VP Creative of Animation
Terry Kalagian is a multifaceted entertainment executive with almost twenty years of experience across various disciplines of the entertainment industry including IP development strategy, creative and business development, content sourcing, acquisitions and co-productions. She has assisted both U.S. and international entertainment organizations drive new business and develop, acquire, and produce new properties for both children and family audiences. She is proud to have worked with such respected companies as Mattel, Marvel, Cartoon Network, Polygon Pictures, ADK (Asatsu-DK), Rainmaker Entertainment, and Blink Studios to name a few.
Tom van Waveren
CEO & Creative Director
Tom began his career in animation at Nelvano in 1996 as director of its London office. In 1999, Tom moved to Copenhagen to head up Egmont Imagination as its President where he was involved in the production of over 100 hours of animation. Tom started his own company in 2004 and merged his pipeline of projects with Cake in 2006. Since that date, he has been responsible for scouting, development and the executive production of all Cake content. Tom has been nominated there times for a daytime Emmy and is currently overseeing a development slate involving properties from pre-school to animation for 6-12 years as well as overseeing all of Cake’s productions. He is also the chair of Animation Producers Netherlands, and vice-chair of Animation in Europe.
Producer, Creator, Media Expert
Film UA Group
Iryna is a Ukraine-based film and TV producer specializing in animated features, original formats, media management, international content acquisitions and distribution. She has been an international content acquisitions executive for Inter Media Group and the co-founder and CEO of Ukrainian media consulting group Media Resources Management. From 2010-2014, Iryna was head of TET TV Channel. She is also the producer of the much-anticipated new animated feature by Animagrad Studio’s Mavka: The Forest Song. She was nominated for a National Teletriumph Award for producing the TV series Doctor on Call.
Based on 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 int he 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.
Producer, Animation Consultant
Throughout his career, Max Howard created and ran studios for Disney in London, Paris, Orlando and Los Angeles, working on some of Disney’s most memorable films including Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. As President of Warner Bros Feature Animation, he oversaw such hit movies as The Iron Giant and Space Jam. At DreamWorks, he was co-executive producer for Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron. His recent credits include producing a series of animated feature films for Exodus Film Group – Igor (2008), The Hero of Color City (2014) and the upcoming Bunyan and Bas. Max also served as an executive producer on the 2013 Christmas movie, Saving Santa. In the works is a slate of independent animated feature films including A Matter of Tim, Gecko, The Pied Piper, 100% Wolf, and a TV series, Planet Wrong. Throughout his career, Max has worked with UNICEF to bring health and social messages to developing countries through the use of animation.
David L. Simon
International Animation Producer & Executive
Simon Brothers Media
David L. Simon is a global entertainment industry veteran whose professional career has encompassed the U.S. and the world as a senior executive with major media companies including Fox, Disney and DreamWorks. Simon launched and operated television channels in the United States and international territories, with an extensive background producing content. He was VP of programming for the Fox Television Stations. Simon went on to establish and operate Disney’s first international television production company in London as Senior VP & Managing Director, producing 45 series in 40 countries. He also launched the first international Disney Channels and Super RTL in Germany, as its chairman of the board, and served as head of DreamWorks TV Animation Studio. He founded Simon Bros. media, attracting domestic and international clientele including Fox, MGM, Microsoft, Sony, Turner, and set up animation studios in Los Angeles and Berlin.
Co-head of Animation & Exec Producer
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 EP 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 U.S., 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 Master’s Degree in test and performance studies from RADA and Kings Colege 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.
Creative Director & CEO
Brain Zoo Studios
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 trailers, 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.
Lin Zhang started his first animation company while still at university studying animation. After earning his degree, Mr. Zhang explored the management and creative styles of leading companies, and then put those experiences to work, founding DeZerlin Media in 2010. DeZerlin’s first product was the graphic novel, Dragon Resurrection, published globally by powerhouse Dark Horse Comics, and now in development as a live-action feature. Since then, Zhang has built DeZerlin into one of the preeminent IP and content houses in Asia, with long-term relationships in animation, live action, games, publishing, and merchandise across Europe, Asia, and the United States, including a recently-signed $100 million co-pro pact with the U.K. Under Zhang’s vision and leadership, the company is focused on creating broad worlds and vast universes from which characters and stories for all media can be drawn and developed.
Producer, Animation & Live-Action Executive
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.
A 38-year veteran of Walt Disney Feature Animation, Glen Keane is most noted for creating and animating such legendary Disney characters as Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and Tarzan. Keane also served as Supervising Animator and Executive Producer on Disney’s 2010 box office hit, Tangled. In 1972, Keane applied to study at the California Institute of the Arts as a Fine Art major. By accident, his portfolio was submitted and accepted to the School of Film Graphics (Animation). Although unintended, he decided to continue to follow this path. At the age of 19, he discovered animation was a combination of all the arts. He immediately fell in love with the medium that would stay with him for the rest of his career. He joined Disney in 1974 where he trained under Walt Disney’s legendary animators Ollie Johnson, Frank Thomas, and Eric Larson. Keane began his journey animating scenes on The Rescuers before being promoted to directing animator on The Fox and the Hound. Keane is the recipient of the 2008 Windsor McCay Award for Lifetime Achievement in Animation, the 2012 Tex Avery Award, and was a 2013 Disney Legend Award honoree for his contribution in Animation. In 2012, Keane departed Disney to begin Glen Keane Productions as a way to further his artistic explorations in animation, design and film. He has created films for Google, the Paris Ballet, Riot Games, and most recently, Kobe Inc. His latest film, Dear Basketball is a collaboration with basketball legend Kobe Bryant and maestro John Williams.
Co-founder & ECD
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
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
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).
Gregory Little is Rainmaker & Mainframe Studios’ senior content executive, responsible for creative development, content strategy and content-related business development, and works closely with the Frederator team following Rainmaker and Frederator’s merger as Wow! Unlimited Media. This is Greg’s second stint at Rainmaker/Mainframe, where he was previously head of development and responsible for bringing Escape From Planet Earth and many other projects to the company. Before returning to Rainmaker, he headed Brown Bag Films’ US office for four years and was VP Development for The Gotham Group, in charge of the company’s first-look deal with Sony Pictures Animation.
Executive VP, Physical Production
DreamWorks Animation TV
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.
EVP Family Entertainment
Lions Gate Entertainment
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.
Ramin Zahed is the Editor-in-Chief of the Los Angeles-based monthly publication, Animation Magazine. He has been covering the animation and visual effects industry for over 15 years. Before joining Animag, he was senior editor at Daily Variety and PBS. His articles have also appeared in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times, Wired.com and The Christian Science Monitor. His recent books on animation include The Art of DreamWorks, The Art of Rise of the Guardians and The Art of Home (Insight Books, March 2015). He is the producer of Fuhu’s upcoming original animated series Charms: 18. Ramin has moderated numerous industry panels and served as a juror for animation and vfx festivals around the world.
Carlos Saldanha graduated from New York’s School of Visual Arts in 1993 to become one of the principal creative forces at Blue Sky Studios. He teamed with Chris Wedge to co-direct Blue Sky’s first animated features, the Oscar-nominated Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005). He also directed the Oscar-nominated animated short Gone Nutty. Saldanha took the directorial reins on both Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006) and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009), which are among the biggest grossing animated films of all time. In 2011 Saldanha created and directed Rio, a love letter to his hometown, and Rio 2 in 2013. His latest film Ferdinand, will be released in December 2017.
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.
Irene Sparre is Executive Producer at Danish based Wil Film. Irene has over 3000 minutes of animated content based on LEGO Ninjago® and LEGO Star Wars® franchises under her belt. Shows nominated for ANNIEs, BAFTAs and EMMYs. Most recent nomination was Daytime EMMY 2017 based on LEGO Star Wars®. Irene oversees projects, ensuring stable, creative processes via streamlined communication and cooperative workflows. Connecting clients, partners, and vendors throughout US, Europe, and Far East Asia. For 25 years Irene has produced and co-produced a variety of animated shows. Always out of Denmark, but with the global animation scene as her workspace. In 2006 Irene founded Nordic Technical Directors Forum (NTDF) – an association strengthening professional sparring, exchange of know-how, and networking between Nordic technical teams. Building up long-term relationships, encouraging transparency, continued learning among creatives, production personnel as well as technical teams are where Irene’s core vision lies when producing.
Composer, Sound Designer
Joel Douek is an award-winning composer and sound designer whose work has brought many top Virtual Reality experiences and BAFTA and Emmy-winning productions to life. Born in London, Joel draws heavily on his background in music and neuroscience to guide & innovate the use of sound to bring meaning, realism and emotion to the world of VR. He regularly speaks on panels & workshops such as AES-AVAR, VRLA and others, sharing the ideas and workflows Ecco VR have developed to create best-in-class spatial sound for VR & AR. Joel has also scored over 80 documentaries, hundreds of TV episodes, blockbuster animés, feature films, commercials and sonic brands such as IMAX and Hulu originals.
Animation Exec, Production Specialist
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.
Executive Producer & Partner
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.
The Gotham Group
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.
The LEGO Batman Movie
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.
Writer/Producer, Founder & Chief Creative Director
Alison Norrington is a writer/producer, Founder & Chief Creative Director of storycentral, a London-based entertainment studio that incubates and develops ground-breaking transmedia properties with global partners in film, television, animation, publishing, advertising, branding, theme parks, Virtual Reality and gaming. As CEO/CCO of storycentral, Alison has worked on a range of intellectual properties that are founded on robust story worlds with strong core themes and have genuine and relevant touch points across a host of media channels. She specializes in storytelling that amplifies fan incubation and engagement, experience design, extending IP & franchises, community build through story and storyworld strategy, incubation & development – all centered around a strong robust core of story architecture, theme, awareness of audience and experience design. Alison is a best-selling novelist, playwright and journalist, a PhD researcher with an MA in Creative Writing & New Media. Over her 22-year career she has worked with and consulted to SundanceTV, CBS Interactive, Walt Disney Imagineering, FOX International, AMC Networks, DR (Denmark), Harlequin Mills & Boon, McCann, Coca Cola, DeBeers Group of Companies, UK Police Force, Schleich GmbH, F&W Media, Eurovision Broadcasting Union, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre. Alison is Conference Chair for StoryWorld Conference & Expo in Los Angeles, Exec Producer of the Virtual Reality Thread for Children’s Media Conference and a two-time TEDx speaker. She is featured on the BAFTA Guru series and is a member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, The Writers Guild of Great Britain and Women in Film & TV.
Mary T. Duda
VR pioneer, Media Ecology Expert, CEO/President
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®.
The Boss Baby
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.
Fred Seibert is the founder of Frederator Networks, the Chief Creative Officer of WOW! Unlimited Media, and a serial media entrepreneur. He was the first creative director of MTV and the last president of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. Fred founded Next New Networks (acquired by YouTube). He’s on the board of directors of Sawhorse Media, and was the first investor in Tumblr. Frederator Networks is Channel Frederator, the leading online cartoon network, Frederator Studios, an independent production company with hits on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, Cartoon Hangover, the home of Bravest Warriors and Bee & PuppyCat (the most funded web series Kickstarter in history), and Frederator Books. Frederator distributes hundreds of independently owned, animator operated, YouTube channels. WOW! Unlimited Media is the merger of Frederator, Rainmaker Entertainment, and Ezrin Hirsh (founded by veteran producer Bob Ezrin and animation pioneer Michael Hirsh).
Despicable Me 3
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.
Writer & VFX Artist
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.
SC Films International
Simon Crowe is a veteran of international sales and distribution, including Icon Entertainment Internationals (Mel Gibson’s What Women Want, Passion of the Christ) and Capitol Films (Lucky Number Slevin/Bruce Willis, Prairie Home Companion/Meryl Streep). In 2008 Simon set up SC Films International (www.scfilmsinternational.com) in London, which focuses on family animation films. Recent titles include The Reef, Yellowbird, Monkey King, Big Fish & Begonia, Charming and in production White Fang and Pachamama.
Radar Cartoons LLC
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.”
Global Content and Business Development Manager/Associate Producer
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.
A graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Dorota Kobiela was awarded the Minister of Culture scholarship for special achievements in painting and graphics for four consecutive years. Through friends Dorota discovered animation and film, and immediately threw herself into learning these new artistic disciplines, attending The Warsaw Film School, Direction Faculty. She has directed one live action short film, The Hart in Hand (2006) and five animated shorts – The Letter, Love me, Mr.Bear, Chopin’s Drawings and Little Postman. Little Postman is the world’s first and only Stereoscopic Painting Animation film, and won Stereoscopic Best Short Film at the LA 3D Film Festival, 3D Stereo Media (Liege), 3D Film & Music Fest (Barcelona). For her sixth animated short, Loving Vincent, Dorota aimed to combine her passion for painting and film, and intended to paint the entire film herself. However once she expanded the project into a feature film the task of writing and directing was such that she had to content herself with directing the 125 painters. Loving Vincent is her feature film debut.
Stephen Clee is an Animation Supervisor at Method Studios Vancouver. For the Netflix/Plan B production, Okja, he worked closely with VFX Supervisor Erik-Jan De Boer and Director Bong Joon Ho, puppeteering the title character in nearly 300 shots and supervising the animation team through post-production. In addition to Okja, Stephen has animated or led on the following feature films: Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb, Maze Runner, Nine Lives, The Legend of Tarzan, The 5th Wave, San Andreas, White House Down, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Prior to working at Method, he worked on numerous video game and television productions and is both a digitally and classically trained animator.
Head of Creative Industries, North America
UK Department for International Trade
Tim heads the Creative and Digital Media team for the UK’s Department for International Trade in the United States and Canada. His team is responsible for foreign direct investment and UK export activity across film, television, animation, music, advertising, video games, digital and social media and design. He also leads strategic relationships with major investors in the entertainment industry across Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Before joining the Department for International Trade, he was a senior policy advisor at the Cabinet Office in London. He studied at the University of Bristol and the University of Southern California, and has lived in Los Angeles since 2013 with his partner, Shatara who works in the film industry, and their dog, Oscar who does not.
Frank’s boutique consulting, development, financing, production and distribution company Surprise Bag, Inc., collaborates with global partners to create, finance and monetize awesome content for international co-productions. Previously as EVP, Kids, Family and Animation for Tricon Film’s & Television, Frank launched, grew and supervised all aspects of the division, leveraging the company’s existing infrastructure. Frank’s has served as SVP of Family Television for Entertainment One, SVP of Kids and Animation for Blueprint Entertainment, Co-CEO/Creative Director of PASI (Philippine Animation Studio, Inc.) and a Development Executive with VH1/MTV Networks during his three-decade career. Frank’s credits include recent BAFTA nominee Counterfeit Cat for Disney XD, gender- bending classics Pee-wee’s Playhouse, (CBS), Bob & Margaret (Comedy Central) and Ren & Stimpy, (Nickelodeon), as well as a stint as Producer/Director with Prince’s Paisley Park Studios. Frank holds an MFA from New York University where he won a Ten Best Student Oscar.
Exec Producer, Media Consultant
As an independent producer, Sander develops live-action and animated content for domestic and international exhibitors and distribution platforms and also provides advisory services to film and TV companies in the U.S., Europe, China and Russia. He recently developed and produced the series Skylanders Academy for ActiVision Film & Television Group, which airs on Netflix. Sander was President of Warner Bros. Animation between 2001 and 2007, followed by President, International Productions of Sony Pictures Television between 2007 and 2009, and was President of FremantleMedia’s Kids and Family Entertainment Division from 2009 through 2013. Prior to that, Sander established Columbia TriStar TV’s Children’s Programming (CTTP). He also served as Exec VP of TMS Entertainment, a subsidiary of the iconic Japanese animation production company, Tokyo Movie Shinsha. Sander has received many Emmy nominations and was awarded an Emmy for producing The Batman series for Kids WB. He has also received numerous other awards for kids programming, including the Humanitas, Peabody Award, and Prism Awards. What’s New Scooby Doo, Xiaolin Showdown, Teen Titans, Justice League Unlimited, Johnny Test, Krypto the Superdog, Jackie Chan Adventures, Max Steel, Dragon Tales and Men in Black: The Series and among the many acclaimed shows produced by Sander through the years.
John Derevlany is an award-winning writer, creator, and showrunner of hit TV shows for children, including LEGO Legends of Chima, Wayside, Monster Buster Club, Gerald McBoing Boing, and Jim Henson’s Animal Jam.He is currently writing and showrunning the animated comedy, Squish, for Gulli/Cottonwood (premieres 2018)
Academy Award nominee Timothy Reckart is currently making his feature directing debut on Sony Pictures Animation’s faith-inspired, computer-animated feature The Star, set for theatrical release on November 17, 2017. Timothy first drew attention with his thesis film at the National Film & Television School in the U.K., Head Over Heels, about a long-married couple who have literally grown apart, with the wife living on the ceiling of their house and her husband living on the floor. Head Over Heels had a very successful run in festivals, which ultimately brought the film an Oscar nomination and an Annie Award win for Best Student Film. Timothy is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in History & Literature. He has also obtained a masters degree in Directing Animation from the National Film and Television School.
Miles from Tomorrowland
Emmy-nominated writer and producer Sascha Paladino is the creator and executive producer of Disney Junior’s Miles from Tomorrowland and Mission Force One an intergalactic animated series that follows the outer space voyages of young adventurer Miles and his family as they help connect the universe on behalf of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. An accomplished children’s television writer, Paladino was most recently story editor and consulting producer on Disney Junior’s Henry Hugglemonster. Paladino developed and served as head writer and producer for Nickelodeon’s Ni Hao, Kai-lan. His additional writing credits include Disney Junior’s acclaimed Doc McStuffins, Team Umizoomi, Wonder Pets, Winx Club, Tickety Toc, Blue’s Clues and Sid the Science Kid.
Pieter Van Houte
With a background in traditional animation and filmmaking, Pieter is an artistic mastermind at flawlessly fusing practical and CG scene elements. His experience spans features, commercials and short films as both an artist and team lead, and he holds a soft spot for classical animation. Pieter recently oversaw compositing for Okja, on which he was charged with integrating a giant CG superpig and practical footage with utmost realism. Over his career spanning more than two decades, he has contributed his talents to Sony Pictures Imageworks and Uncharted Territory, among other studios, with credits including Edge of Tomorrow, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Oz the Great and Powerful and Hugo, which earned the Academy Award for VFX.
Serge Patzak is co-founder and managing partner of 1stAveMachine, a mixed-media production company, storytelling, and management outfit. Born and raised in Vienna, Austria, his father is a prolific filmmaker and fine artist, and his mother is a clinical psychologist. He moved to New York City in 1997 to attend NYU, where he graduated with degrees in cognitive psychology and math. After seeing Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, he sought out the director and started PAing for him before being promoted to a producing role. While working for Aaronofsky, he met Arvind Palep who he later formed 1stAveMachine with. Over the last thirteen years, he has grown 1stAveMachine from a small two-person office in Manhatten to a global company with offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London.
Miles from Tomorrowland
Audrey Ford has worked in the Animation industry for the past 19 years, getting her start at Disney Feature Animation working on films such as Tangled, Treasure Planet, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons and Bolt. She moved over to children’s television in 2012, serving as production manager on Disney Junior’s animated series Sheriff Callie’s Wild West and line producer on Disney Junior’s STEAM-focused series, Miles from Tomorrowland. Audrey believes that the role of the producer and the production team is to support the creative vision, coming up with out-of-the-box solutions to any hiccups that come up along the way. Her main goal on a project is to maintain an up-beat and supportive working environment, while keeping the project on-schedule.
Cory Jamieson, co-founder of Barnstorm VFX, has worked in visual effects and post production for over ten years. He has supervised or produced visual effects for many television and streaming projects, including HBO’s Silicon Valley, Man in the High Castle on Amazon, and The Good Wife on CBS, among dozens of others. He began his career in visual effects as an in-house compositor at ABC, where he met VFX Supervisor Lawson Deming. They founded Barnstorm VFX in 2011 and offer high-end visual effects services to a variety of clients. Even as it grows, Barnstorm maintains close relationships with the people on the shows it works on, bringing a personal touch to a technology-driven industry.
Miles from Tomorrowland
Max Miceli is an award-winning illustrator and designer with nearly 20 years of experience in the animation industry. After graduating from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, he joined Klasky Csupo studios as a designer and development artist on various films and Emmy Award-winning animated TV shows for clients including Nickelodeon, Spike TV, McDonalds, Comedy Central, and Cartoon Network. He would go on to art direct pilots and shorts for Klasky Csupo, PBS Sprout, and Fox, as well as commercial spots, music videos, and apps. Most recently, he has served as Art Director on Disney Junior’s Miles from Tomorrowland and Mission Force One produced at Wild Canary Animation Studios in Burbank, CA where he oversees the visual development of new and exciting projects for film and television.