Jade Seaberry

Jade Seaberry in 2011 received her Masters of Arts in Integrated Marketing and Media, and has previously received her Bachelors in Public Relations and Advertising from the University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT. Jade was born and raised in Queens, NY and is an only child. Seaberry was a partner at the PR firm Cordelia Donovan Inc. from May 2010 until she opened DiverseToons in 2018. 

Ms. Seaberry has produced multiple independent film projects; including the NY TImes Summer Festival play My Sister’s Keeper which received rave reviews. In 2018 at Blerd City Con after hearing the audience on the state of the Animation industry during the Q&A at the Black in Animation panel, knew the conversation needed to continue and DiverseToons was born. What started out as panels around the Tri-State area grew to Comic-Con International stages and corporate partnerships. Ultimately she’s always wanted to show kids of color they exist at all levels in the Animation Industry through DiverseToons panels. Now she wants to give them as many tools as possible to make them one step closer to that dream job or institution. For more information feel free to reach out to Jade at diversetoons@gmail.com

Frank Gladstone

Frank Gladstone has been working as a professional animator, producer, director, writer and teacher for more than 45 years. From 1973 to 1989, he managed his own Emmy award-winning studio, Persistence of Vision, producing commercials and educational films, and has since held management positions at Disney, Warner Brothers and DreamWorks, among others. He is currently the executive director of ASIFA-Hollywood, the world’s largest honorary animation association, is the executive producer of the animation industry’s annual Annie Awards, and the CEO of Gladstone Film, consulting for animation studios and productions worldwide.

Additionally, Frank teaches animation history at CalState Long Beach and continues to teach about animation, story structure, production techniques and cinematic fundamentals at studios, secondary schools, colleges and professional guilds in North America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. He recently directed the independent feature THE HERO OF COLOR CITY, has been Artist-in-Residence for the ACME Network, served on the board of directors of the Visual Effects Society and has been a commissioner and past chair of the City of Glendale Arts and Culture Commission.

Maureen Fan

CEO and Co-Founder of Baobab Studios

Maureen Fan is CEO & Co-Founder of 9-time Emmy-award winning and leading independent interactive animation studio Baobab Studios, whose mission is to “Bring out your sense of wonder. Inspire you to dream. Make YOU matter.”  Named Fast Company’s 2018 Most Innovative Company, Baobab has released Invasion!, Asteroids!, Jack, Crow: The Legend, Bonfire, Baba Yaga and Namoo all to commercial and critical acclaim. 

Baobab’s most recent release, Oscar®-nominated Namoo, was acquired by Warner 150 and is now streaming exclusively on HBO Max. Namoo won the 2022 Annie Award for Best Special Production and was named Best Animated Short from the 2022 Gold List Awards. 

Recently the studio announced a deal with Disney+ to develop an animated anthology series called THE WITCHVERSE, based on the Emmy-winning VR short film, BABA YAGA.

Maureen has held leadership roles in film, gaming and the consumer web. She was most recently vice president of games at Zynga, where she oversaw three game studios including the FarmVille’s, which contributed 40 percent of the company’s revenues. Maureen was also named one of ‘The Most Creative People of the Year’ by Ad Age and more recently Variety crowned her as one the execs to watch.

Christina Steinberg

Christina Steinberg is a producer at Sony Pictures Animation. She most recently produced the studio’s 2018 Academy Award®-winning feature, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and is currently working as producer on the highly-anticipated sequel, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” set to debut in theaters in June 2023.

Prior to joining Sony, Steinberg worked at DreamWorks Animation for 12 years where she produced “Trollhunters,” a Netflix Original series created and directed by Guillermo del Toro. Steinberg also served as the executive producer for “Bee Movie” alongside Jerry Seinfeld, and “Rise of the Guardians,” which both received numerous Best Animated Feature nominations from various organizations including the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Producers Guild of America and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Steinberg began her entertainment career as a production creative executive for Touchstone Pictures and rose to the role of senior vice president of production. At Touchstone, Steinberg oversaw numerous feature films and collaborated with filmmakers including Robert Redford, Penny Marshall, and Jerry Bruckheimer. In 1998, Steinberg joined Junction Entertainment, where she partnered with Director Jon Turteltaub and served as the co-producer for “Instinct,” producer for “The Kid,” and executive producer for the hit “National Treasure” franchise.

Steinberg is a graduate of The Spence School in Manhattan and graduated with a B.A. from Cornell University.

Chris Butler

Chris Butler (Director, Screenwriter, Character Designer)

Chris Butler was Director and Writer of LAIKA’s ParaNorman and Missing Link. Aside from developing his own projects, he was Head of Story and writer on Kubo and the Two Strings, and Story Supervisor on Coraline. Prior to LAIKA, Chris amassed a decade’s worth of experience designing and storyboarding on numerous high-profile animated projects, including Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. He has been nominated for Academy Awards®, BAFTAs, Annie Awards, and garnered the first GLAAD Award nomination for an animated feature.  He won the Golden Globe for Missing Link.

Headshot courtesy of LAIKA Studios 

Julie Lockhart

Julie Lockhart is the Co-Founder of Locksmith Animation, the studio’s Head of Production and producer of studio’s debut feature film Ron’s Gone Wrong.  One of the film industry’s most experienced animation producers, her work has received three Academy Award© nominations including Best Animated Film in 2013 and 2015.

Before co-founding Locksmith, she held leadership roles at Aardman Animations and was producer on many of that studio’s acclaimed animated shorts, commercials and ground-breaking television series, including the Rose D’Or winning Creature Comforts and the Emmy and BAFTA award winning Shaun the Sheep series. Stepping into features, she developed and produced the Academy Award®-nominated feature film ThePirates! A Band of Misfits (UK title ‘In an Adventure with Scientists’) for Sony Pictures and Shaun The Sheep Moviefor Studio Canal/Lionsgate.

Julie Lockhart Photo Credit:  Jen Knott

Joel Crawford

Director Joel Crawford is currently in production on Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. He most recently served as director of the DreamWorks Animation feature film The Croods: A New Age and as director of Trolls Holiday Special for NBC.

Crawford joined DreamWorks Animation in 2006 and quickly became an integral story artist on Trolls, Shrek Forever After Rise of the Guardians, Bee Movie and all three Kung Fu Panda films. Prior to joining DreamWorks, his story artist credits include The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and Alvin &The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.

Crawford is an alumnus of The California Institute of the Arts.

One Piece Film Red

Goro Taniguchi
Japan · 2022 · 115 min
English

Uta—the most beloved singer in the world whose voice has been described as “otherworldly”—is renowned for concealing her own identity when performing. Now, for the first time ever, she will reveal herself to the world at a live concert.

With the Navy watching closely, the venue fills with Uta’s fans—including excited pirates and the Straw Hats led by Luffy, who simply came to enjoy her sonorous performance—all eagerly awaiting the voice that the whole world has been waiting for to resound. The story begins with the shocking revelation that she is the enigmatic Shanks’ daughter.

Goro Taniguchi

Born 1966. Animation director and producer. After working as an episode director for “Eldoran Series” and “Gundam Series”, he made his debut as a director with “One Piece: Defeat Him! The Pirate Ganzack!” in 1998. Since then, he has directed many original-based works and own productions, including “PLANETES”, “CODE GEASS”, “Jungle Emperor: The Brave Can Change the Future”, “Revisions”, “Maria the Virgin Witch”, “Back Arrow” and “Skate-Leading Stars”.

This time, Goro Taniguchi is working on his first directorial work “ONE PIECE” again.

Rush Tickets Available

One Piece Film Red – RUSH TICKETS AVAILABLE

October 22, 2022 6:30 pm
Sold Out

Uta—the most beloved singer in the world whose voice has been described as “otherworldly”—is renowned for concealing her own identity when performing. Now, for the first time ever, she will reveal herself to the world at a live concert.

With the Navy watching closely, the venue fills with Uta’s fans—including excited pirates and the Straw Hats led by Luffy, who simply came to enjoy her sonorous performance—all eagerly awaiting the voice that the whole world has been waiting for to resound. The story begins with the shocking revelation that she is the enigmatic Shanks’ daughter.

Filmmaker Q&A

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

October 29, 2022 2:00 pm
Sold Out

Q&A with Director Guillermo del Toro!

Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro reinvents Carlo Collodi’s classic tale of the wooden marionette who is magically brought to life in order to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto.

This whimsical stop-motion film directed by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson follows the mischievous and disobedient adventures of Pinocchio in his pursuit of a place in the world.

Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama

October 23, 2022 9:00 pm

In Ayodhya, the royal palace of the Kosala kingdom in ancient India, four princes were born to three queens, each of whom grew to great stature. After being banished from the palace for fourteen years due to mysterious court activity, Prince Rama retreated to the forest with his beautiful wife Sita. While there, Rama vanquishes the demons of the forest, which invites the wrath of the demon king Ravana. In retaliation Ravana kidnaps Rama’s wife Sita. It is up to Rama, along with a brave monkey army to rescue Sita. The epic battle invites friends and foes from across the land and decides not just the fate of Sita but of Rama and his place within his kingdom. 

Stunningly remastered in 4k beauty, this rarely-seen animated gem shines with visuals and action that remain groundbreaking to this day.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

USA · 2022 · 114 min
English

Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro reinvents Carlo Collodi’s classic tale of the wooden marionette who is magically brought to life in order to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto.

This whimsical stop-motion film directed by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson follows the mischievous and disobedient adventures of Pinocchio in his pursuit of a place in the world.


Related Events

Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama

Japan · 1993 · 135 min
English

In Ayodhya, the royal palace of the Kosala kingdom in ancient India, four princes were born to three queens, each of whom grew to great stature. After being banished from the palace for fourteen years due to mysterious court activity, Prince Rama retreated to the forest with his beautiful wife Sita. While there, Rama vanquishes the demons of the forest, which invites the wrath of the demon king Ravana. In retaliation Ravana kidnaps Rama’s wife Sita. It is up to Rama, along with a brave monkey army to rescue Sita. The epic battle invites friends and foes from across the land and decides not just the fate of Sita but of Rama and his place within his kingdom. 

Stunningly remastered in 4k beauty, this rarely-seen animated gem shines with visuals and action that remain groundbreaking to this day.


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Inna Sahakyan

Inna Sahakyan has directed and produced feature-length documentaries, documentary series, and shorts, for over fifteen years. Following her feature-length debut co-directing the award-winning “Armenia’s Last Tightrope Dancer” in 2010, she directed “Mel” and “Aurora’s Sunrise,” completing both international co-productions in 2022. Inna also enjoys mentoring her native Armenia’s next generation of filmmakers.

Kotono Watanabe

Born in 1983, joined MADHOUSE in 2007.

She made her directorial debut at the TV series “BTOOOM!” in 2012.

She also worked as a production member with MADHOUSE main titles such as “Chihayafuru” (2011/TV), “Chihayafuru 2” (2013/TV), “My Story!!” (2015/TV), “Chihayafuru 3” (2019/TV), “No Game No Life” (2014/TV), “Hanayamata” (2014/TV), “Prince of Stride” (2016/TV),  and “No Game No Life Zero” (2017/MOVIE)

Benjamin Massoubre

Benjamin Massoubre discovered the richness and diversity of animated cinema in the halls of the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival. This interest quickly became a passion, then a vocation. After studying editing, Benjamin worked as an assistant on many live-action films and commercials before finally being able to work in animation. He worked first as an assistant editor then as an editor on various series and projects before moving on to feature films with prestigious films such as “At the Very Top of the World” and “Calamity” by Rémi Chayé, “The Big Bad Fox” by Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert, “Little Vampire” by Joann Sfar, “I Lost My Body” by Jérémy Clapin and “The Summit of the Gods” by Patrick Imbert.

Amandine Fredon

Amandine Fredon came to cinema through drawing. After studying art, she naturally turned to animation, working mainly at the Folimage studio based in Valence for about fifteen years. Fredon specializes in the production of animated series for television, including “C’est bon” with Jean Pierre Coffe, “Ariol” from the comics of Emmanuel Guibert and Marc Boutavant, “Tu mourras moins bête” (You’ll Die Less Stupid), the adaptation of Marion Montaigne’s books for Arte.

Alê Abreu

Alê Abreu is a Brazilian film director, animator and screenwriter. In 2013, he released “The Boy and the World”, his second feature film. He won the Cristal for best feature film and the Audience Award at the Annecy Festival in 2014; among many awards, and was nominated at the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2016.

Creator and supervisor of the preschool animation series “Vivi Viravento: launched by Discovery Channel in 2018 in Brazil and Latin America. He is going to launch his third feature film “Perlimps” in June 2022 at the Annecy Festival.

Kajsa Næss

After 25 years as an innovative short animation director, Kajsa Næss is ready for her feature film debut with TITINA. Næss is known for her playful, humorous and humanistic films. Her award-winning shorts have featured in prestigious festivals such as Clermont-Ferrand, Annecy and Tribeca. In addition to her many film awards, Næss has been granted the Norwegian Ministry of Culture’s Human Rights Award. Her dozen credits include It Was Mine (2015), It’s Up To You (2013), Deconstruction Workers (2008), Leonid Shower (2004) and Mother Said (1999). Kajsa founded the Oscar winning studio Mikrofilm together with producer Lise Fearnley in 1996.

Marleen Slot

With Viking Film producer Marleen Slot thrives to be a nurturing home for talents from all across the world, telling stories for audiences to strongly identify with, by filmmakers with whom she is closely connected. Viking Film believes in the power of real cooperation’s, being that with directors, writers, co-producers, financiers, crew and cast. Only in collectivity we are capable of bringing stories to a different level and attracting audiences from around the globe.

Since its establishment in 2011, Viking Film wants to create high-quality films for both the national and international market with a special focus on arthouse and animation films. Viking Film has (co)produced feature films by outstanding filmmakers from around the world, including DIRTY GOD (Sacha Polak, Sundance World Dramatic Competition and opening film IFFR, 2019), ROJO (Benjamin Naishtat, TIFF Platform and San Sebastian 2018), NEON BULL (Gabriel Mascaro, Venice Orizzonti and TIFF Platform 2015) and ZURICH (Sacha Polak, Berlinale Forum winner CICAE Art Cinema Award 2015).

Together with director Mascha Halberstad, Marleen opened in 2020 the Holy Motion Studio in Arnhem. The 600m2 animation studio is specialized in stopmotion animation and is currently finishing their first feature film, OINK.

Marleen worked as a producer at Lemming Film for many years. In 2007 she attended the EAVE producer’s training and in 2009 she participated in ACE. In 2013 she was selected Producer on the Move during the Cannes Film Festival. In 2020 she took part in Inside Pictures. Besides her work as a producer Marleen sees the importance of actively taking part in (inter)national film policy making. From 2016 until 2020 she has been chairman of the Netherlands Producers association.

Mascha Halberstad

Director Mascha Halberstad (1973) attended the ArtEZ Art Academy in Arnhem. She made animations for several feature films, including TAKING CHANCES (Berlinale Generation 2012) and HOW TO SURVIVE…

In 2012 she directed the short animation film GOODBYE MISTER DE VRIES. Also in 2012 she made the 13-episode animation series PICKNICK WITH PIE adapted from Thé Tjong-Khing’s books, which was broadcast by the VPRO and awarded the Cinekid Kinderkast Fiction – Jury prize 2013. Her film MUNYA IN ME won the Grand Jury Prize of the BANFF World Media Festival. In 2015, the Prodigy’s Liam Howlett asked her to make a music video for the song WILD FRONTIER. After that she directed several short films, the series FOX & HARE and the hilarious THE GREAT HUMMIMUMMI CHRISTMAS SPECIAL. At present she is finishing her first feature film, OINK and preparing the shoot of KING SAUSAGE, a 20’ musical prequeling OINK.

Together with producer Marleen Slot she built Holy Motion, a 600m2 animation studio where they animated the stopmotion film OINK and where many more stopmotion films will be produced in the feature.

loundraw

Celebrated for his detailed spatial designs, use of transparent, airy colors and attention to depth of field, loundraw began his career as an illustrator when he was a teenager, finding early success on online platforms. He also created key visuals for various notable writers, including and illustration for the novel “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas,” which was later adapted to a theatrical film.

Outside of his work in illustration, loundraw’s debut original animation “Until Dreams Awaken” was released on YouTube in collaboration with the wildly popular Japanese rock band BUMP OF CHICKEN, and swiftly hit over 2 million views, and he was concept designer for the recent anime adaptation of Josee, the Tiger and the Fish.

Dice Tsutsumi

Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, originally from Japan, is a filmmaker and painter. A graduate from The School of Visual Arts in New York, Dice has worked as a visual development/color key artist at Blue Sky Studios on ICE AGE, ROBOTS and HORTON HEARS A WHO!

His credits at Pixar Animation include Lighting Art Director for TOY STORY 3 and MONSTERS UNIVERSITY. After the success of Dice’s directorial debut, the Academy Award nominated short film THE DAM KEEPER, Dice left Pixar to co-found Tonko House Inc. with Robert Kondo.

Dice is passionate about charity work and spearheaded both The Totoro Forest Project and Sketchtravel and in 2021 was recognized for his charitable contribution to the animation community with the June Foray Award.

Robert Kondo

Robert Kondo is co-founder and president of Tonko House, a San Francisco bay area based studio focused on creating animated narrative content. Formerly an art director at Pixar Animation Studios on films such as Ratatouille andToy Story 3, he lends his unique design sensibilities and passion for storytelling as co-director of the Academy-nominated short film, The Dam Keeper.

Originally from Southern California, Robert graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena as an illustrator. Robert took on the roles of both executive producer and production designer of Tonko House’s highly anticipated event series ONI: Thunder God’s Tale. He’s currently writing and illustrating Curiosities, a bedtime read-aloud book in partnership with First Second Books.

Sara K. Sampson

Sara K. Sampson is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker based in Oakland, CA. Born and raised in Kentucky, she moved to California in 2012 to launch her career at Pixar Animation Studios. While there, Sara contributed to several features such as the Academy award-winning films COCO and INSIDE OUT.

After five years at Pixar, Sara left to oversee production on three films, which include the independent short, SONDER, the Emmy award-winning LOVE, DEATH, + ROBOTS episode, THE WITNESS, and Emmy award-winning Google Spotlight Stories film + VR experience, AGE OF SAIL.

Sara recently produced the Emmy-nominated Glen Keane Productions + Netflix Original Series, TRASH TRUCK. She is currently producing the Tonko House + Netflix Animated Event Series, ONI: Thunder God’s Tale, while continuing to write and direct independent films.

Europe, France

Little Nicolas

Amandine Fredon · Benjamin Massoubre
France, Luxembourg · 2022 · 82 min
French with English Subtitles

Somewhere between Montmartre and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Jean-Jacques Sempé and René Goscinny lean over a large white sheet of paper and bring to life a mischievous and endearing boy, Little Nicolas. From schoolyard games and fights to summer camp prank and camaraderie, Nicolas lives a merry and enriching childhood. As the adventures of Nicolas and his friends unfold, the boy makes his way into his creators’ workshop and light-heartedly questions them. Sempé and Goscinny will recount the story of their friendship, career, and reveal a childhood filled with hopes and dreams.


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China

New Gods: Yang Jian

Ji Zhao
China · 2022 · 127 min
Mandarin with English Subtitles

As Yang Jian confronts the actions of his past, he must face a host of dangerous vigilantes seeking the same treasure with the power to alter the balance of their worlds. This latest entry in the New Gods universe from Light Chaser Animation (White Snake, New Gods: Nezha Reborn) features awe-inspiring action sequences set against breathtaking and wildly imaginative environments. Combining ancient lore with dazzling animation, New Gods: Yang Jian is a timeless adventure of epic proportions featuring one of China’s legendary mythic figures. A GKIDS release.


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Wendell & Wild

Henry Selick, p.g.a. · Ellen Goldsmith-Vein
USA · 2022 · 105 min
English · PG-13

In the almost twenty years since his iconic feature film debut, Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) has brought to the screen the perversely macabre worlds of Tim Burton, Roald Dahl, and Neil Gaiman. For his newest film – his first since 2009’s Coraline – he joins forces with master of modern horror, Jordan Peele, adapting an unpublished story by Selick himself, to delight and terrify a new generation with his stop-motion artistry. When guilt-stricken orphan Kat (voiced by Lyric Ross) arrives at Rust Bank Catholic, a fancy All-Girls school that takes in the occasional troubled youth – for a fee! – she discovers a connection to another world. There she meets Wendell and Wild (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), two scheming demons who, in exchange for entry to the Land of the Living, promise to fulfill Kat’s only wish.


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Aurora’s Sunrise

Inna Sahakyan
Armenia / Germany / Lithuania · 2022 · 96 min
Armenian with English Subtitles

A teenage girl goes from genocide survivor to Hollywood star. Losing her family, escaping slavery, enduring trauma and Hollywood greed, Aurora travels a very long way to tell the world about her people’s tragedy. Her courage long forgotten, Aurora’s odyssey is revived through this unique testimony, archive footage, and the magic of animation.


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Oni: Thunder God’s Tale

Sara K. Sampson · Robert Kondo · Dice Tsutsumi
USA / Japan · 2022 · 154 min
English

In a world filled with the oddball gods and monsters of Japanese mythology, one of the creature’s free-spirited daughters, Onari, is determined to follow in the footsteps of the mighty heroes of lore, but her unique powers are yet to be revealed. Does she have what it takes to protect her peaceful village from the encroaching presence of the mysterious “Oni” who threaten the gods? A 4-episode series on Netflix Anime, Animation Is Film proudly presents its World Theatrical Premiere. Creators Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi in-person.


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Europe, Ireland

My Father’s Dragon

Nora Twomey
Ireland / France · 2022 · 99 min
English

The newest film from Oscar-nominated Nora Twomey and Cartoon Saloon, based on the Newbery-winning children’s book, this animated film follows a young boy who runs away to an island to rescue and befriend a young dragon. A Netflix release. Director Nora Twomey and screenwriter Meg LaFauve in-person.


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Turning Red

Lindsey Collins · Domee Shi
USA · 2022 · 100 minutes min
English

Young actress Rosalie Chiang lends her voice to Mei Lee, a 13-year-old who suddenly “poofs” into a giant red panda when she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS). Sandra Oh voices Mei Lee’s protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming, who is never far from her daughter—an unfortunate reality for the teenager. A Pixar release. Director Domee Shi and producer Lindsey Collins in-person.


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Gold Kingdom and Water Kingdom

Kotono Watanabe
Japan
Japanese with English subtitles

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Unicorn Wars

Alberto Vázquez
Spain / France · 2022 · 92 min
Spanish with English Subtitles

In Unicorn Wars, filmmaker Alberto Vázquez resorts to animated fantasy to ponder over the origin of evil. Two brothers – Azulín and Gordi – along with a group of new recruits without experience, are sent on a dangerous mission to save the Magic Forest from the unicorns that represent a threat for the security of their people. Will the little bears be up to the challenge?


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Summer Ghost

loundraw
Japan · 2021 · 45 min
Japanese with English Subtitles

A local urban legend claims that lighting fireworks at an abandoned airfield will call the “summer ghost,” a spirit that can answer any question. Three troubled teenagers – Tomoya, Aoi, and Ryo – do not know each other yet, but each has their own reasons to show up one day. When a sparkler is lit, a ghost named Ayane appears, and she reveals she is only visible to those “who are about to touch their death.” The three teens return home, but Tomoya soon begins visiting the airfield alone, as he becomes obsessed with the mystery surrounding Ayane and the true purpose of her visits. A GKIDS release. Director loundraw in-person.


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Luck

USA / Spain · 2022 · 105 min
English

From Apple Original Films and Skydance Animation comes the story of Sam Greenfield, the unluckiest person in the world! Suddenly finding herself in the never-before-seen Land of Luck, she must unite with the magical creatures there to turn her luck around. An Apple Films release. Director Peggy Holmes in-person.


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Europe

Oink

Mascha Halberstad · Marleen Slot
Netherlands · 2022 · 70 min
Dutch with English Subtitles

When 9-year-old Babs receives a pig named Oink as a present from her grandfather, she convinces her parents to keep it under the condition that Oink follows a puppy training. But her parents are not the biggest threat to Oink because actually her grandfather is secretly taking part in the sausage competition organized by The Society for Meat Products from Fresh Pigs…


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Europe

Titina

Kajsa Næss
Norway / Belgium · 2022 · 90 min
Norwegian with English Subtitles

Ital­ian air­ship engi­neer Umber­to Nobile enjoys a qui­et life with his beloved dog Titi­na, who charmed him into res­cu­ing her from the streets of Rome. One day, Nor­we­gian explor­er super­star Roald Amund­sen con­tacts him and orders an air­ship to con­quer The North Pole. Nobile seizes the oppor­tu­ni­ty to go down in his­to­ry. He brings Titi­na along, and the unlike­ly trio sets out on an expe­di­tion to the last undis­cov­ered place on Earth. Their quest is suc­cess­ful but, in the after­math, the two men start to quar­rel over the glo­ry … Through the eyes of the four-legged celebri­ty Titi­na, (re)discover a true sto­ry of tri­umph and defeat. Director Kajsa Næss in-person.


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South America

Perlimps

Alê Abreu
Brazil · 2022 · 80 min
Portugese with English Subtitles

The newest film from Academy Award nominated Ale Abreu. Claé and Bruô, secret agents from enemy Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon, must overcome their differences and combine forces to find the Perlimps and infiltrate into a world controlled by Giants where war is imminent. Presented in collaboration with the Latino Film Institute, LALIFF, and LatinX in Animation.


Related Events

Filmmaker Q&A, World Premiere

Titina

October 23, 2022 1:30 pm

Q&A with Director Kajsa Næss

Italian airship engineer Umberto Nobile lives a peaceful life in Rome with his beloved rescue dog, Titina. Umberto’s peaceful life is uprooted when the famed Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, befriends  and hires him to make an airship capable of embarking on the dangerous journey to the North Pole. With trusty Titina by their side, the two make history after they return from the treacherous trail but success has bitter side effects and soon the two men are embattled over their newfound fame. Their insatiable thirst for glory threatens their friendship as they test the limits of just how far they can go.

Based on the real life story that captured the hearts and headlines of Europe in the 1920s, Titina employs artful, graphic animation to capture the majesty of a world not just seen from the sky but also through the eyes of an instantly-lovable four-legged adventurer.

Filmmaker Q&A, West Coast Premiere

Perlimps

October 23, 2022 1:30 pm

NOTE: The Q&A with Perlimps’s director, Alê Abreu, has been cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. We apologize for the inconvenience.  

One of two films in this year’s lineup set in enchanted forests (the other being the tonally opposite UNICORN WARS), Alê Abreu’s colorful, hand-drawn panorama is among the most visually stunning films of the year. In a world on the brink of destruction, Claé and Bruô, agents from rival kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon, must put aside their age-old conflict and find the elusive Perlimps (from “pirilampos,” Portuguese for “fireflies”) the only thing that can save the world. Presented in collaboration with the Latino Film Institute, LALIFF, and LatinX in Animation.

Free Event

SHORTS #1

October 21, 2022 6:00 pm
Sold Out

FREE SCREENING

The Animation Is Film Festival kicks off its fifth edition with this dizzying collection of some of the year’s best animated shorts from around the world.

US Premiere

Little Nicolas

October 23, 2022 4:00 pm
Sold Out

In-person Q+A with director Benjamin Massoubre!

Over long cafe chats and bistro dinners in Paris, writer René Goscinny and artist Jean-Jacques Sempé solidified their warm friendship. The two shared more than meals, though, as they created the iconic French character of Little Nicolas, a mischievous school boy whose antics have captivated audiences for decades. Little Nicolas has been captured in comics, books and live-action film adaptations but he comes to life in a new way in Annecy’s Cristal Award-winning Little Nicolas Happy as Can Be. Nicholas leaps off the page and speaks directly to his creators to learn more about their own origin story. The film not only shows moments of Nicolas reveling in the misadventures of adolescence, but reveals the significant childhoods of the two artists and how it shaped their dreams, fears and ambitions. With a screenplay co-written by Rene’s daughter Anne Goscinny the film elegantly translates the magic of Sempe’s illustrations, transforming them into fluid, timeless animation.

Filmmaker Q&A, Rush Tickets Available, US Premiere

Wendell & Wild – RUSH TICKETS AVAILABLE

October 21, 2022 7:00 pm
Sold Out

Q&A with director Henry Selick, and Character Designer Pablo Lobato

In the almost twenty years since his iconic feature film debut, Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) has brought to the screen the perversely macabre worlds of Tim Burton, Roald Dahl, and Neil Gaiman. For his newest film – his first since 2009’s Coraline – he joins forces with master of modern horror, Jordan Peele, adapting an unpublished story by Selick himself, to delight and terrify a new generation with his stop-motion artistry.

When guilt-stricken orphan Kat (voiced by Lyric Ross) arrives at Rust Bank Catholic, a fancy All-Girls school that takes in the occasional troubled youth – for a fee, of course! – she discovers a long dormant connection to another world. There she meets Wendell and Wild (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), two scheming demons who, in exchange for entry to the Land of the Living, promise to fulfill Kat’s only wish. A Netflix release.

Shorts

SHORTS #3: Annecy / Women in Animation

October 23, 2022 4:00 pm

Returning for its 4th consecutive year, this jewel of the Animation Is Film program highlights a collection of female-directed short films. Programmed in partnership with the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Women in Animation.

FILMS:

THE GARBAGE MAN (O Homem Do Lixo) / dir. Laura Goncalves / Portugal

THE FLYING SAILOR / dirs. Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby / Canada

STEAKHOUSE / dir. Spela Cadez / Slovenia-Germany-France

LES LIAISONS FOIREUSES / dirs. Violette Delvoye & Chloe Alliez / Belgium-France

THE QUEEN OF FOXES (La Reine des renards) / dir. Marina Rosset / Switzerland

ONCE THERE WAS A SEA (Bolo raz jedno more…) / dir. Joanna Kozuch / Poland-Slovakia

Filmmaker Q&A, North American Premiere

Aurora’s Sunrise

October 23, 2022 6:30 pm
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Q&A with Director Inna Sahakyan

At only 14 years old, Aurora lost everything during the horror of the Armenian genocide. Four years later, through luck and extraordinary courage, she escaped to New York, where her story became a media sensation. Starring as herself in Auction of Souls, an early Hollywood blockbuster, Aurora became the face of one of the largest charity campaigns in American history. With a blend of vivid animation, interviews with Aurora herself, and 18 minutes of surviving footage from her lost silent epic, Aurora’s Sunrise revives a forgotten story of survival.

New Gods: Yang Jian

October 22, 2022 9:30 pm

Thirteen years after Yang Jian (known to some as Erlang Shen) imprisoned his sister beneath a mountain, the once powerful god now scrapes by as a penniless bounty hunter. When a mysterious woman hires him for a new job, Yang Jian soon finds himself chasing down a familiar figure. He must stop Chenxiang, his long-lost nephew, who is in search of the magical lotus lantern that will free his mother, even if it will bring catastrophe. As Yang Jian confronts the actions of his past, he must face a host of dangerous vigilantes seeking the same treasure with the power to alter the balance of their worlds.

This latest entry in the New Gods universe from Light Chaser Animation (White Snake, New Gods: Nezha Reborn) features awe-inspiring action sequences set against breathtaking and wildly imaginative environments. Combining ancient lore with dazzling animation, New Gods: Yang Jian is a timeless adventure of epic proportions featuring one of China’s legendary mythic figures. A GKIDS release.

Behind the Scenes, Filmmaker Q&A

Work-In-Progress: Strange World

October 22, 2022 11:00 am

Animation Is Film is proud to present this Behind-the-scenes, making-of presentation of Walt Disney’s 61st animated feature STRANGE WORLD. Academy Award-winning producer Roy Conli (Tangled, Big Hero 6) takes you on this exclusive, one-of-a-kind journey. This one hour presentation and Q&A is a rare opportunity to see exclusive footage from the new film with commentary from its Producers and filmmaking team.

Filmmaker Q&A, World Premiere

Oni: Thunder God’s Tale

October 22, 2022 11:45 am
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Q&A with Creator/Director Dice Tsutsumi, and Producers Robert Kondo, Sara K. Sampson, Kane Lee, and Momona Tamada (“Onari”).

Animation Is Film is immensely proud to present the theatrical World Premiere of the 4-episode series on Netflix Anime from the visionary team at Tonko House.

In a world filled with the oddball gods and monsters of Japanese mythology, one of the creature’s free-spirited daughters, Onari, is determined to follow in the footsteps of the mighty heroes of lore, but her unique powers are yet to be revealed. Does she have what it takes to protect her peaceful village from the encroaching presence of the mysterious “Oni” who threaten the gods? Presented in partnership by CAPE and Gold House.

Behind the Scenes, Filmmaker Q&A

Work-In-Progress: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

October 22, 2022 1:00 pm

Animation Is Film is proud to present this Behind-the-scenes, Making of presentation of one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year – Dreamworks Animation’s PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH. This one hour presentation and Q&A – led by Director Joel Crawford and the filmmaking team – is a rare opportunity to see footage from the new film with exclusive commentary.

Panel includes: Joel Crawford (Director), Mark Swift (Producer), Heidi Jo Gilbert (Head of Story), Ludovic Bouancheau (Head of Character Animation), and James Ryan (Editor)

A must for animation fans, students and enthusiasts of all ages.

Filmmaker Q&A, North American Premiere

My Father’s Dragon

October 22, 2022 3:30 pm
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Q+A with Director Nora Twomey

Co-founder of Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon, Oscar nominated Nora Twomey (The Breadwinner, AIF ’17) returns to Animation Is Film with this glorious adaptation of Ruth Stiles Gannett’s beloved children’s novel.

After their family store is forced to close, Elmer (Jacob Tremblay) moves to the big city with his mother to start anew. A random act of kindness to a stray cat (a talking cat, it turns out) sets Elmer off on an extraordinary voyage to Wild Island, home to beasts of all sizes, including a young dragon named Boris (Gaten Matarazzo.) What starts as a scheme to “rescue” his new friend turns into the adventure of a lifetime in this magical, big-hearted adventure from the studio that brought you Wolfwalkers and Song of the Sea. A Netflix release.

Filmmaker Q&A

Turning Red

October 22, 2022 3:30 pm

Q+A with Director Domee Shi and Producer Lindsey Collins

Disney and Pixar’s “Turning Red” introduces Mei Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang), a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter—an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS), she “poofs” into a giant red panda! A Pixar release.

World Premiere

Gold Kingdom and Water Kingdom

October 21, 2022 8:00 pm

The Gold Kingdom and the Water Kingdom had a long, troubled history filled with epic battles  before they decided to take the drastic steps of building a wall between the two lands. But 100 years later, they make good on an agreement in hopes of bringing stability to all. The rulers from each land had decided that the Gold Kingdom would offer the most beautiful girl in their kingdom as a bride, to be wed to the most clever man from the Water Kingdom, creating not just a couple but the promise of renewed relations and peace.

When it comes time for the rulers to make good on their promise, neither is entirely honest or admirable in their attempts. The Gold Kingdom offers Sara, a kind-hearted, but homely princess while the Water Kingdom marries off Naranbayar, a lanky scholar of modest background. To add insult to injury, the two separately find themselves with a dog (for Sara) and a cat (for Naranbayar) as their partner-to-be. As Sara and Naranbayar individually navigate the palace schemes of their respective homelands, their paths soon converge in a heartwarming new spin on the classic fairytale set-up.

Kotono Watanabe’s feature debut is a feel-good romance filled with adventure and lovable characters. With playful humor and charming designs, it’s not hard to find something to treasure within Gold Kingdom and Water Kingdom.

Free Event, Shorts

SHORTS #2: Student Showcase

October 22, 2022 6:45 pm

FREE SCREENING

A vibrant and diverse collection of student short films from some of the most highly regarded animation schools in the country.

Midnight Garden (Sapphira Chen, CalArts)

The Best Ham Sandwich According to a Fish” (Jessica Xu, CalArts)

Homebody (Sophia Du, CalArts)

Something Fishy (Christina Woo, CalArts)

I Am a Fish (Joy Chung, CalArts)

Fester (R.N. Salners, CSUF)

Mythos of Stratus (Yi Jiang, CSULB)

Gireogi Appa (So Youn Rebecca Jeon, CSULB)

72 (Valor Aguilar, CSULB)

Canvas of Life (Taiki Satake, CSULB)

Lamppost (Chinh Mai, CSULB)

Between the Two (Chatham Bros, USC)

Have a Good Night (Shengluo Zhang, USC)

Rose (Joe Jacobs, USC)

Filmmaker Q&A, West Coast Premiere

Unicorn Wars

October 23, 2022 6:30 pm
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Q&A with Director Alberto Vázquez

The Bears, engaged in an ongoing war with the Unicorns who they believe stole their ancestral land, are sent deep into the Magic Forest in search of a platoon that never returned from a previous mission. Deep behind “enemy” lines, the divide between two brothers, Tubby and Bluey, is exacerbated in the face of war.

Said by its director to be a cross between Bambi, Apocalypse Now, and The Bible, Alberto Vázquez’s nightmarish vision of Hell-on-Earth, contrasted with the cuddliest of teddy bears and most majestic of unicorns, is the newest arrival from one of the most evocative artists working in animation. Returning to Animation Is Film for the first time since 2017’s Birdboy: The Forgotten Children, Vázquez’s story contains visual and narrative references to Hamlet, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and John Milton, and is as damning a portrait of war as anything you’ll see on-screen this year.

Presented in collaboration with the Latino Film Institute, LALIFF, and LatinX in Animation.

NOTE: Contains images of extreme violence, drug use, cannibalism, and full frontal bear nudity, and is recommended for Adult audiences only.

Filmmaker Q&A

Summer Ghost

October 22, 2022 8:30 pm
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Q&A with Director loundraw

A local urban legend claims that lighting fireworks at an abandoned airfield will call the “summer ghost,” a spirit that can answer any question. Three troubled teenagers – Tomoya, Aoi, and Ryo – do not know each other yet, but each has their own reasons to show up one day. When a sparkler is lit, a ghost named Ayane appears, and she reveals she is only visible to those “who are about to touch their death.” The three teens return home, but Tomoya soon begins visiting the airfield alone, as he becomes obsessed with the mystery surrounding Ayane and the true purpose of her visits.

Inspired by one of his own drawings, this remarkable directorial debut from the celebrated illustrator loundraw brings his lush visual sensibility to a poignant supernatural drama about the struggles of growing up, and the importance of living life to the fullest. A GKIDS release.

Filmmaker Q&A

Luck

October 23, 2022 11:00 am

Q&A with Peggy Holmes (Director), David Eisenmann (Producer), and Kiel Murray (Screenwriter) – moderated by Academy Award® winner Rich Moore (“Zootopia”)

From Apple Original Films and Skydance Animation comes the story of Sam Greenfield, the unluckiest person in the world! Suddenly finding herself in the never-before-seen Land of Luck, she must unite with the magical creatures there to turn her luck around. An Apple Original Films release.

Filmmaker Q&A

Oink

October 23, 2022 11:00 am

Q&A with Director Mascha Halberstad

Nine year old Babs lives a fairly content life in her idyllic Dutch town, but it’s turned a bit upside down when her wild-card American Grandfather shows up and camps out in the back of the family home. To Babs’s delight–and her vegetarian, cautious parents’s horror–he gives Babs a pet piglet named Oink. Babs always wanted a puppy but Oink is close enough, right? He is certainly just as charming. Her parents decide that if he can pass puppy training school then he can stay. If his schooling isn’t a big enough challenge, the town’s infamous Sausage King competition is gearing up. Danger seems to be lurking around every corner but could the biggest threat be closer to Babs than she thinks? The lovingly handcrafted stop-motion film by Mascha Halberstad is alive with humor and humanity.

Lindsey Collins

Senior Vice President, Development / Producer
Pixar Animation Studios

Lindsey Collins joined Pixar Animation Studios in May 1997. She has since worked in various capacities on a number of Pixar’s feature films. Collins’ film credits include “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2” and the Academy Award®-winning “Finding Nemo,” and “Ratatouille.” Collins also provided the voice of the character Mia in Pixar’s 2006 release, “Cars.”

Collins co-produced the Golden Globe® and Oscar® winning feature “WALL•E” with producer Jim Morris and director Andrew Stanton and was a producer on the Walt Disney Studios feature “John Carter of Mars.” Collins was also the producer of “Finding Dory” in 2016 after which she assumed the role of Pixar’s Vice President of Development. In her development role, Collins pioneered Pixar’s SparkShorts program, created to discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows. Most recently, Collins was the producer of Pixar’s feature film “Turning Red,” which released on Disney+ March 11, 2022.

In April of 2022, Collins was promoted to Senior Vice President of Development. In this new role, Collins leads the Development group at Pixar for features and streaming, where current and upcoming filmmakers originate story ideas and shape them into projects for production. She is a part of the Creative Leadership team, which supports Chief Creative Office Pete Docter in guiding the studio’s creative direction.

Prior to joining Pixar, Collins worked at Disney Feature Animation for three years, managing creative teams on the films “Pocahontas,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and “Hercules.”

Collins earned a Bachelor of Arts in Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles. She currently resides in Piedmont, California, with her husband and three children.

Ellen Goldsmith-Vein

Ellen Goldsmith-Vein is the Founder and CEO of The Gotham Group, the only major management/production company in Hollywood owned solely by a woman. Based in Los Angeles, Goldsmith-Vein and The Gotham Group represent some of the most creative minds in the entertainment industry including top directors, writers, producers, authors, illustrators, and publishers.

She produced the films Stargirl and the sequel Hollywood Stargirl for Disney+, based on the best-selling work of author Jerry Spinelli, with AGT champ Grace VanderWaal making her film debut as the eponymous lead, Stargirl Caraway. . She is producing the animated feature film Wendell & Wild at Netflix in collaboration with Jordan Peele and acclaimed director Henry Selick and starring the voice talent of Key & Peele and Lyric Ross. Goldsmith-Vein/The Gotham Group are also producing My Best Friend’s Exorcism, based on the Grady Hendrix novel of the same name, directed by Damon Thomas, and starring Elsie Fisher, Amiah Miller, Cathy Ang, and Rachel Ogechi Kanu for Amazon.   

In television, Goldsmith-Vein and Gotham have a first-look deal at Disney Television Studios. The Gotham Group is currently in production on the animated series WondLa for Apple, based on Tony DiTerlizzi’s bestselling book trilogy, and is in pre-production on Percy Jackson for Disney+, the best-selling, blockbuster series by Rick Riordan. Gotham is in pre-production on Washington Black for Hulu, based on Esi Edugyan’s critically acclaimed novel, alongside Selwyn Hinds, Anthony Hemingway and Sterling K. Brown. 

Goldsmith-Vein and The Gotham Group produced the billion-dollar The Maze Runner franchise as well as the Netflix 2018 film Kodachrome with Jason Sudeikis, Elisabeth Olsen and Ed Harris. Goldsmith-Vein was nominated for a Primetime Emmy and won an Annie Award for Creature Comforts, the US version of the acclaimed UK series from Aardman Animations, and was chosen by VARIETY as a “Producer to Watch” in 2014.

Gotham has numerous publishing relationships with stalwarts such as Little, Brown and Company and Simon & Schuster. These close ties with publishers are designed to help “reverse engineer” projects from leading creatives as the basis for film and television projects. Many publishers and high-powered New York literary agents look to The Gotham Group to help find homes for their material, earning the firm the reputation as the “go to” firm for the best material in Hollywood. 

Goldsmith-Vein started her professional life in banking at Merrill Lynch. She then joined the venerable William Morris Agency in the television packaging department and segued to Nelvana Entertainment, where she worked developing animated film and television projects including Family Dog with Brad Bird and Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, among others. 

She is a prolific political fundraiser and champion of many charities. Goldsmith-Vein serves on the Board of NAB/NFC for the Democratic National Committee, is a member of the National Finance Committee for Cory Booker, and served on the National Finance Committees for Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton. She is a founding member of Barbara Boxer’s PAC for Change (March On) and sits on the Advisory Board of Common Sense Media. She is a member of the Blue Ribbon of the Los Angeles Music Center along with serving on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Science, serves as a mentor for the Junior Hollywood Radio & Television Society, and is a member of the advisory board for 826LA and the Young Storytellers Foundation. She also serves on the Board of Directors of P.S. Arts. She is a past Board member of Girls, Inc. – a highly regarded national non-profit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold – and was honored by the organization for her work and contributions to the arts, girls and women. She is also a member of Women in Animation and ASIFA-Hollywood.

In April 2020, Goldsmith-Vein created Gotham Reads, the YouTube channel which features bestselling children’s authors, celebrities and political figures reading beloved books for kids hard hit by the pandemic. Each unique video is an opportunity to educate, inspire, and entertain young readers while bringing families together wherever they are. Gotham Reads is partnered with a broad network of affiliated organizations including 826LA, Common Sense Media, Girls Inc., Imagine LA, P.S. Arts, Save the Children, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and Young Storytellers. Gotham Reads is now included in the PBS curriculum offered to LAUSD and on Common Sense Media’s free streaming service Sensical.

Goldsmith-Vein is married to entrepreneur Jon Vein, who has built several companies, including most recently Marketshare, an analytical software company which sold to Neustar in 2015. They have two children and live in Los Angeles. A graduate of UCLA, Goldsmith-Vein also attended Hollins College, where she received an honorary doctorate degree.

Henry Selick, p.g.a.

Henry Selick, p.g.a. (Director / Co-Screenwriter / Producer)

HENRY SELICK is the creative force behind the award-winning animated films Coraline – Laika’s first and still most successful feature – which he wrote, directed, and co-produced; the iconic The Nightmare Before Christmas, which he directed for producer Tim Burton and Disney; and the stunning James and the Giant Peach, which he directed for Disney. And now, in 2022, Selick has just completed his latest stop motion project, Wendell & Wild, for Netflix Animation. The film, based on his original story, was co-written and co-produced with Jordan Peele, who voices one of the titular characters along with Keegan Michael Key. Selick says his fantastical, scary, funny films are intended for “brave children of all ages” and believes that stop motion, the oldest form of animation and his chosen technique, is the most magical and timeless. 

Domee Shi

Domee Shi began as a story intern at Pixar Animation Studios in June 2011, and was soon hired as a story artist on the Academy Award®-winning feature film “Inside Out.” Since then, she has worked on the feature films “The Good Dinosaur,” “Incredibles 2” and the Academy Award®-winning “Toy Story 4.” In 2015 she began pitching ideas for short films, and soon was green lit to write and direct “Bao” which won the Academy Award® for Best Animated Short Film. In her role as a Creative VP, Shi is involved in key creative decision-making at the studio and consults on films in both development and production. Shi most recently made her feature film directorial debut on “Turning Red,” which released on Disney+ March 11, 2022.

Shi graduated from the animation program at Sheridan College where she was fueled by her love of anime/manga, Disney, and Asian cinema influences that can be seen in her work to this day.

Shi was born in Chongqing, China and resided in Toronto, Canada most of her life. She currently lives in Oakland, California and notes that her love of animation is only rivaled by her love of cats.

Bill Desowitz

Bill Desowitz, the Crafts & Animation Editor at IndieWire, specializes in below-the-line and animation coverage, with an emphasis on Oscar and Emmy Awards season reporting/analysis. He is the author of  “James Bond Unmasked,” featuring exclusive interviews with all six Bond actors, and previously served as editor of Animation World Network and VFXWorld and managing editor of Animation Magazine.

Strange World

USA · 2022 · 60 min

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Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

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Ramin Zahed

Ramin Zahed is an LA-based author and journalist who specializes in animation, visual effects, pop culture and indie films. He is the Editor in Chief of Animation Magazine and has written for Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times, Sight and Sound and others. Among his recent books are The Art of The Mitchells vs. the Machines, The Art of Vivo, The Art of Love, Death + Robots, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Art of the Movie and The Art of Klaus.

Ji Zhao

Ji Zhao studied at the Communication University of China and UCLA. He has nine years of working experience in the field of filmmaking and has participated in the editing of a number of films home and abroad, such as The Karate Kid: The Grandmaster, Swordsmen and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Zhao worked as the editor and post-production supervisor of Little Door Gods, Tea Pets, Cats and Peachtopia.

Zhao made his directorial debut with co-director Amp Wong on Light Chaser Animation’s 2019 film White Snake, a breakout success in China and an official selection of Animation Is Film. In 2021, Zhao directed New Gods: Nezha Reborn, the first film in Light Chaser Animation’s New Gods universe, which re-imagines classic Chinese mythology. Zhao’s latest film, New Gods: Yang Jian, is the follow-up to New Gods: Nezha Reborn and the second entrant in Light Chaser Animation’s exciting new world.

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.

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.

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.

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,” which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the first film book to be nominated for a National Book Critics’Circle Award. In 2008, he received the LA Press Club Award for radio feature reporting. In 2015, AISFA/Hollywood’s June Foray for service to the art of animation.

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