Based in Hong Kong, Christine steers the FUN Union ship by designing growth strategies for brands worldwide. With over 25 years of experience in media, she’s passionate about combining content and new technology to build and serve communities of like-minded followers. Prior to FUN Union, Christine was an entrepreneur developing a children’s digital learning platform (Kids Dailies). She worked for Dow Jones from 2006 to 2013 as managing director Asia and publisher of The Wall Street Journal in Asia. From 1995 to 2001, Christine served as President and CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Asia-Pacific where she played a key role in the launch and growth of local editions of ELLE, CAR and Driver magazines. She held previous roles with Hachette Filipacchi in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, New York and Paris.
Nicolas Trout co-heads the Animation studio of Mikros Image, spearheading the development of a studio that produces several animated features over multiple sites. Nicolas joined Mikros Image in 2012 to expand its activities into animation, where he produced the studio’s first feature Asterix: The Mansion of Gods. He recently launched the production of Stubby, an American Soldier for Fun Academy and was Executive Producer on the French feature Sahara. Nicolas started his career in Asia for TDI/Wavefront as a software engineer. For nearly 10 years, he produced animation and VFX at Mac Guff Ligne for prestigious clients in Europe, Japan and the US, firmly establishing the Parisian studio as a premium international vendor. He joined Europacorp in 2009 as Line Producer on A Monster in Paris and oversaw Luc Besson’s animation studio.
Ruth Fielding has over 20 years of experience in the animation industry and has produced TV series and films for all the major U.K. broadcasters through her award winning company Lupus Films, as well as leading co-productions with France, Ireland, India, Denmark and Wales. Among her credits as producer are the highly-rated and acclaimed TV specials We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Snowman and the Snowdog and The Selfish Giant, the TV series The Hive and Pinky and Perky Show, and the feature Ethel & Ernest. Ruth is a creative producer and holds a Masters Degree in text and performance studies from RADA and Kings College and started her career in television making live-action programming before moving into theatre and then animation commissioning at Channel 4 where she met her business partner Camilla Deakin.
Mo Davoudian is the Creative Director and CEO of Los Angeles-based Brain Zoo Studios, where he has produced on some of the top brands and partners such as Disney, Marvel, Activision, Electronic Arts, Mattel, Hasbro, Microsoft, Lego, Sony and much more. Since 1995, Davoudian has brought over 200 game cinematics to console, 3 animated films, several animated series, and dozens of Game Trailer, commercials, and webisodes. He has been involved with titles such as Skylanders from Activision|Blizzard, Disney’s’ Infinity, Ultimate Spider-man Series, Ratchet & Clank for Sony, LEGO Star Wars, Game of Thrones game series, Gears of War, Lord of The Rings franchise and Marvel’s Heroes United animated films. Davoudian is the creator and executive producer of the award-winning Pepe & Lucas, and the co-creator & exec producer of the upcoming Nora Series. Davoudian is the winner of multiple awards including an Emmy for Sports Science on Fox.
Richard is the CEO of Axis Studios, the hybrid animation and visual effects group that consists of Axis Animation, Flaunt and axisVFX.He has spent his entire working life in the creative world, co-founding Axis in 2000 following a career in design, photo-retouching, video games and animation. As CEO, Richard steers the strategy and direction of Axis Studios across the multiple studio teams and projects. This has seen the Axis Studios group work with a diverse range of entertainment properties including Halo, Alien, The Incredible Hulk, Doctor Who, Monster High, Shaun the Sheep and Call of Duty. Richard was one of the exec producers for Flaunt on the three-time Emmy award winning Amazon Studios show Lost in Oz and is currently exec producer for Axis Animation on the Channel 4/Netflix show Kiss Me First.
Sandra Rabins is one of the most respected live-action and animation executives in the industry, who helped produce Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare before Christmas, and James and the Giant Peach at Disney. She was also instrumental in helping Pixar establish itself as a digital film entity to create Toy Story. Rabins helped build the animation division of DreamWorks Studios and produced the studio’s first traditionally animated feature, The Prince of Egypt and its first CG-animated movie Antz, She was also an exec producer on the Oscar-winning blockbuster hit Shrek. Rabins served as senior exec VP of Sony Pictures Animation, where she worked on hits such as Open Season, Surf’s Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Hotel Transylvania. In 2010, she joined DreamWorks Animation Television as a senior executive producer overseeing the award-winning Dragons: Riders of Berk. Currently, Rabins is producing a slate of films for the animation company Original Force.
Kobe Bryant is a five-time NBA Champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, NBA MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 15-time All-NBA player, 18-time NBA All-Star and the NBA’s 3rd all-time leading scorer. Off the court, Kobe has dedicated his philanthropic passion to a variety of causes benefitting children in need. In 2006, he launched the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation to improve the lives of young people though access to sports, mentorship and economic empowerment. In 2009, Bryant partnered with the Soong Ching Ling Foundation to create the Kobe China Fund. Bryant formed Kobe Inc. in 2013, a multi-media content creation company focused on helping athletes learn the process of excellence and maximizing potential. Kobe Inc.’s first project, Kobe Bryant’s Muse, debuted on Showtime in February 2015 and in China in August 2015 via a partnership with the Alibaba Group. Bryant executive produced the first-of-its-kind documentary, which earned a Clio Award in May 2015. He wrote and produced the new short Dear Basketball, directed by Glen Keane.
Adam Rumanek is a programmer and internet entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience. Adam has worked with governments, NGO’s, and corporations of all sizes throughout the world helping them online. He sold his first internet company in 2000. He is Google and YouTube Certified (5 Degrees), and also the author of ‘How to Make Money on YouTube‘ that can be found on iTunes. YouTube is his passion and helping companies/YouTubers organize their content, monetize their videos and protect their IP from theft on YouTube is what him and his team love to do everyday.
Christopher O’Reilly is the co-founder and Executive Creative Director of Nexus Studios, one of the world’s leading independent animation and interactive studios. He leads creative development across the company with its diverse output ranging from Oscar nominated shorts, Cannes Grand Prix winning commercials to high profile interactive work for the likes of Google and The White House. Recent credits include the opening film for Google I/O 2017 and award winning shorts Robot & Scarecrow and Wednesday with Godward. The company remains at the forefront of innovation in storytelling. Alongside VR the studio has created AR experiences for President Obama and the GRUFFALO and worked with Google’s Made With Code initiative to encourage girls across America to code dresses at New York Fashion week or illuminate the Holiday Trees at The White House. Chris is also a board member of the British Arrows and serves on the advisory board of FMX.
Jorge R. Gutiérrez is an award-winning painter, writer and director born in Mexico City and raised in Tijuana. Gutierrez, a CalArts grad, is the creator and director of films, cartoons, and paintings inspired by his deep love for Mexican pop and folk culture. He and his wife Sandra Equihua created the multiple Emmy award-winning animated television series, El Tigre, The Adventures of Manny Rivera for Nickelodeon, and Gutierrez co-wrote and directed The Book of Life for Reel FX and 20th Century Fox. Most recently he created and directed the VR short Son of Jaguar for Google Spotlight Stories and is attached to the upcoming Billion Brick Race Lego film from Warner Bros.
Philippe and Guillaume Soutter co-founded the PGS company in 2008. Their ambition was to provide producers and rights owners an environment entirely dedicated to the financing and brand management of kids entertainment franchises. Throughout the years, PGS has partnered on leading IPs such as Alvinnn!!! and the Chipmunks (Bagdasarian Productions and Technicolor Animation Productions); Miraculous Ladybug (Zag and Method); Emmy-award winning Jungle Bunch (TAT); The Little Prince and the Playmobil TV series (Method); and, more recently, the Monchhichi adaptation (Technicolor Animation Productions). To this day, the PGS company remains 100% owned by the Soutter family, enabling it to focus on long-term business strategies inspired by the heritage and visions of its partners. This approach has earned the company to receive industry acknowledgment from its peers, including repeated annual awards from Kidscreen as one of the top 10 investor/distributors of the year. PGS currently has offices in Paris, Hong Kong, Geneva, Barcelona, and Los Angeles.
Kevin Tod Haug has surfed the paradigm shifts from optical to digital, from motion control to CGI, and from small screen to large and back again. His credits include: Three films for David Fincher: The Game, Fight Club and Panic Room; Tarsem’s visually dazzling The Cell; Machine-gun Preacher marked his sixth collaboration with director Marc Forster (after Finding Neverland, Stay, Stranger than Fiction, Kite Runner and a BAFTA nomination for Quantum of Solace). He was also responsible for the VFX design of Zach Helm’s Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and David Slade’s Eclipse. He was most recently Nominated for an Emmy for his work on American Gods – once again for David Slade under the Aegis of Neil Gaiman, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. Haug is a member of AMPAS, BAFTA, ATAS, the DGA and the CIA (California Institute of the Arts).
Mark Taylor currently oversees the massive production pipeline for DreamWorks’ television series, including the content for the studio’s multi-year deal with Netflix. In 2013, Taylor was hired to create the studio and tasked with producing more than 1,600 episodes of original programming for distribution in more than 130 countries. Since 2013 Taylor has lead production of 12 award-winning series through distribution, with over 20 series currently in active production. He has also developed a growing global network of 18 partner studios, which have become extensions of the DreamWorks family. Prior to joining DreamWorks Animation, Taylor helped to build and lead Nickelodeon Animation Studio as senior vice president and general manager from 1997 to 2012, responsible for all of the network’s in-house animation productions, overseeing some of Nickelodeon’s greatest hits.
Ken Katsumoto serves as Executive Vice President of Family Entertainment Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. He oversees animation production for Lions Gate’s feature production which included the original feature film Alpha and Omega, (50 million of box office gross) and the upcoming theatrical film Norm of the North. Additionally he oversaw the Marvel Animation, Lions Gate productions of seven Marvel animated films including The Avengers, Ironman and Captain America. Katsumoto also oversaw the animated production of Madea’s Tough Love, Tyler Perry’s first ever animated production featuring the character of Madea which became a top ten best- selling kid’s non- theatrical films for 2015. He is also overseeing the seven Direct to DVD sequels of Alpha and Omega productions. Prior to that Katsumoto was the production executive for Kratt’s Creatures featuring Martin and Chris Kratt a daily kid’s series on PBS. He was the production executive for the first season of the their follow up series Zoboomafoo a hit daily PBS series for preschoolers. He was the production executive for Galidor partnering with Lego and Fox Kids, and Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat a daily animated preschool series on PBS, The Ripping Friends for Fox Kids, Mega Babies for Fox Family, and Lion of Oz for Disney Channel.
Vanessa Chapman is a senior media executive and strategist, whose 25-plus years’ experience in the sector has spanned all media platforms. She is the managing director of VJC Media, a creative and business strategy agency that works with creators, international broadcasters, global media companies, brands, investors and government bodies. In recent years, VJC Media’s clients have included Sesame Workshop, Disney in EMEA, a major international toy company and a leading media grouping based in Asia. The company is presently advising the management and investors of a UK and an Irish animation business on their growth strategy. Vanessa is also Joint MD of investment company, Inflorescent Media, and, in the factual space, Essential Lifestyle Media. Prior to running her own businesses, Vanessa was Controller of Children’s, Youth and Family Programmes for the UK’s ITV Network. Subsequently, she developed key strategies for The LEGO Company’s entry into the global and movie business. While at LEGO, she was promoted to managing director of LEGO’s newly created TV, film and digital company Create TV & Film, where her credits included the multi-award-winning film and toy franchise Bionicle, popular pre-school title Little Robots and cult sci-fi film Ultramarines, which she executive-produced.
Michaela has extensive international experience in every level of production from concept launch to distribution in CG, traditional & hybrid animation for TV, theatrical and commercials, and collaborating with studios in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Canada. She began her animation career at Dargaud/Marina in Paris, where she oversaw five animated productions across the French channels. After returning to L.A. in 2000, she has helped build up the CG division of Nickelodeon, produced ambitious vfx for film & television projects and was Head of Production for Klasky Csupo’s commercial division and Universal TV Animation. She also opened Roundhouse Animation Studios to produce the reboot of MTV’s hit Celebrity Deathmatch. Last year, she built the Hollywood-based studio for Netflix show F is for Family for Gaumont Intl. TV and produced the start-up with teams in LA, Canada and Paris. Most recently she has been the consulting executive producer for Film Roman’s Mexican studio in Baja.
Archita Ghosh is the Executive Producer and a Partner at award-winning Montreal-based animation house and digital tools lab, E*D Films. Archita has most recently produced shorts and animated segments for: National Geographic Museum’s Monster Fish exhibition, Mindfuel Alberta’s science learning channel Wonderville, and EyeSteel Film’s documentary “Let There Be Light”. She continues to work on E*D Films’ own creative and technical projects including: the multi-platform universe of the sci-non-fi adventure “Elemented”, the intimate animated short about family folklore “Home was Hairy Hill”, a series of popular process tutorials on YouTube and Twitch, as well as E*D Films’ line of digital tools involving, among others, cinematic animation plug-ins for the Unity Game Engine, Maya, and Photoshop. Archita’s 20+ years international experience as an engineer was a useful pre-cursor to her most recent 4 years in animation.
Peter McHugh is a manager at The Gotham Group, a multi-faceted management and film, television and new media production company that represents some of the most creative minds in Hollywood including top directors, writers, authors, publishers, content creators and actors. As a manager, Peter works with a premiere list of animation talent. Peter was Co-Executive Producer on the Emmy-nominated and Annie-winning series Creature Comforts for Aardman/CBS. He is executive producer on Ghostopolis at Disney and the animated feature Cardboard at Fox Feature Animation with Chris Wedge directing. A cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College and former Assistant Director of Admissions for the school, Peter is a founding member of the JHRTS, and was featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen Issue. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Television Academy’s Professional Representatives Peer Group.
Chris most recently directed the worldwide box-office hit animated adventure The LEGO Batman Movie, the second feature in the LEGO film franchise. Previously, he served as co-director, editor and animation director of the 2014 blockbuster The LEGO Movie. His work as an editor on that film earned him the American Cinema Editors Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film, Animation, as well as an Annie Award nomination for Best Edited Animation Feature Film. A Chicago native, McKay is the visionary behind numerous television and film programs of critical acclaim. He is the director, writer and producer behind the award-winning television series Robot Chicken, Titan Maximum and Morel Orel. McKay has worked as a successful producer, editor and writer for Adult Swim/Cartoon Network. He has directed more than 50 episodes of Robot Chicken,one of the highest rated and critically acclaimed programs on Cartoon Network. As director and a show producer, McKay made Titan Maximum, a groundbreaking animated program for Adult Swim that incorporated traditional stop-motion as well as 2D and 3D animation. Chris is a regularly featured panelist at Comic-Con International, Wizard World’s Comic-Con Tour, and the Anime Expo.
Mary T Duda has been a multimedia technology industry leader, fine artist and author for over three decades.After founding her own multimedia company in 1981, Duda Design, she quickly gained acclaim by producing Disney World’s EPCOT Grand Opening, which used multimedia in ways never before realized. Duda was also the leading multimedia architect for the Los Angeles Olympic Committee. She then went on to work with AFI, the U.S. and Canadian Government and to develop next generation ‘edutainment’ programs for Houghton Mifflin. In 1996, Duda pioneered the production team that was responsible for A Virtual Day in Paris. Four years later she established Virtue Arts, a technology software company. In 2003, she launched VirtuePlay, a digital game software developer dedicated to games and virtual reality applications. VirtuePlay released the first VR simulation of the 3D Lunar surface using NASA’s data, to run VR on normal laptop computers with motion seats and military grade HMD’s. Duda’s mission is creating new software systems for VR/AR experiences with games that are engaging, enlightening & entertaining. In 2018 SciOart will release the first virtual world of its kind: Moon Racing Challenge; an astronomically and physically correct lunar exploration racing game.
David Soren is the director of DreamWorks Animation’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, the raucously subversive comedy being released on June 2, 2017. Soren previously directed Turbo, based on an original script he brought to the studio that tells the story of a snail who dreams of racing in the Indianapolis 500. He also directed Merry Madagascar, the first animated holiday television special starring the beloved quartet of Central Park Zoo animals from Madagascar and Madagascar: Escape to Africa. A DreamWorks veteran of twenty years, Soren has worked as a story artist on The Road to El Dorado, Chicken Run and Shrek. He then served as the head of story on the hit animated comedy, Shark Tale. Soren also lent his vocal talent to the film as the unforgettable shrimp. Soren joined DreamWorks after graduating from Sheridan College, located near his hometown of Toronto, Canada. During his summers, Soren worked as an animator and storyboard artist at Nelvana in Toronto. His short film Mr. Lucky, which was his final student project at Sheridan College received several accolades from various awards and film festival competitions. Most notably, Mr. Lucky was accepted into competition at the 1997 Academy Awards®.
Tom McGrath, director of DreamWorks Animation’s The Boss Baby, has been working in the field of entertainment for more than 20 years. A multifaceted talent, Tom also starred in, and executive produced, DreamWorks Animation’s Penguins of Madagascar. Following the runaway success of 2005’s box-office hit Madagascar, for which he directed and voiced the lead penguin Skippe, McGrath reprised the same roles in the franchise’s movies and TV shows. McGrath also directed DreamWorks’ 2010 movie Megamind. Prior to joining DreamWorks Animation, Tom worked in the areas of story and concept design for such features as Cats & Dogs and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He also worked as an animator and story artist on such animated films as Space Jam and Cool World. His TV work includes The Ren & Stimpy Show, as well as other projects for Nickelodeon. In addition, Tom has worked on the shorts Herd and The Thing What Lurked in the Tub and as a directing animator on national commercials for Coors Light and Subaru.
For Despicable Me 3, Kyle Balda (Directed by) once again joins fellow Minions director Pierre Coffin. Balda has been working professionally in feature animation for the past two decades. He began his career studying traditional animation at California Institute of the Arts in 1991 and continued his training with LucasArts and Pacific Data Images. In 1993, Balda joined the crew of Industrial Light & Magic, contributing to such films as The Mask and Mars Attacks! and serving as animation supervisor on Jumanji. After working as animator on Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners at Weta Digital in New Zealand, Balda returned to California to work at Pixar Animation Studios as an animator on A Bug’s Life and Monsters, Inc. and as directing animator on Toy Story 2. Alongside Chris Renaud, Balda co-directed Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. Balda has also directed numerous Dr. Seuss and Minions shorts for Illumination.
Karen Idelson is an entertainment technology writer and former visual effects artist who writes for Animation Magazine, Variety and the DGA Quarterly among other publications. Karen has written extensively on the visual effects industry in both film and television. Her coverage includes everything from emerging talents to the software and techniques they use to create the kind of VFX that enthrall audiences on big, small and mobile screens. She has also interviewed many of the most influential sound designers, sound editors, production designers and editors working today. An experienced speaker and moderator, she has hosted various panels in the legendary Hall H at Comic-Con, Animation Magazine’s World Animation Summit and the Entertainment Technology Summit hosted by Variety. Karen has also worked as a visual effects artist for Walt Disney Pictures and as a VFX supervisor for RTL in Germany.
Rita Street is an executive producer and indie development artist under the Radar Cartoons, LLC. umbrella. She is excited to be opening a second development company called Panita Productions with EP Lina Silva of Kreiworks and entertainment attorney Ken Dusick, dedicated to sourcing, developing and selling Latin American content. Rita is the co-creator of the upcoming Disney EMEA comedy, Space Chickens in Space. Her executive producer credits include: Hero: 108, which ran for two seasons on Cartoon Network; Teenage Fairytale Dropouts, which aired on The Hub and Ruby Gloom which now airs on Netflix. Rita is also the ep of a CG feature film project called 100% Wolf for producer Flying Bark in Australia. As a writer, Rita has spent her career dedicated to creating great “heroes” that audiences want to embrace (and buyers want to pick-up). This dedication led her to publish the popular ebook: “A Cartoon Girl’s Secret Guide to Developing Kids’ Comedies That Sell.” Rita is the founder of the international non-profit organization, Women In Animation. She is also proud to have served as a former publisher of “Animation Magazine.”
Irina was born in Moscow, Russia. She received bachelor’s degrees from Russian and Dutch universities with concentrations on International Business and Marketing. Her favorite subject became Intercultural Communications, which led her to her next degree from the London School of Economics, where she studied Global Media and Communications. Her focus was on exploring globalization, communications and society. After receiving a master’s degree from LSE, Irina went on to receive another master’s from the University of Southern California, this time focusing on Global Media Industries and Hollywood. During her time at USC, Irina produced a TV miniseries CON. CON season one was nominated for an Emmy by the Television Academy’s College Television Awards and won 3rd place in the Scripted Drama category. Irina is now working with the LAStudio team on developing and producing cross-format and multi-platform global animated franchise Bremen Kingdom.
David Kwok is the founder and CEO of Tiny Island Productions, Singapore’s leading Stereoscopic 3D CG animation production company. David is also an animation consultant in Entrepreneurship in Animation and IP creations, mentoring animation startup in Asia as well as North America. Tiny Island Production creates, manages and markets quality content for the global CG animation market. The company’s Animated series ‘Dream Defenders’ has reached out to close to 80 countries and also won the Asia Image Apollo Awards 2013 for Best 3d Animation. It also has also worked on the award winning Ben10: Destroy All Aliens. In 2017, it formed a JV with partners Shellhut Entertainment, and signed a 10-feature-film co-production deal with Shanghai WingsMedia, a subsidiary of China’s 2nd largest media group, Shanghai Media Group.
The World Animation & VFX Summit - 11/3 — 11/5/2019 - Copyright © Animation Magazine
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