Meet Our Jury
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.
Kathy Antonsen is an award winning producer / creator whose credits include THE HOLLOW for Netflix and NERDS AND MONSTERS for Corus YTV. Some of her producer credits include BEING IAN, YAKKITY YAK, YVON OF THE YUKON and THE LEGEND OF FROSTY THE SNOWMAN.
She has produced numerous shows through development and production and has extensive experience creating budgets, working
with coproduction partners, distributors, broadcasters and on CMF funded projects.
Katrina Hadley has been working in the animation industry in Vancouver since 2005 and has been in a directing position since 2015. She started out her career with BG clean up and prop design but soon moved into storyboard revision on shows like Bardel’s “Edgar and Ellen”. She then went on to be a storyboard artist for Nerd Corp’s “League of Super Evil”, “Rated A for Awesome” and the “Monster High” DVD movies.
Katrina joined the “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” team at DHX (Wildbrain) as a board artist for the “Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks“DVD movie. She went on to become Storyboard Supervisor, Assistant Director and then Series Director for the “Equestria Girls” series that ran for several DVD movies and 2 seasons of shorts and specials. Recently she made the jump 3D by Series Directing on “Fire Man Sam” season 13. She is currently Series Director for “Go, Dog, Go!” season 2.
Katrina grew up in rural Alberta and is just glad to be here.
Kim Dent Wilder
Kim brings exceptional experience, leadership, and passion to her role as Executive Vice President at Mainframe Studios. As a proven strategic business leader, Kim has played an integral role in Mainframe’s expansion and diversification. From overseeing and managing its growing film and television operations to identifying and developing new business opportunities, Kim is the synergistic ‘glue’ at Mainframe.
She nurtures the company’s creative artistry while also ensuring efficiencies across all creative and technological processes. She provides not just leadership and mentorship, but also the vision to expand the company across Canada
As VP, Production, Kids & Animation at Hello Sunshine, Kirsten is
responsible for all production activities in the Kids & Animation division.
Kirsten is a passionate executive leader who has been nominated for two
Emmys; and has won multiple Canadian Screen Awards and Leo Awards. She has been named as one of British Columbia's Most Influential Women - Stem Stars.
She has Executive Produced more than 800 half hours of animated children's television, including popular hits such as My Little Pony, The Deep, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Pickwik Pack and Carmen Sandiego. Prior to joining Hello Sunshine, she consulted for both Guru Studio Ltd. (True & the Rainbow Kingdom, Paw Patrol) and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Pretzel & The Puppies, Carmen Sandiego). Previously, Kirsten was SVP, Animation Production for Wildbrain (DHX) where she managed all animation production activities.
She oversaw the robust slate of both wholly owned series, as well as the
work for hire business, and operations across three studios with a combined eighteen animated series in production. Kirsten's enthusiasm to nurture the creative artistry of the studio's productions positioned the studio as a key player internationally in the creation of kids' content. She was actively involved in CineCity, CHUM Television's commitment to the local film community to help emerging visible minority and aboriginal filmmakers produce short, dramatic films in the province of British Columbia. She is a Founding member of Drawn Together Vancouver, a past board member of Women in Film and Video Vancouver, is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, the National Screen Institute's Totally Television Programme, and of the Canadian Film Centre's Producer's Lab.
She currently sits on the Executive for Women in Animation's Vancouver chapter.
Kulbinder Saran Caldwell
REALLIFE is the first boutique literary agency and production company with a South Asian female-Kulbinder Saran Caldwell-as Founder/CEO representing diverse, neuro-diverse and LGBTQIA+ writers. REALLIFE incorporates adversity mandate within its core product offering. The company's vision is to have more BIPOC representation in the film/television industry and put the spotlight on diverse storytellers. Our premise is to provide a nurturing environment in which its writers can create high quality, award-winning content.
Along with being principal agent, Kulbinder also acts as a career manager, supporting writers to develop their projects by connecting them with various mentors, story editors and by organizing script table reads to strengthen content and provide the extra support many of these new and emerging writers need. The agency has been built and sustained through the dedication and tenacity of the founder.
Kylie Ellis has worked in the entertainment/animation industry for more than 20 years. Currently she serves as the VP, Production at WildBrain Studios. Prior to this she acted as Supervising Producer on the animated action series, Invincible, with Skybound Entertainment and produced a yet to be announced series with one of the top animation studios in the country. Kylie has worked in a range of production roles on animated projects including series Ed, Edd n’ Eddy for Cartoon Network, Bob the Builder for HiT Entertainment, and feature films Escape from Planet Earth and Ratchet and Clank. She is passionate about collaborating with artistic, technical and production talent to provide a creative and collaborative environment in which teams can thrive. Kylie is also the Chair of Women in Animation, Vancouver Chapter, where her dedication to advancing the careers of women in the field of animation is front and centre.
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.
Marcia Gwendolyn Jones
As a Feature Animation Producer, Marcia Gwendolyn Jones catalyzes creative vision from script to screen. Known as “The Closer,” Marcia delivers challenging projects on time and on or underbudget, while balancing artistic goals and creative vision. Marcia creates high crew morale even under intense deadlines through great collaboration and communication, so that teams feel valued, supported, connected, thrive and do their best work.
Born and raised in New York, Marcia was an expat from 2013-2021, living and working in Canada, Ireland, and France. She recently returned to the US to join Skydance Animation, producing an unannounced feature.
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.
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.
Raila is the Director, Member Development at the CMPA-BC where she supporting BC independent producers. Working closely with members and up-and-coming producers, Raila oversees professional development opportunities, international development and outreach as well as managing the event sponsorship portfolio and working with community partners. Raila was the inaugural Program Director for the Pacific Screenwriting Program, a non-profit co-founded by CMPA-BC, Netflix and Creative BC in August 2018. The PSP provides support and career-advancement opportunities to BC-based film and television writers.
Under Raila's leadership,the PSP made meaningful strides in building and nurturing BC's screenwriter community. Before the PSP, Raila served as Marketing Director at Corus Entertainment.
Red Janes has a split musical personality. A classically-trained mezzo-soprano and flautist, her performance and composing work refuses to be pigeonholed. Composing everything from choral to orchestral, rock to electronic, she's thirsty to keep it fresh.
Red was deeply honoured to accept Leo Award nominations forBest Original Score in a Motion Picture for her work in 'White Raven'(Directed by Andrew Moxham-White Buffalo Films) and for 'Charlotte’s Song'(starring Iwan Rheon & Katelyn Majer-Done Four Productions) culminating in a win for the latter picture - along with her music team colleague Maya Saxell, they were the first female composers ever to win a Leo award in that category. She has additionally been recognized with a Best Music gong at the 2017 Seattle Web Fest for her work in the 2016 webseries Telegraph Cove. Recently Red was selected as the panel favourite at the 2017 Whistler Film Festival’s inaugural blind composition challenge, featuring such esteemed panelists as Janine Scalise Boyd (VF Music, Starz Entertainment) Tony Scudellari (SVP TV Music, Sony TV) and JulieWeitz (EP/President, Carol Mendelsohn Productions/Sony Pictures Television).
Red is currently scoring for both Lifetime and Hallmark
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.
Shabnam founded Big Bad Boo Studios to produce and distribute quality family programming. Shabnam has produced and directed Hulu Original Series “The Bravest Knight”, winner of 2020 GLAAD Award. She has also created and directed original shows such as “16 Hudson” (AmazonPrime/TVOKids), mini-series “Lili & Lola”(Oznoz/ICI TV), and “ABC with Kenny G” musical series.
Shabnam started her career producing series “Mixed Nutz”, and her first creation was “1001Nights”, currently airing in 80 countries on Disney, Teletoon, Discovery Kids, Gloob Brazil, RTBF Belgium, and MTV3 Finland.
Based in Vancouver and New York, the company’s own streaming channel Oznoz provides cartoons in 10+ languages including Thomas and Friends, Bob the Builder, Babar and more. With a BS in Computer Science, a BA in German Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from New York University, Shabnam spent 10 years in financial software industry in New York and London at Fortune 500's such as Deloitte & Touche and Misys. She has been featured on CBC, CNN, Forbes, BBC, FOX, the New York Times and NPR. She was born in Iran and grew up in Austria. She speaks English, German, Persian, French, and Spanish and is raising her two daughters trilingual.
For more, please visitwww.bigbadboo.caorwww.oznoz.com
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.
Virginie is a Film and TV Producer with 15 years of experience in live-action and CG animation. Her live-action films have been screened in festivals around the world, such as the Cannes Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival. In 2011 she was offered an unexpected opportunity in the CG world and fell in love with the animation community. Since, she has worked on some of the most exciting properties in the world with partners like Disney, Netflix, HBO, TeamTo and Splash Entertainment.
She is also co-founder of The Happy Producers, a virtual community that promotes wellbeing in animation production. Through their e-learning programs, she teaches coordinators and project managers the mindset and strategies for low stress, high efficiency projects.