His work has been nominated on two occasions for the Goya Awards, winning the Goya Best Animated Short Film in 2012. He has won over 80 awards in international events and his works have been exhibited in prestigious festivals worldwide as Cannes, Toronto, Annecy, Clermond-Ferrand, Animafest Zagreb and Slamdance. He just finished his first featured film Psiconautas, los niños olvidados based on his graphic with the same name.

Chun Zhang


Born in Ningbo, China in 1983, Chun Zhang is a filmmaker, animator and photographer. He studied Multimedia Art at the Academy of Arts & Design at Tsinghua University, where he co-founded the B&T Studio with his friend Xuan Liang. In May 2004, he and Liang made a short called Big Fish & Begonia and in 2007, they finished a 30-minute short called Swallowtail Butterfly, which won several awards in China.

Xuan Liang


Born in Liuzhou, China in 1982, Xuan Liang is an animation filmmaker and scriptwriter. In 2003, he left Tsinghua University to co-found the B&T Studio with his friend Chun Zhang, with dreams of making China’s best animation films. After that, they made a short called Big Fish & Begonia, which made quite a buzz at the time. In 2007, their short animation film Swallowtail Butterfly won three of China’s most prestigious animation awards.

Patrick Imbert

After graduating from Gobelins, l’école de l’image, Patrick Imbert worked as an animator on several feature films. He later became animation director on the feature Ernest & Celestine, where he met Benjamin Renner. After this fruitful collaboration, they decided to continue working together.

Benjamin Renner


After studying Fine Arts, Benjamin Renner went on to study Animation at La Poudriere, where he directed A Mouse’s Tale. After graduating, he was hired as Artistic Director for the feature film Ernest & Celestine, which he also co-directed with Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier. The film was nominated for an Academy Award© for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year in 2014. Benjamin has a comic blog where he started creating A Baby to Deliver and The Big Bad Fox.

Anne Thompson

Born and raised in New York, IndieWire Editor at Large Anne Thompson has been a contributor to the New York Times, Washington Post, The Observer, and Wired. She has served as film columnist at Variety, and deputy editor of, where her daily blog, “Thompson on Hollywood,” launched in March 2007. Anne was the Deputy Film Editor at The Hollywood Reporter, the West Coast Editor of Premiere, a Senior Writer at Entertainment Weekly, and West Coast Editor for Film Comment. She wrote the film industry column “Risky Business” for L.A. Weekly and the Los Angeles Times syndicate. A graduate of the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University, she has taught film criticism at USC and hosts the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.

Brenda Chapman

Brenda Chapman started her career as a story artist at Walt Disney Feature Animation in 1987, where she worked on films such as The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, the Oscar nominated Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Fantasia 2000. Chapman was the story supervisor on The Lion King, for which she won the Annie Award.

Chapman then helped launch DreamWorks Animation Studios, where she co-directed the 1998 release of the Oscar winning Prince of Egypt. Chapman was the first woman to direct an animated feature for a major Hollywood studio, for which she won the Movieguide Epiphany and Teddy Awards.

She joined Pixar Animation Studios in September 2003 as a senior story artist on Cars. Chapman then created, wrote and directed Brave – inspired by her relationship with her own daughter – for which she won an Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.

Other awards include the Novus Creative Catalyst Award, the 2013 Burbank International Film Festival’s Feature Animation Honoree Award and the San Francisco International Women’s Film Festival Achievement Award.

Chapman has helped to develop and consult on films for several studios over many years which include not only Disney, DreamWorks and Pixar, but also Universal, Sony, Lucasfilm and Fox.

Currently, Chapman is writing, directing and producing several projects in different stages of development. She has been engaged to write and direct a Chinese financed/American made feature-animated film – working title Truth for Truth Pictures and is attached to direct Come Away, a live action film written by Marissa Goodhill. She is also collaborating on a hybrid script, working title The Touch, with her husband, director Kevin Lima (Enchanted, A Goofy Movie, Disney’s Tarzan).

Carolyn Giardina

Carolyn Giardina is Tech Editor at The Hollywood Reporter and writes its Behind the Screen blog. Her work as an editor, reporter or columnist has also appeared in titles such as CinemaEditor, SHOOT, British Cinematographer and SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal . She’s co-author of Exploring 3D: The New Grammar of Stereoscopic Filmmaking (Focal Press, 2012). In 2015, Carolyn was presented American Cinema Editors’ Robert Wise Award, which recognizes a journalist for contributions to film editing. She was the 2011 recipient of the International Cinematographers Guild’s Technicolor William A. Fraker Award for journalistic contributions to cinematography.

Peter Debruge

Variety’s Chief International Film Critic, Peter is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin’s film studies program. Prior to Variety, he spent four years working as an editor for AOL Moviefone. In addition to hundreds of reviews for the Austin Chronicle, Miami Herald and Premiere, his writing on film has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Life, Creative Screenwriting, Backstory and IndieWire. Peter also contributed to the book Variety’s The Movie That Changed My Life.

Mabel Tam

Mabel Tam is VP/Head Film Buyer of LANDMARK THEATRES. Landmark Theatres is the nation’s largest theatre chain dedicated to exhibiting and marketing independent film. A 16 year veteran of the entertainment industry, she is a graduate of UCLA and resides in LA with her family.

Jorge R. Gutiérrez

Jorge R. Gutiérrez is a painter, writer and director born in Mexico City and raised in Tijuana. Gutierrez has completed various films, cartoons, and paintings exploring his love of Mexican pop and folk culture. He and his wife Sandra Equihua created the multiple Emmy Award-winning animated television series, “El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera” for Nickelodeon, and he most recently co-wrote and directed “The Book of Life” for Reel FX and 20th Century Fox, which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film

Charles Solomon

An internationally respected critic and historian of animation, Charles Solomon has written on the subject for the New York Times, Newsweek (Japan), Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, Variety, the Manchester Guardian, and National Public Radio. His books include “The Art of Frozen,” “The Art of the Disney Golden Books,” “The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey,” “Tale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Disney’s Animated Classic Beauty and the Beast,” “The Art of Toy Story 3,” “Enchanted Drawings: The History of Animation”.

Bonnie Arnold

A leading force in imaginative storytelling, Bonnie Arnold is a prolific film producer whose work spans myriad genres, and appeals to multiple generations. Bonnie is a Golden Globe winner, and an Academy Award® nominee. For the past two and a half years, Bonnie served as President / Co President of Feature Animation at DreamWorks Animation, overseeing an impressive slate that included such recent successes as “Kung Fu Panda 3,” “Trolls,” and “The Boss Baby”. She is currently serving as a producer on the upcoming “How To Train Your Dragon 3,” set for release in 2019, in addition to the film adaptation of Cressida Cowell’s upcoming book series “The Wizards of Once”.

Bonnie produced the critically acclaimed “How to Train Your Dragon” and its sequel, “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” based on the popular books series (also by Cressida Cowell). Bonnie championed the story of Hiccup and Toothless from the start and was instrumental in bringing the successful franchise to screen. Both films were nominated for Academy Awards®, and received multiple nominations from the HFPA, PGA and BFCA, in addition to winning numerous awards and accolades from ASIFA-Hollywood (the Annies) and the Visual Effects Society. “How to Train Your Dragon 2” won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature and was the top-grossing animated of 2014, with a global box office exceeding $620 million.

The combined global revenue for Bonnie’s film producing efforts throughout her career reaches over $2.2 billion at the box office.

An accomplished filmmaker in almost every genre, Bonnie’s credits range from producing Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Last Station,” which garnered two Academy Award® nominations, as well as nominations from the Screen Actors Guild; the HFPA; and the Independent Spirit Awards, including a nomination for Best Picture — to Disney’s history-making beloved animated feature sensation, “Toy Story.” In addition Bonnie produced DreamWorks Animation’s 2006 animated comedy “Over the Hedge,” and Disney’s animated blockbuster “Tarzan.”

Bonnie’s previous production credits span a broad range, including the Oscar®-winning epic western “Dances with Wolves” and the hit comedy “The Addams Family.”

Her first entertainment industry job as unit publicist for American Playhouse’s debut production, “King Of America” quickly led to a variety of assignments including Neil Simon’s “The Slugger’s Wife” and Peter Weir’s “The Mosquito Coast”. Her hard work led to her being noticed by Columbia Pictures’ David Picker and resulted in an opportunity to move to Hollywood where she continued to gain producing experience on films such as “Hero” starring Dustin Hoffman, “The Mighty Quinn” with Denzel Washington and REVENGE with Kevin Costner.

Amidst the breadth of her career, Bonnie has also maintained an interest in educating future generations. She serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board of Boston University’s School of Communications and on the Board of Counselors at USC’s Annenberg School of Communications, as well as being a mentor for the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC. In addition, she is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Allison Abbate

Allison Abbate is an executive vice president at Warner Animation Group (WAG), a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment. Prior to assuming her post at WAG, Abbate was an executive producer on the global blockbuster The LEGO® Movie, written and directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord; and a producer on Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie and Corpse Bride, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Brad Bird’s directorial debut, Iron Giant.

The many honors earned by The LEGO Movie include a BAFTA Award, New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) Award for Best Animated Feature, a Golden Globe nomination, and placing second in the balloting from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA). Corpse Bride was nominated for an Oscar and BAFTA Award; Fantastic Mr. Fox earned Oscar, BAFTA Award and Golden Globe nominations, and won the NYFCC’s and LAFCA’s Awards for Best Animated Feature; and Abbate earned a BAFTA Award for The Iron Giant.

Her additional credits include producing the animation for Looney Tunes: Back in Action, co-producing the Academy Award-nominated Mickey Mouse short Runaway Brain, and co-producing Space Jam, which broke new ground by combining classic animated Warner Bros. characters with live action sequences.

Abbate began her career working on several of Disney’s most beloved animated films, including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Rescuers Down Under and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.