Meet Our Mentors
Ann Marie Fleming is an award-winning Canadian visual artist, writer, director, animator, producer who works in a variety of genres (animation, experimental, documentary and drama).Born in Okinawa of Chinese and Australian heritage, her work often deals with themes of family, history, memory and hybrid identity. She has been making media through her company AMF Productions (Sleepy Dog Films) since 1989.
You Take Care Now (1989), was ranked among TIFF’s Top 10 short films in Canada’s 150th Essential Cinema. Blue Skies(2002) and New Shoes: an interview in exactly 5 minutes(1990) both won Best Canadian Short Film Awards at TIFF. Ann Marie adapted her 2003 award-winning animated documentary The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam into a graphic novel, which was nominated for two Eisner Awards in 2007 at San Diego’s Comic-Con, was listed on the ALA’s Top Ten List for Teens and won the Doug Wright Award for Best Canadian Comic. Her dark comedy, The French Guy(2005) won best feature at the Boston Underground Film Festival. Window Horses (2016), about a young Canadian-Iranian poet discovering her family history, received awards all over the world. She created the portrait A Short Film about Tegan and Sara (2018), for the Governor General Awards, highlighting their advocacy work in the LGBTQ2+ community, and made Question Period (2019), that gives voice to the thoughts of a group of recent Syrian refugee women as they negotiate their life in Canada. Two short films, Old Dog and Vancouve rApril 2020 were released in 2020. Corona Morphs (2021) was created for The Standing Wave Ensemble, and in 2022 she directed the feature thriller The Pregnancy Scheme for AE/Lifetime/Champlain Media
A three-time Canadian Screen Award winner and International Film Music Critics Association Award nominee with over 100 composition credits to his name, Darren Fung is a highly influential composer who is well-respected in the TV and Film scoring worlds.His work on Niobe Thompson’s The Great Human Odyssey, Equus: Story of the Horse and A Bee's Diary has received widespread critical acclaim in Canada and abroad, winning the 2016, 2019 and 2021 Canadian Screen Awards for Best Non-Fiction Music. Darren justearned his 4th CSA nomination for the dramatic feature film Cinema of Sleep. He has led orchestras across Canada in highly acclaimed concert performances of both mini-series. His diverse credits include a recreation of Canada's beloved Hockey Theme for CTV and TSN and the theme music for CTV’s flagship morning news show Canada AM.Darren’s film scores have been heard at prestigious film festivals around the world, including Toronto, Cannes, and Sundance.In addition to composing full time, Darren serves on the board of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, acts as a Program Advisor for the Canadian Film Centre's Slaight Music Residency, and serves on the Board of the public policy leadership development program Action Canada. In lieu of waking up way too early rowing with the Los Angeles Rowing Club and staying up way too late playing hockey, he recently adopted a road bike to attempt to maintain his COVID-lockdown sanity.
Elaine is director and storyboard artist who has a number of Films and TV productions under her belt. Her diverse credits include shows such as Netflix's Troll Hunters: Tales of Arcadia & 3 Below (2019), and Dragons: Riders of Berk. Both have been highly praised, including a nomination for a Daytime Emmy for Trolls, and a nomination for an Annie Award from Dragons: Riders of Berk.
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.
Katherine de Vries is a story artist from Mississauga, Ontario. After graduating from the Bachelor of Animation program at Sheridan College, she accrued diverse work experience in feature and television studios across Canada and the US, including House of Cool, DHX, Blue Sky, and DreamWorks. As well as pitching and selling an original feature film, she has kept busy studying screenplays, writing scripts and developing original projects.
Maisha Moore is an Annie Award nominated Art Director and Production Designer from Vancouver Canada. Maisha has been in the animation industry for the last 13 years, working on globally recognized media such as The Addams Family, Barbie and Young Love.
Maisha the Art Director of the inaugural Five in Focus program, now the ACE Career Accelerator.
Nadine has been working in the Animation industry for over 25 years, with vast experience in film and television working with well-respected studios such as Walt Disney, Dreamworks, Universal, DHX, Bardel and Atomic Cartoons where she currently holds the responsibility of Studio Creative Director. In her current role Nadine oversees all productions and is very involved in setting up all upcoming shows, supporting the creative teams during development and production.
In 2021 Nadine was awarded the YWCA Women of Distinction award for her work in the animation community with the focus on authentic storytelling, diversity and inclusion. Through WIA and Atomic Nadine dedicates a lot of volunteer and mentorship work towards support for artists to enter into the industry and growth towards creative leadership roles.
With over twenty five years of experience in filmmaking, from editing to writing and directing, Oana Suteu Khintirian is a well versed experimentalist and researcher who uses cinematic modes of thought to further human knowledge. Her research-creation projects encompass academic writing and creative work crossing path with the humanities and sciences. Rooted in the artistic practice, but informed by Khintirian’s scientific education, her creative and reflective work draw a tightly interwoven portrayal of a world animated by movement and governed by change.
Following an Annie Award Nomination for Best Production Design for MGM’s animated feature film “The Addams Family” and wrapping production design for the sequel, “The Addams Family 2”,Patriciais currently helping develop new shows for Cinestite and Netflix. Her skills and knowledge come from the 20+ years of experience starting as a graduate from Capilano University with fundamentals in 2D animation. Patricia’s career has ranged from supervising layout and posing on popular 2D shows like “Arthur” and “Caillou”, to storyboarding for hit series like “Pound Puppies” and “Thomas and Friends”, and art direction and production design for the Netflix and Mattel properties “Spy Kids” and “Barbie”, thus garnering her as a well-respected artist in the Vancouver animation community.
VP, Production, House of Cool As VP of Production, Rebecca Swift leads all service production work from initial pitch to delivery. She oversees the operations of the studio and manages a team of 70+ artists and production staff. Rebecca is also an instrumental force in strategic planning for House of Cool, lending her expertise to IP development, marketing and finance. Prior to joining House of Cool, Swift held producing roles at 9 Story Media Group and Arc Productions where she managed the Emmy Award® winning Amazon series, Lost in Oz and the Bluesky Studios/20th Century Fox special, Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapde. Rebecca has also produced independent live-action feature films including: Almost Adults and Nobody Famous, both festival darlings, which sold to Netflix and Amazon Prime respectfully. Swift graduated from Humber College, where she received a diploma in Film and Television Production. Rebecca’s passion for education continued with the WIFT-T’s Corus Media Management Accelerator program and the CFC Comedy Exchange Program.
Rhi moved to Canada almost 10 years ago to pursue a love of hand-drawn animation, graduating from Capilano University's Commercial Animation program in 2014. She started in the Vancouver animation industry as a storyboard trainee on Dreamworks TV's 'Puss in Boots' series, and over the years has worked across various animated productions as a revisionist, storyboard artist, storyboard supervisor and episodic director, as well as a lab supervisor and life drawing lecturer for the Cap U animation department. She is currently balancing (and loving!) her life as a senior board artist for animated features, a freelance book illustrator, and mom to an almost-3 year old. She has a passion for learning and loves sharing stories with other creative people, and when she's not drawing, she's usually found hiking on the North Shore with her mini schnauzer, taking Welsh language classes, or reading books on folklore and history.
Rose-Ann Tisserand is co-founder of Flying Kraken Creative Studios, a boutique, Canadian-based studio that creates original animation content and specializes in award-winning animation design services. She is also Founder and Co-Executive Producer of WIA Vancouver’s award-winning Animation CareerEXCELerator Program(ACE) which advances the careers of those who identify as women into key creative roles by providing mentorship, training, and hands-on experience as they make a short film. Over 5 years, ACE has grown from 5 initial key creative roles in BC to 8 roles from across Canada. ACE is currently sponsored by Netflix Canada, Telefilm and Creative BC. She has worked as a production executive for 22 years over seeing 300+ hours of film and television production. She was supervising producer at Bardel Entertainment, Consulting Producer with the NFB, and is currently Executive Producer/Co-Creator of a series in development with Silvergate Media. She also sits on the Spark Animation Leadership Board and is Executive Advisor on the WIA Vancouver board.
Hailed as an ‘incredible artist’ by the legendary Hans Zimmer upon hearing her orchestral music, Suad Bushnaq is an internationally acclaimed, multi award-winning film and concert music composer whose versatile style spans a number of genres. With more than 40 film credits to date, she scored award-winning features & shorts that screened at festivals like Locarno, Hot Docs, Edinburgh, Dubai, and Clérmont-Ferrand to name a few. Suad was competitively selected for the Festival de Cannes‘ Spot the Composer’ programme, and the SESAC film scoring residency in LA where she was mentored by A-list composer Christophe Beck. In 2022, Suad was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for her original score for the feature film Jasmine Road by Warren Sulatycky, and won the Best Original Score for ‘Incorrigible: The Story of Velma Demerson’ at the Hollywood North Film Awards. She was also selected in that same year as the recipient of the 2021 Kathleen McMorrow Music Award; a merit-based award presented once a year to a Canadian composer by the Ontario Arts Foundation
Tracey is honoured to Executive Produce the ACE program with Women in Animation. She is an award-winning Producer with twenty years of experience, producing over 120 hours of television in both live action & animated film, television and digital media. She is currently COO / Head of Production for Imagine Create Media, where she is a Producer on Scout & The Gumboot Kids for CBC, nominated for both a Prix Jeunesse and NHK Japan Prize.Through her own company, Urban Safari Entertainment, she has just finished development on the animated feature, A Christmas Crisis, with Hollywood Suite, which she also wrote, and has produced The Adventures of Little Jake & Many Skies for APTN, the award-winning Kids’ Cookhouse, and the web series PARKED.