Meet Our Candidates
The animated short film 'Pivot' is a defining moment in Ashley's quest to be herself at the risk of disappointing the person she loves the most, her Mom.
Alison brings a wealth of experience in delivering national programs, and leading large marketing, communications and content delivery initiatives with organizations such as Microsoft, Telefilm Canada, ELLE Canada and TELUS to the jury. She started her career in TV working with Court TV, HBO and BET in New York City.
She holds an undergraduate degree in Communications from York University, a master’s degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City, completed the Women in Film and Television Media Leadership Program at the Schulich School of Business, and is pursuing an Executive MBA at SFU. She also serves on the boards of Women in Film and Television – Vancouver, Eastside Culture Crawl and the Community Arts Council of Vancouver.
Andrew Woodhouse was born in Birmingham, England. As a teenager Andrew moved to Ontario along with his parents and later graduated from Communication and Design & Fine Art at OCAD in Toronto, then began his professional career as an illustrator. His clients included: McDonalds, Hallmark, Polo Ralph Lauren, Government of Canada, Woolworths, ABC Network as well as many book and magazine publishers worldwide. Andrew quickly got bored with two dimensions and transitioned to 3D CG animation in the mid 1990's, and has never looked back.
Acting as mainly an art director, but also on occasion as modelor, surfacer, matte painter, lighter, compositor and layout artist, various projects include "Monster House", Disney's "The Wild", Elton John's "Gnomeo and Juliet", "9" "Spiderman III" "Next Gen" and "Ugly Dolls". Getting bored again, Andrew recently moved into directing. Thirty six episodes of the pre-school series "Pretzel and the Puppies" for Apple TV + Premium were completed recently, about a family of cute Dachshunds based loosely on the books by Margaret Rey, and following the pre-school learning curriculum of problem solving and positive portrayals in media. An added challenge was remotely dealing with all aspects of the production pipeline and people due to the pandemic. Andrew is no longer bored.
Athena Georgaklis is the Head of Content for Nelvana. A highly respected animation executive, Athena leads the acquisition of rights and the development of all original content for Nelvana. Athena is committed to develop creator-driven content, working with the studio’s producers, creators, and talent around the world that will resonate with kids of all ages, and find a home in all markets. She helmed the creation of Nelvana’s The Most Magnificent Thing, DNAce, Agent Binky: Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel, The Hardy Boys live action series and many more to come.
Athena has worked in Canadian broadcast and production for more than 22 years. Prior to Nelvana, she oversaw all original animation production for Corus Entertainment’s kids’ networks, supervising the development and production of Canadian content in both English and French. During her time, she led the production and development of hit shows like Johnny Test, Camp Lakebottom, Mysticons, 6TEEN, Cupcake and Dinosaur, Rocket Monkeys, and the Total Drama Island franchise.
Brenda Gilbert is the President of BRON Media Corp, a company she co-founded and leads with her husband, Aaron L. Gilbert. BRON Media Corp. is the parent company to operating units BRON Studios, BRON Releasing, BRON Digital, and BRON Ventures (holds an interest in a portfolio of 10 content companies). The BRON group of companies are industry leaders in production, finance and the sales and marketing of film, series television and animation.
Brenda has a special focus on BRON’s non-scripted arm BRON Lifeand is currently an Executive Producer on several projects. Over her 20+ years in the media space, Brenda has produced, or executive produced more than two-dozen projects, including the animated film The Willoughbys, which premiered on Netflix in 2020.Founded in 2010, BRON has been behind more than 100 productions and is proud to have been part of 32 Academy Award nominations and 6 Academy Award wins for the films Fences, Joker, Bombshell, Roman J. Israel Esq., and Judas and The Black Messiah.In addition to her role on BRON’s Board of Directors, Brenda sits on the board of Film Independent, she was the track chair for mentoring initiatives with Woman in Animation, is an Advisor to the Vancouver Film School and La Salle College, plus volunteers time withVancouver Community College.
Cinzia Angelini, director and creator of animated films, has worked for major international studio sin the animation industry for more than twenty-five years. While she started out as both a 2D and 3D animator, she later became a story artist for Warner Brothers, Sony Imageworks, Duncan Studio, Disney Animation Studios, Dreamworks and Illumination Entertainment. Her body of work includes Balto, Prince of Egypt, The Road to Eldorado, Spirit, Spider-man 2,Bolt, The Minions Movie, Despicable Me 3, The Grinch and Abominable.
Cinzia is currently directing HITPIG, an Aniventure upcoming animated feature produced at Cinesite Studios.Cinzia has also written and directed “Mila,” a CG short film about a little girl, whose life takes an unexpected turn in WWII.Her idea of bridging cultural diversity through the magic of animation, led to an invitation to speak at TEDx Trento, and at TEDx Vail-Colorado.Cinzia moved to Los Angeles in 1997, where she currently lives with her family.
As a kid, I’d entertain myself for hours with paper and pencils, drawing, dreaming up characters and making up stories within the drawings. One summer day, by chance I saw an ad for artists and landed a job as an Opaquer on the feature film The Nutcracker Prince. Working in an animation studio was and still remains a fun and inspiring place to be. I was hooked! As soon as possible, I registered for an animation program with a college in Ontario. I wanted to learn how to animate. With a lot of elbow grease I succeeded in turning my love of drawing and storytelling into a career in animation. From my first job as a Cel Painter on a 2D traditionally animated feature to current work as Series Director of a 3D CGI animated series, I’ve had the great fortune to work on wonderful projects with talented fun-loving people, creating entertaining and educational programing for Netflix, Mattel, Dreamworks Animation TV, PBS Kids, Klasky Csupo, Nickelodeon, Walt Disney TV and more.
In 2011 I was nominated for a Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing In An Animated Program for my work on Martha Speaks. In 2015 How It Happened In Hotterly Hollow, a children’s book in which I designed the illustrations won the Silver Metal Wishing Shelf Award for best illustration of preschool picture books. In 2001 What About Mimi? a tv series that I developed and directed won the Pulcinella Award for Best Animated Series for Children. And in 2001 I was nominated for a Leo Award for Best Direction in An Animated Series on What About Mimi?.
Producer, Collaborator, Entrepreneur.
Heather has been working in the kids and family content creation space for 20+ years. She has produced hundreds of episodes for clients such Netflix, Mattel, Amazon, Spinmaster, PBS, Hasbro, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros and more; and worked with many brandsincludingBarbie, Wolverine & The X-Men, Angry Birds, Hatchimals, Transformers, Hot Wheelsand others. She is a co-founder and partner at Kickstart Entertainment and currently serves as Presidentfrom Vancouver, B.C. Heather is responsible for overseeing the many projects that have been created within and serviced by the studio. She also takes great pride in nurturing Kickstart’s international partnerships and productions to produce world class content for global audiences.
Heather has cultivated relationships with many Canadian creators who inspired her to open Eh-Okay Entertainment, an independent IP company that focuses on Canadian talent and stories. Most recently she founded 708 Sound Studio, a new voice recording and audio post facilitylocated in the Strathcona and specializing inthe animation industry’s voiceover and sound design needs. Heather has a passion for sharing and supporting career advancementin content creationand wholeheartedly believes that storytelling is what connects us as humans.
Jennifer Twiner-McCarron is the CEO of Thunderbird Entertainment Group, and its Kids and Family Division, Atomic Cartoons. The Vancouver-based global multiplatform entertainment company creates award-winning scripted, unscripted and animated programming for the world’s leading digital platforms, as well as Canadian and International broadcasters.
Jennifer Twiner-McCarron joined Atomic Cartoons, Thunderbird Entertainment’s kids and family division, as the Head of Production in 2011. Under her leadership, the studio grew from 25 artists to more than 700 today. She has lead production on multiple titles including the Emmy-winning Beat Bugs for Netflix, Cupcake & Dino for eOne and 101 Dalmatian Street for Disney+. She is also an executive producer for The Last Kids on Earth, which began streaming on Netflix in 2019, as well as the upcoming series Princesses Wear Pants, which is currently in development.
Jennifer was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of Atomic Cartoons in 2016, then CEO of all Thunderbird companies in June 2018. She continues to hold both roles, overseeing the $61.5 million business (FY2019) as well as a team of more than 1,000 people, in Vancouver, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Ottawa. Jennifer’s collaborative leadership is responsible for continued growth, creative excellence and thriving partnerships across Thunderbird and Atomic Cartoons, which culminated in the Company going public on the TSX Venture Exchange in November 2018.
Prior to joining Atomic, Jennifer was Vice President of Production for Rainmaker Entertainment in Vancouver. Over the past 20 years, Jennifer has produced or executive produced dozens of animated series, video game cinematics, and direct to DVD features, including the popular Barbie Princess franchise with Mattel Filmed Entertainment. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, and a degree in film studies from the Vancouver Film School. She is an award-winning producer having received multiple Leo awards, an ELAN, and a DTV award. She was voted one of the “Top 25 Women in Animation” by Animation Magazine in 2004, and named Executive of the Year by Playback Magazine in 2018. In 2019, she was also named by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Jennifer’s greatest achievement, however, is her family and she cherishes spending time with her husband and three children.,
With 30 years of experience in the animation industry, Joe Giampapa is currently the Studio Head of Story at House of Cool Inc. in Toronto, Canada.He has worked as a Story Artist on projects such as The Book of Life, Ferdinand, Angry Birds1 & 2, The Peanuts Movie, Next Gen, Rumble, and most recently as Head of Story on Paw Patrol the Movie. Before becoming a Story Artist, Joe started his journey as a paper flipping, classical animator working in Television, Commercials and on 2D Features. A lot of trees were sacrificed while Joe worked on films such as Beauty and the Beast 2, Once Upon a Christmas, Peter Pan 2, Osmosis Jones,The Three Kings, Eight Crazy Nights,and many more.
But that's not all folks! Scattered throughout his career, Joe has also done voice work, written for television, worked on character concept designs for Television and Features, and worked in Story Development. Joe's secret to a long and happy career is "if it feels like work, you're doing it wrong", but also "don't stick your finger in a live electrical outlet". Either way, with those life mottos, you will be around for a long time.
Growing up in Montreal, Karen showed a talent for drawing cartoons and animals at a very young age. She later enrolled in the Illustration & Design program at Dawson College and started her 10 year career as a graphic designer. In 1996 she made a big change to pursue her life-long adoration of animation by attending Vancouver Film School in their Classical Animation program. While also having a love of acting and comedy, Karen soon discovered she had a 'knack' for storyboarding. Out of school, she starting working as a storyboard artist and stayed on that path for 16 years working on various animated TV shows and direct to DVD projects. In 2013 she got her first directing opportunity at Rainmaker Entertainment (Mainframe Studios) with 'Barbie and the Secret Door' followed by 'Barbie in Rock N Royals'. She kept directing on other long and short form projects at Kickstart Entertainment such as 'Ghost Patrol', an 'Enchantimals' special and series for Mattel and a number of 'Hatchimals' series for Spin Master.
She then returned to Mainframe Studios at the end of 2019 to be series director on 'Team Zenko Go' in collaboration with Dreamworks Animation and Netflix. After also being a storyboard instructor at Vancouver Film School for many years, Karen continues to have a love for teaching and mentoring others in the craft of visual storytelling.