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Our Judges

The Collision Awards are judged by the Collision Award Jury. From artists, writers, directors, producers, executives and leaders, they represent the best in animation and motion design from across the globe.

Our judges represent leaders and talent from across the animation and motion design community

Art&Graft
Aardman
Anagram
Atlas V
Baobab Studios
Giant Ant
Ludo
Partizan
Passion Pictures
Riot Games
Ubisoft
The Pokemon Company
Walt Disney Animation Studios

All Judges

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May Abdalla Executive Director, Anagram Immersive
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May Abdalla Executive Director, Anagram Immersive

May Abdalla is a highly acclaimed director and artist known for using physical experience, technology and storytelling in ground-breaking ways. She co-founded Anagram, a multi-award winning studio to explore the use of immersive technology in non-fiction storytelling. Their work spans many forms ranging from a blindfolded experience about being lost that took place in a 6000 sq ft sensory set (Door Into The Dark, Winner of Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes Award 2015) to an augmented reality journey through a park leading you to uncover the intelligence of plants and the limitations of humans (Messages to A Post Human Earth, International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam, Immersive Non-Fiction, 2021).

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Marc Aguesse Founder, Catsuka
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Marc Aguesse Founder, Catsuka

Marc Aguesse is the founder of Catsuka – a french website dedicated to animated movies launched in 2000 – a television show broadcasted during 8 years on french channel Nolife – a section on the french animation magazines Animeland and Animascope. His passion for animated content and his desire to expose the richness of animation to the general public pushed him to work with several festivals and organizations – including Paris' Centre Pompidou, the French Animated Film Association (AFCA), Japan Expo, PIFFF festival, and many others. He also collaborated on several crowdfunding campaigns (Lastman, Black Holes...). In 2012, he was asked to become the editor-in-chief of "Nuit 4.0" show broadcasted on the french channel France 4. Since 2016, he's a permanent member of The French Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques, and of the Animation Short Films Preselection Committee (for the Cesar ceremony). He also worked for other companies, like french comics publisher Groupe Delcourt (as Webmaster), and Bobbypills & Bobby Prod animation studios (as Communication Manager).

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Emilie Nhils Almaida Animator & Co-head of Paris City POP
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Emilie Nhils Almaida Animator & Co-head of Paris City POP

Emilie Nhils Almaida is a french 2D animator based in Paris. A Gobelins animation school graduate, with 9 years of experience in feature films, tv and commercials, and teaching – she is also co-head of the Paris City Pop illustration event, working with Paris city hall to bring a platform to the best of animation, illustration, and comic artists.

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Safaa Benazzouz Executive Vice President of Distribution, Xilam Animation
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Safaa Benazzouz Executive Vice President of Distribution, Xilam Animation

Safaa Benazzouz is Executive Vice President of Distribution at the Academy Award®-nominated French animation studio, Xilam Animation. With over 10 years’ experience in the children’s television industry, Safaa currently leads the worldwide distribution strategies across Xilam’s new and forthcoming productions, including Karate Sheep, Oggy Oggy and Buddybot, alongside its existing catalogue titles such as Oggy and the Cockroaches, Zig & Sharko, Where’s Chicky? And Athleticus. Safaa is also responsible for driving sales across the US, UK, Ireland, Germany, South Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America; and manages four teams within Xilam’s distribution department: international sales, digital, licensing and marketing.

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Joe Burrascano Founder, Nathan Love
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Joe Burrascano Founder, Nathan Love

Joe Burrascano is the Founder and driving creative force behind Nathan Love, a celebrated animation production studio known for its iconic characters, lovable animation and expansive world-building capabilities. With a passion for storytelling, Joe and his studio have carved a name for themselves in the world of animation, contributing to and helping shape the industry of branded entertainment for the past 20 years. After attending SVA in New York City, Joe worked at some of the most prestigious studios in Manhattan while returning to his college as an educator. In the pursuit of a studio with a unique voice, he established Nathan Love as an independent production studio committed to pushing the art of character animation and storytelling. Under his leadership, the studio has garnered acclaim for its innovative approach, blending cutting-edge technology with timeless storytelling to craft captivating narratives that resonate with viewers and clients alike. The studio has produced an impressive array of commercials, branded content, short films, and series. Beyond his achievements as a Producer and Director, Joe is deeply invested in teaching the next generation of animators and storytellers. He actively engages with aspiring artists, sharing his knowledge and insights to empower them to realize their creative visions. As Nathan Love continues to evolve and innovate under Joe’s guidance, he remains steadfast in his dedication to crafting meaningful experiences that leave a lasting impression.

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Marcello Buselli Founding Partner & Managing Director, BOL
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Marcello Buselli Founding Partner & Managing Director, BOL

Marcello Buselli is a Founding Partner and Managing Director at BOL, animation production company representing a hand-picked roster of artist. He began his career as a Director at animation studio Device, which he co-founded in 2011. Over the course of nine years, Marcello contributed to Device's evolution, culminating in the inception of the BOL project under the same company, currently running both brands. Transitioning from creative roles to executive and managerial positions, Marcello has cultivated a holistic perspective of the industry. He is driven by a passion for nurturing meaningful relationships, cultivating company culture and embodying principles of conscious leadership: providing the tools and enabling the space for both their partners and team to thrive and prosper. His dedication to these values not only shapes the ethos of BOL but also serves as a guiding force in his ongoing journey of personal healing and growth. He has worked on campaigns for clients such as YouTube, the Utah Jazz, Spotify, Montblanc, Away or Meta among others.

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Kev Cheah Partner, U.S. Chief Creative Officer, Brunswick Creative
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Kev Cheah Partner, U.S. Chief Creative Officer, Brunswick Creative

Kev is a core member of Brunswick Creative’s practice group in the U.S. He leads an award-winning team of designers, writers and art directors, delivering transformative campaigns and strategies for clients both in the U.S. and globally. An expert in building brands and integrated campaigns, he believes in the multi-faceted power of creativity and storytelling to help brands address their most pressing issues. He balances a deep understanding of insight-driven strategies with creative intuition to drive meaningful change.

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Mingjue Helen Chen Production Designer
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Patricia Claire Founder, Free Agents
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Patricia Claire Founder, Free Agents

Honest and provocative, Patricia Claire has built a highly visible, much admired talent agency in Free Agents—inspiring her clients and her team, to celebrate the best possible expression of … themselves. Passionately committed to the value of every artist’s clear voice, her strategy calls on clients to amplify their strengths, igniting impressive results. It’s a philosophy that carries through to her much loved and highly regarded team. Patricia’s laudable track record includes strategic consulting and branding–while her company has represented a Who’s Who of talented artists and studios. Passion, ManvsMachine, Elastic, Nexus, Hornet, Strange Beast, The Line, Tendril, Buck, Psyop, Golden Wolf, Titmouse, 1st Avenue Machine, and Pixar … to name a few :) Today she remains ardently committed to the development and success of the Free Agents’ roster, that continues to celebrate the perfect complement of current and future stars. Patricia enjoys a huge extended family—including FA cohorts, along with many long-standing and beloved clients. She’s nurtured a succession of huge dogs, one large husband and three adored children who all share her independent spirit.

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Shofela Coker Director & Illustrator
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Shofela Coker Director & Illustrator

Shof is a Nigerian illustrator and Annie nominated director. In the past, he has worked as an art director and character designer for several studios. He co-created and illustrated New Masters, an Africanfuturist graphic novel published by Image Comics in 2022. His animated works include such projects as the animated documentary, Liyana and the Disney+ short film, Moremi. He is currently working on a new film titled, Crocodile Dance. Shof’s primary influence comes from a love of Yoruba mythology, sculpture, and the printmaking craft of Southwestern Nigeria.

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Justin Cone Global Head of Communications, BUCK
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Justin Cone Global Head of Communications, BUCK

Justin has been a designer, technologist and communicator for over 20 years. As the co-founder of Motionographer and the F5 festival, he built a reputation for championing creative work across disciplines and celebrating new voices around the world. Justin currently serves as the Global Head of Communications for BUCK. Over his career, he’s worked for Apple, Adobe, Apple, NBC-Universal, Gensler, Psyop, and SCAD in roles spanning creative leadership, education, and production management, creating work for Fortune 100 clients including Coca-Cola, AT&T, OpenAI, and Citibank, among many others.

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Sébastien Cosset Illustrator, Comic Book Author & Visual Development Artist
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Sébastien Cosset Illustrator, Comic Book Author & Visual Development Artist

Sébastien Cosset is a French illustrator and comic book author born in 1975 in Paris. Under the pseudonym Kerascoet with Marie Pommepuy, he draws around fifteen comic book albums with writers such as Hubert, Vehlmann, Sfar, Trondheim, Bianco, and Flore Vesco, as well as children's albums with different publishers over a period of 20 years (since 2014, they write children's books directly in English). At the same time, since 2001, they have created numerous visuals in the field of communication for luxury brands and worked on the design of Parisian department stores in France and Japan. They have also been involved in the field of animation in different positions since 2004, recently as graphic authors of the animated adaptation of “Tobie Lolness” for France Télévision and for “Migration” by Benjamin Renner at Illumination.

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Jon Crowley SVP, Head of Strategy, FUSE Create
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Jon Crowley SVP, Head of Strategy, FUSE Create

Jon Crowley is the SVP, Head of Strategy at FUSE Create, and a strategy leader with more than 15 years experience, covering nearly every type of strategic work ad agencies do, most industry verticals, and global, North American, and Canadian mandates. In the past, Jon has worked at agencies like Sid Lee, Cossette, Publicis and Diamond, with roles ranging from connections planning to managing strategy departments. With a passionate focus on figuring out the intersection point between what people actually think, and what brands need to say, he’s led work for brands including Pfizer, McDonald’s, The Home Depot, Rogers, Tim Horton’s, The Heart & Stroke Foundation, and more.

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Larry Cutler Chief Technical Officer, Baobab Studios
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Larry Cutler Chief Technical Officer, Baobab Studios

Larry Cutler brings deep technical leadership over the past 20 years in the area of animation creation and development. Larry currently serves on the Digital Imaging Technology Subcommittee for the Oscar Technical Achievement Awards. He was most recently the Vice President of Solutions at Metanautix, a big data analytics startup company (acquired by Microsoft). Prior to that, Larry spent 10 years at DreamWorks Animation where he served as Global Head of Character Technology. Larry began his career at Pixar Animation Studios as a Technical Director on the films Monster’s Inc., Toy Story 2, and A Bug’s Life. Larry holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in computer science from Stanford University.

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Marge Dean Head of Animation Studio, Skybound Entertainment
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Marge Dean Head of Animation Studio, Skybound Entertainment

Marge Dean is an Emmy®-winning producer/executive and as Head of Animation Studio at Skybound Entertainment. Known for building studios and animation pipelines, Dean was responsible for the design or re-design of several studios including Columbia-TriStar TV, Warner Brothers Animation, Mattel’s Playground Production, Omation (Steve Oedekerk), Technicolor Animation and Wildbrain Entertainment. Prior to joining Skybound, Dean was the Head of Crunchyroll Studios. In 2014, a group of women led by Dean took over the non-profit advocacy group, Women in Animation (WIA), revitalizing it. WIA has grown to a world-class advocacy organization impacting the lives of creative women, transgender and non-binary people around the world.

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Ronnie Del Carmen Writer, Director
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Ronnie Del Carmen Writer, Director

Ronnie del Carmen is an animation writer, director who Co-Directed and was one of the story writers for the 2015 Pixar film Inside Out, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. He was the story supervisor on Pixar's tenth full-length computer-animated film, Up and directed its accompanying short film, Dug's Special Mission. He joined Pixar in 2000 and left to develop animated features for Netflix Feature Animation in 2020. In 2023 Pixar’s Elemental was released where he was the voice of Bernie Lumen. Del Carmen was born in the city of Cavite, Philippines. After high school, he worked in the painting department on set for Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film Apocalypse Now, which was filming in the Philippines. He moved to the United States in 1989 and worked as a storyboard artist for Batman: The Animated Series and for DreamWorks as a story supervisor. Today he is also an executive producer, creative consultant for the entertainment industry, writer/author and public speaker for artist and creator communities.

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Melinda Dilger Executive Producer & Consultant
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Melinda Dilger Executive Producer & Consultant

An Emmy award winner and entertainment industry veteran, Melinda Dilger has had a successful career working with some of the leading animation studios in Hollywood. During her time at Walt Disney Studios, Nickelodeon, and Universal, among others, she produced over 200 episodic titles and multiple features, while forging close relationships with top talent. Dilger was most recently the Global Head of Animation Production for Riot Games’ television and film properties.

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Dan Dominguez CCO of Line Mileage
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Dan Dominguez CCO of Line Mileage

Daniel Dominguez is a feature and television writer, and CCO of Line Mileage, an adult animated feature and television production company whose theatrical adult animated slate includes two AAA video games titles, and his favorite AA title of last year, among others. An avid gamer, Daniel loves that he can straight up call playing video games "work". As CCO of Line Mileage, previously Vice President at Powerhouse Animation, he is currently producing a slate of adult animated genre projects, TV and feature, in series and development, IP and original, with and for Netflix, Amazon, WIIP, Sony, Warner, Bad Robot, Dreamworks, and is among those leading the exciting new charge in Hollywood into theatrical adult animated feature film. As a writer, Daniel has sold over twenty television series and feature films, live action and animation, adult and kids, comedy and genre to Amazon, Netflix, Max, Warner, Sony, Nickelodeon, Disney, Dreamworks, WIIP, Universal Cable Productions, and many more. His show SEIS MANOS, developed alongside Alvaro Rodrigues and creator Brad Graeber stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and was the first original adult animated genre series to come out of western streamers, on Netflix. In TV, he last served as head writer on an adult animated genre series for HBO Max. Most recently, Daniel co-wrote Dreamwork’s first theatrical R-rated original genre feature film in development, and co-wrote an original one-hour adult animated sci-fi action series with Malcolm Spellman (Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Captain America 4) for Sony.

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Dana Dorian Co-Founder Axis Studios Group
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Dana Dorian Co-Founder Axis Studios Group

Dana Dorian is a multi BAFTA-winning director with over 25 years of animation directing experience. Born in Malaysia, raised in New Jersey, and trained as a portrait painter in New York, he has always been fascinated with the human condition and storytelling. After receiving a fine art degree in NY he moved to Scotland, Dundee, where he earned a Master's Degree in Fine Art . A few months later he saw Toy Story which inspired him to pursue a career in computer animation and film making. In 1995 Dana was hired by a small CG animation company outside Glasgow where he learned to apply his painting and storytelling skills to computer animation. In Dec 1999 he co-founded Scottish based animation studio Axis Studios Group, which has since become one of the largest and most successful computer animation companies in the UK. Dana's directorial work spans several different narrative-led styles across a variety of genres. Whether it's motion capture, key-frame animation, or a combination of the two he strives to tell emotionally charged stories with dark undertones of humor and preferably a twist. Recently he's contributed to the AAA story cinematics of Halo Inifinte, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, and directed/co-wrote the popular Nickelodeon series, LEGO City Adventures.

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Everett Downing Director, Showrunner & EP
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Everett Downing Director, Showrunner & EP

Everett Downing is an Academy and Emmy award-winning director with over 20 years of experience in the animation industry. He has worked as an animator and storyboard artist on several feature film studios such as Pixar, Blue Sky, and Dreamworks Animation, where he honed his skills as a creator and director on a variety of projects. His impressive resume includes WALL*E, Ratatouille, Up, Toy Story 3, Ice Age, and Maya and the Three. In 2020, Everett received the Academy Award for directing the acclaimed animated short film Hair Love (with Matthew A. Cherry) and an Emmy in 2022 for his work on the limited series, “We the People” from Team Obama and Higher Ground. Downing was the co-creator and co-showrunner on the 2023 Netflix animated series “My Dad the Bounty Hunter” which has received several Emmy and Annie nominations. Downing has recently joined Walt Disney Animation Studios as a feature film director.

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Suresh Eriyat Founder, Studio Eeksaurus
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Suresh Eriyat Founder, Studio Eeksaurus

Born in November 1973, Suresh Eriyat is a 1997 graduate of the prestigious National Institute of Design. His journey in the world of animation began when he arrived in Mumbai in search of opportunities to create animated films. In the late 1990s, the landscape for animated storytelling in India was still in its infancy, with Indian companies primarily known for providing backend services to foreign studios. In collaboration with Famous Studios, Suresh established Famous House of Animation in 1999. This pioneering venture marked a turning point in the Indian animation industry, where he produced numerous animated ads, shorts, and music videos, breaking new ground and garnering both national and international recognition. His work redefined how animation was perceived in India. Suresh's dream of creating original animation films came closer to realization as he embarked on this journey. In 2009, he founded Studio Eeksaurus, partnering with his wife Nilima. This studio continues to raise the bar for quality Indian animation content on a global scale. Eeksaurus is also renowned as one of the top advertising film production companies in the country. Suresh's contributions to animation have been widely acclaimed. He received the first-ever Annecy Cristal for India in 2005 and has won the President of India's national award for the best animated film in 2016, 2018, and 2021. He has served on the jury panels of prestigious awards and festivals such as Clio, D&AD, Apollo, One Show, LIA, Promax, Adfest, and Krok, among others. Additionally, he has been actively involved in educating students, corporate teams and aspiring filmmakers across India. With a remarkable portfolio of over 500 films and more than 200 national and international awards, Suresh Eriyat is not only an accomplished animation filmmaker but also a trained Carnatic musician and a gifted artist. His interests extend beyond animation into the realms of philosophy, anthropology, and culture, enriching his creative perspective.

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Vanessa Esteves Supervising Creative Producer, Series Creator and Showrunner
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Vanessa Esteves Supervising Creative Producer, Series Creator and Showrunner

Vanessa Esteves is a Supervising Creative Producer, Writer, Content Creator and Showrunner with a passion for story-telling. Having over 18 years experience in the animation industry, Vanessa has worked in multiple genres with a strong focus on preschool and comedy. Vanessa works across Development and Current Series from concept to screen with a blended skillset of both creative and physical producing abilities. She has overseen many animated series and is the Co-Creator and Executive Producer on the animated comedy, Super Wish. When she’s not helping create dynamic content, she is often found watching it alongside the audience, her two young kids.

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Maureen Fan CEO, Baobab Studios
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Maureen Fan CEO, Baobab Studios

Maureen has held leadership roles in film, gaming and the consumer web. Fan was most recently VP of Games at Zynga, where she oversaw three game studios including FarmVille, which contributed 40% of the company’s revenues. Previously, she worked on Pixar's Toy Story 3 film and at eBay in product management and UI design. Her collaboration, The Dam Keeper, directed by Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo, was nominated for the 2015 Oscar Best Animated Short. Maureen was named one of ‘The Most Creative People of the Year’ by Ad Age, Top 100 Influential Asians by A100, and Variety crowned her as one of the execs to watch earning a spot on their ‘Top Digital Creatives’ list. As an advocate for diversity in entertainment, Maureen is an active member of many organizations for minority groups and women and she gave the keynote at Grace Hopper Conference, as well as presented at Women in Animation, Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit and Fast Co’s Impact Council.

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Michael Feder Founding Partner, Hornet
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Michael Feder Founding Partner, Hornet

Michael Feder is a Founding Partner of Hornet– a creative studio driving excellence in motion design, animation, and live action. Since Hornet's inception in 2001, Michael has witnessed and overseen the studio's evolution into one of the industry's leading production companies. With an impressive portfolio of award-winning work for a diverse range of brands and agencies, Michael's unwavering passion and discerning eye for design and talent remain integral to Hornet's success. Before co-founding Hornet, Michael gained invaluable experience working on several feature film productions, including projects led by renowned directors like Martin Scorsese. Transitioning off the movie set, he explored the world of visual effects and animation in Los Angeles. Michael's pivotal role in bringing the first "Ice Age" film to life, alongside his contributions to commercial work at Blue Sky Studios, served as major inspirations for establishing Hornet. Today, Hornet creates vibrant stories building on the unique voices of its directors to transform the seeds of an idea into ambitious, beautiful, and unexpected work.

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Holly Fraser Editor-in-Chief, WePresent
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Holly Fraser Editor-in-Chief, WePresent

Holly Fraser is Editor-in-chief of WePresent, the arts arm of WeTransfer, based in London. Through WeTransfer’s support of the creative community, Holly has steered projects spanning art, film, music, photography and literature with ground-breaking creatives from artist Marina Abramovic, actor and musician Riz Ahmed, author Lisa Taddeo to cultural institutions including Royal Academy of Arts to Serpentine Galleries. 

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Chris Garbutt Writer, Director, Executive Producer
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Chris Garbutt Writer, Director, Executive Producer

Chris is the co-creator, writer, director, and executive producer of both the Netflix animated interactive movie, We Lost Our Human, and the Netflix/Nickelodeon animated series, Pinky Malinky. Hailing from the north of England, Chris’ love for comics, cartoons, and storytelling has taken him from scribbling silly doodles on his bedroom floor in Yorkshire, to doing the same for studios in London, Paris, and Los Angeles. He works extensively in the worlds of animation, comics, and illustration, and has worked in the animation industry in feature films, TV series, commercials, and short films for over twenty years, enjoying various roles from creating, show-running, executive producing, writing, directing, production design, and art directing, to storyboarding, character design and background design. He has worked at Dreamworks, Netflix, Paramount, Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Warner Brothers, Aardman, Locksmith Animation, and DNEG, on animated projects such as the Gorillaz, Trolls, Puss In Boots, The Smurfs, Angry Birds, the Amazing World of Gumball, the Mr Bean Animated Series, Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends, Robotboy and Stressed Eric.

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Boyan Georgiev Lighting TD, Jellyfish Pictures & Chair @ London ACM SIGGRAPH
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Boyan Georgiev Lighting TD, Jellyfish Pictures & Chair @ London ACM SIGGRAPH

Bobby is a Lighting Artist and Realtime TD for Feature Animation. Bobby has worked among the biggest animation studios and is based in London. Some notable projects he has contributed to include The Lion King, Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal, Ron's Gone Wrong, as well films such as Nimona and Garfield.

In addition to his work in animation, he is also the Chair of the London ACM SIGGRAPH, an independent volunteer-led organization that hosts events in London for the industry.

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Shane Griffin Visual Artist & Director, GRIF Studio
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Shane Griffin Visual Artist & Director, GRIF Studio

Shane Griffin aka Grif is a multidisciplinary visual artist from Dublin, Ireland. Most recently, he was named on the Louis Vuitton's '200 Visionaries' list, and has exhibited work globally. Thematically his work focuses on nature, energy, surrealism, and light. His high-level execution blurs the lines of reality, creating worlds with thought provoking concepts, surreal visuals, and encapsulating cinematography. His collaborations boast a range of household names, creating artwork for Kanye West, music videos for Wiz Khalifa, and books for Pharell Williams. As a director, he’s created films for the likes of Apple, BMW, and Givenchy. In 2018, his art film ‘Chromatic’ debuted at the annual TED conference.

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Sam Gray Group Head of Communications, PASSION Pictures
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Sam Gray Group Head of Communications, PASSION Pictures

Sam Gray is Group Head of Communications at PASSION PICTURES. Joining the company over 7 years ago in sister studio Strange Beast, Sam is a seasoned communications professional dedicated to elevating the Oscar-winning studio’s reputation and that of its roster of directors. He drives successful festival and awards campaigns, runs marketing and PR strategy for the group and is a passionate advocate for the animation industry.

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Jinko Gotoh Producer (Finding Nemo, The Little Prince)
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Jinko Gotoh Producer (Finding Nemo, The Little Prince)

Jinko Gotoh is a BAFTA winner and an Oscar-nominated producer and consultant for the animation industry. Her strengths and passion include discovering and nurturing diversified creative talent and charting new technologies and creative processes. Born in Japan, Jinko’s passion for animation sparked at an early age after two profound experiences: a viewing of Lady and the Tramp and a resounding meeting with Astroboy's creator Osamu Tezuka. Her extensive producing screen credits include 2020 BAFTA winner and Oscar-nominated Klaus, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, BAFTA winner The Little Prince, Oscar-nominated The Illusionist, 9, and Oscar-winning Finding Nemo. Jinko started her feature animation career as the CGI producer on Space Jam. Jinko then became the Director of Digital Production at Walt Disney Feature Animation, overseeing the inevitable move to CGI animation and its extensive application on Dinosaur and many more films, including VFX work for The Secret Lab. Since leaving Pixar in 2003, Jinko’s assignments have taken her around the globe, working for major studios and independent films. Jinko is devoted to advancing women and all underrepresented people in the industry. She serves as vice president for Women in Animation and as a Board of Governors for The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

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Jorge Gutierrez Animator, Writer, Producer, Director
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Jorge Gutierrez Animator, Writer, Producer, Director

Born in Mexico City and raised in Tijuana, Gutierrez displayed an early passion for art and storytelling. He pursued his creative dreams with unwavering determination, earning a BFA and MFA degree at CalArts. His directorial debut, "The Book of Life" (2014), showcased his distinctive style, blending visually stunning animation with rich narratives inspired by Mexican folklore. Beyond his acclaimed work in film, Gutierrez has ventured into television, creating (with wife and muse Sandra Equihua) the Emmy winning animated tv series “El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera” (2008) and "Maya and the Three" (2021), which continue to enchant audiences worldwide. He's currently developing multiple projects at Netflix Animation including the animated feature film "I, Chihuahua!" with Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias.

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Dr. Maria Elena Gutierrez CEO and Executive Director of VIEW Conference
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Dr. Maria Elena Gutierrez CEO and Executive Director of VIEW Conference

Dr. Maria Elena Gutierrez is the CEO and executive director of VIEW Conference, Italy’s premiere annual digital media conference. She holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and a BA from the University of California Santa Cruz. VIEW Conference is committed to bringing a diversity of voices to the forefront in animation, visual effects, and games.

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Steve Harding-Hill Creative Director, Short Form & Commercials, Aardman
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Steve Harding-Hill Creative Director, Short Form & Commercials, Aardman

Steve’s work is firmly grounded in character, humour and craft. Graduating from the Royal College of Art back in 1995, Steve’s graduation film was nominated for the 'Best Animated Film’ BAFTA® and his first film won the BFI Award for ‘Best Animation’ in the same year. In 2016 Steve became Creative Director for Aardman’s Commercials and Short Form division and is responsible for the creative direction of this area of the studio’s output. His most recent projects include ‘The Bear and the Squirrel’, a 4D cinema experience for Efteling in The Netherlands - Aardman’s first major piece of original content for the theme-park market - and Shaun the Sheep BBC One Christmas idents.

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Jay Hasrajani Animator, Designer, Storyboard Artist & Director
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Jay Hasrajani Animator, Designer, Storyboard Artist & Director

Jaydeep Hasrajani is an animator, designer, storyboard artist and director based in Los Angeles CA. Jaydeep is the creator of Boons And Curses, an original fantasy story inspired by the South Asian myths he grew up listening to. Previously, Jaydeep has worked on The Powerpuff Girls (Cartoon Network), The Fungees (Cartoon Network), and Ghee Happy (Netflix Animation). Outside of work, Jay is on a first-name basis with every coffee shop in LA.

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Mark Simon Hewis Head of the Aardman Academy, Aardman
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Mark Simon Hewis Head of the Aardman Academy, Aardman

Mark Simon Hewis is a multi-award-winning British filmmaker. Mark’s work includes international award-winning films for the Arts Council, Channel 4, BBC and his first Feature Film, 8 Minutes Idle was released in 2014 for BFI, BBC Films, Matador and Arthur Cox. The film gained a theatrical release and was shown on streaming services around the world. Mark Simon Hewis is the head of the Aardman’s training facility, the Aardman Academy. The Aardman Academy is committed to nurturing talent by delivering excellence in film and animation training and mentoring.

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Emily Hoffman Creative Partner, Mighty Oak
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Emily Hoffman Creative Partner, Mighty Oak

Emily Ann Hoffman (she/her) is an award-winning filmmaker, animator, and artist. Her films have screened at numerous festivals, including Sundance, SXSW, and Slamdance, and have earned her Oscar-qualifying awards. Her work has been supported by prestigious programs such as the Warner Bros. Discovery Access Directors Program, the New York Film Festival Artist Academy, Sundance Institute’s Sundance Ignite, The Gotham TV-series lab and market, and the Jacob Burns Film Center’s Creative Culture. Her animation and film work have been featured on platforms such as Netflix, HBO, Quibi, Hulu, Adobe, Vimeo Staff Picks, Short of the Week, and more. She is a Creative Partner at Mighty Oak, an award-winning woman and queer-owned animation studio that aims to bring the human touch back into the picture. As a fine artist, she has participated in international residencies and her paintings and illustrations have been featured on It’s Nice That, Architectural Digest, and Fast Company. Emily holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and serves as an adjunct professor at New York University, Parsons - The New School, and the School of Visual Arts.

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Philip Hunt Partner, Director, CCO, STUDIO AKA
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Philip Hunt Partner, Director, CCO, STUDIO AKA

Philip Hunt is a partner, director, and CCO at STUDIO AKA, a multi-Emmy & BAFTA-winning animation studio based in London, known internationally for its innovative work across an eclectic range of projects. His diverse directing portfolio ranges from the multi-award-winning short film "AH POOK IS HERE," an interpretation of William S. Burroughs' recordings, to the BAFTA-winning children's film "LOST AND FOUND," adapted from Oliver Jeffers' bestselling book. Narrated by Jim Broadbent and accompanied by a score from Max Richter, the film garnered global acclaim with 61 international awards. This collaboration continued recently with a captivating and Emmy-winning half-hour animated adaptation for Apple TV+ of Jeffers' acclaimed book, the No. 1 TIME Best Book of the Year, "HERE WE ARE: Notes For Living On Planet Earth," featuring the voices of Meryl Streep, Chris O'Dowd, Jacob Tremblay, and Ruth Negga.

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Ian Jones-Quartey Showrunner, Director, Animator & Voice Actor
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Ian Jones-Quartey Showrunner, Director, Animator & Voice Actor

Ian Jones-Quartey is an Emmy- and Annie-nominated showrunner, director, animator and voice actor. He is the creator of the Cartoon Network animated series OK K.O.! LET’S BE HEROES, and an Executive Producer on STEVEN UNIVERSE and STEVEN UNIVERSE: THE MOVIE. He was also a supervisor on Cartoon Network's ADVENTURE TIME and animation director on Adult Swim's THE VENTURE BROS. His passion for animation history and his ability to merge brilliant storytelling with resourceful production strategies earned him a glowing reputation in the animation world, making him one of the most coveted collaborators in the field.

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Vaibhav Kumaresh Founder, Creative Director at Vaibhav Studios
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Vaibhav Kumaresh Founder, Creative Director at Vaibhav Studios

Vaibhav Kumaresh is an International Emmy nominated animation film maker and Founder, Creative Director at Vaibhav Studios, Mumbai. Founded in 2003, the studio has created some of India’s favourite animated content in the field of TV commercials, episodic series and channel promos: the Amaron Battery ad campaign, Chulbuli for Clinic Plus, Buladi’s AIDS awareness campaign for the West Bengal government, the Vodafone Zumis, Simpoo the angry sardaar math teacher on Channel [V] and Lamput the globally acclaimed, International Emmy nominated micro short series for Cartoon Network to name a few. The studio's maiden Hindi feature film titled Return of the Jungle is set to release soon! A Fine Arts graduate, Vaibhav studied animation film making at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. He is an active committee member and the Honorary Secretary of The Animation Society of India (TASI). Vaibhav also teaches animation and is a visiting faculty at various animation and design schools across India.

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Natalie Labarre Creative Director & Director, Hornet
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Natalie Labarre Creative Director & Director, Hornet

Natalie Labarre, Franco-American Director and Creative Director at Hornet, offers a unique blend of elegant animation style and sophisticated storytelling ability to create worlds that are modern yet layered with meaning. Her directorial debut for the MeToo movement “Daniela” earned her Best Animation honors at the 2019 AICP awards. Her commercial short for AWAY "Travel the Vote" received a Wood Pencil at the 2021 D&AD Awards. In addition, Natalie’s children's book, ‘Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of’' was longlisted for the 2020 Klaus Flugge Prize and Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2024. Clients include Meta, Amazon, Mcdonalds, Away, Kroger, Airbnb, Glamour.

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Kane Lee Chief Content Officer, Baobab Studios
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Kane Lee Chief Content Officer, Baobab Studios

Multi-Emmy Award®-winning producer Kane Lee heads content at Baobab Studios and has executive produced all the studio’s groundbreaking works including Baba Yaga (starring Kate Winslet, Daisy Ridley, Jennifer Hudson, Glenn Close), Paper Birds (starring Ed Norton), Bonfire, Crow: The Legend (starring John Legend, Oprah Winfrey), Jack, Asteroids! and Invasion!. He most recently produced Namoo for the studio, from Oscar®-nominated director Erick Oh. Lee has always led at the intersection of technology and media. He masterminded the first-ever adaptation of VR IP into theatrical feature film, with Roth Kirschenbaum Films (Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland), partnered with Baobab to bring Invasion! to the silver screen and also set up landmark first-look theatrical and streaming deals for VR IP. Outside of his work for Baobab, Lee is also a producer on such highly anticipated movies and series ranging from The Tiger’s Apprentice at Paramount, Oni at Netflix with director Dice Tsutsumi and Tonko House, 5 Worlds at Nickelodeon, The School for Good and Evil with director Paul Feig at Netflix, and writer/director Jennifer Lee’s The Way Between. Prior to joining Baobab, Lee held leadership positions as Vice President at Jane Startz Productions and in production at Blue Sky Studios, with credits including Discovery/Hasbro’s Emmy Award®-winning series Spooksville, 20th Century Fox’s Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Robots, and more. He is on the Producers Council of the PGA and is an advisor in interactive media for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

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Warren Leonhardt VP of Client Creatives, House of Cool & WildBrain
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Warren Leonhardt VP of Client Creatives, House of Cool & WildBrain

Warren Leonhardt has worked both as a Story Artist and Head of Story in the U.S., Canada, and Europe on a wide spectrum of projects. As a member of four different Oscar-nominated story crews, Warren has been developing animated feature content with studios such as Disney, Lucasfilm, DreamWorks, Netflix, Sony Pictures Animation, and Blue Sky Studios. Warren served as an associate professor at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, an adjunct professor at Sheridan College in Canada, and as a mentor at Blue Sky Studios in Connecticut, where he has helped influence some of the brightest talents currently rising in the industry. 

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Julie Lockhart Co-Founder and President of Production of Locksmith Animation
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Julie Lockhart Co-Founder and President of Production of Locksmith Animation

Julie Lockhart is the Co-Founder and President of Production of Locksmith Animation. One of the film industry’s most experienced animation producers, her work has received three Academy Award© nominations including Best Animated Film in 2013 and 2015. Before co- founding Locksmith, she held leadership roles at Aardman Animation and was producer on many of that studio’s acclaimed animated shorts, commercials and ground-breaking television series, including the Rose D’Or winning ‘Creature Comforts’ and the Emmy and BAFTA award winning ‘Shaun the Sheep’ series. Stepping into features, she developed and produced the Academy Award®-nominated feature films ‘The Pirates! A Band of Misfits’ (UK title ‘In an Adventure with Scientists’) for Sony Pictures and ‘Shaun The Sheep Movie’ for Studio Canal/Lionsgate. Whilst at Locksmith, she has been instrumental in building a brand new studio from scratch into the international high end animation feature film company it is today, as well as serving as Producer on Locksmith’s debut feature film ‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’, and Executive Producer on the company’s latest production, Richard Curtis’s ‘That Christmas’ for Netflix.

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Ulysse Malassagne Co-founder, Studio La Cachette
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Ulysse Malassagne Co-founder, Studio La Cachette

Ulysse Malassagne was born in Cantal in 1989. After completing his studies at the Gobelins animation school in 2010, he became a comic books author, and published several works with Ankama, Glénat and Milan Publishers. Working at the same time in animation, he founded in 2014 Studio La Cachette with Oussama Bouacheria and Julien Chheng, where he still works as producer, director and 2D animator. He notably produced the Genndy Tartakovsky series Primal (for which the studio received several Emmy Awards) and Unicorn Warriors Eternal, as well as an episode of the anthology series Star Wars Vision. However, he did not give up comics and continued to move from one field to another, naturally building bridges between animation and comics, and adapting his own works, notably “Le Collège Noir”, the first original show of Studio La Cachette.

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Sylvain Marc Production Designer, Illustrator & Animation Director
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Sylvain Marc Production Designer, Illustrator & Animation Director

Sylvain Marc is a French/British production designer, illustrator and animation director, with an almost fifteen years' experience in the animation industry. His practice ranges from Art direction and visual development to character design, direction, 2D/3D animation, storyboard, illustration, and comics. Currently a visdev and story artist at Netflix Animation, he has worked with studios such as Pixar, Netflix, Laika, BlueSky, Sony Pictures Animation, Locksmith, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Framestore, Psyop, Passion Pictures and Hornet, to name a few. When he's not doing art, you will find him gardening, planting trees, tending to his six sheep, four hens and two cats or building a ram pump to bring water up to the vegetable garden on his little homestead in the Basque countryside.

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Kevin Micallef Creative Director of Development & Director
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Kevin Micallef Creative Director of Development & Director

Kevin Micallef is a 29-year veteran of the Animation TV and Feature Film Industry, currently the Creative Director of Development at Nelvana Enterprises. Previously directing a number of shows that range from preschool to teen including the TV series Elinor Wonders Why which received Two Emmy Nominations, for Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Preschool Series. Grossology, which was nominated for six Canadian Screen Awards and Detentionaire, which received three Canadian Screen nominations as well as a nomination for Best Teen Series at the Cartoons on the Bay Festival. Prior to Directing, Kevin was an animator for Walt Disney Studios, Sony, Warner Bros and LucasArts on such features as Lilo and Stitch, Osmosis Jones and Eight Crazy Nights.

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Andrew Millstein Co-Head Annapurna Animation
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Andrew Millstein Co-Head Annapurna Animation

Andrew Millstein serves as Co-Head of Annapurna’s Animation division. Under Millstein and Robert Baird, the Animation division launched their critically acclaimed debut film, Nimona, on Netflix this past June 30 th . Prior to joining Annapurna, Millstein headed Fox/Disney’s Blue Sky Studios alongside Baird, where they led over 500 filmmakers and oversaw the development and production of Blue Sky’s feature animation slate. Before Disney acquired Blue Sky Studios, Millstein served as President of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Throughout his tenure at Disney, the company released blockbuster hits including Tangled, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana and Ralph Breaks the Internet.

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Mike Moloney Founder & Executive Creative Director, Art&Graft
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Mike Moloney Founder & Executive Creative Director, Art&Graft

Mike Moloney is the founder & executive creative director of Art&Graft, an independent creative studio dedicated to making brands move with beauty and intent, including Apple, Amazon, Google, Meta, Verizon & Virgin. Based in London, the studio team has a wealth of international experience and has carved out a global reputation as one of the leading players in both motion branding and character-led animation projects.

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Gilles Monteil Animation Expert, Ubisoft
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Gilles Monteil Animation Expert, Ubisoft

Gilles Monteil, a graduate of École du Mime Marceau, has been pivotal at Ubisoft since 1997. As an expert in 3D video game animation, he directed Ubisoft Montreal's animation studio. Notably, he led animation for iconic franchises like Splinter Cell, Watch Dogs, The Division, and Far Cry. Gilles's influence extended to innovative projects, including the Frankenstein animation research group. He also contributed as an animation expert at Ubisoft HQ, offering guidance to directors on ongoing projects. His lasting impact defines him as a dedicated contributor to the gaming industry.

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Marla Moore Creative Director & Head of Strategy at BUCK
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Marla Moore Creative Director & Head of Strategy at BUCK

Marla Moore is a Creative Director and the Head of Strategy at BUCK in Los Angeles, where she pushes creative to be as intelligent and impactful as it is artful. She has over a decade of experience crafting multi-tiered design systems and brand strategy for global tech brands like Meta, Google, and more; including stints in-house at Amazon and Redfin. Her BFA in design and multi-platform experience in-agency and in-house across private, public, and non-profit sectors uniquely equip her for global systems that center the human experience.

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Ng'endo Mukii Director & Professor (Tufts University)
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Ng'endo Mukii Director & Professor (Tufts University)

Ng'endo Mukii is an Annie award-winning and British Animation Award nominated film director. She is most well known for ‘Enkai,’ an episode on the Disney+ animated anthology, Kizazi Moto.At the prestigious Design Indaba conference she presented her talk, ‘Film Taxidermy and Re-Animation,’ proposing the use of animation as a means of re-humanizing the ‘indigenous’ image; a people whose ‘real’ image is burdened with stereotypes of being the ‘Other.’ Ng’endo is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, and holds a Master of Arts in Animation from the Royal College of Art. She is an alumni of the beautiful Berlinale Talents, the distinguished Urucu Media REALNESS Screenwriter’s Residency, and the incredible Goethe Institute Bahia Vila Sul artists’ residency. Her mixed-media and inter-genre approach to filmmaking, particularly focused on the experiences of indigenous African women, gives her an incredibly unique visual language and a preeminent voice in animation. She lives and works in Boston, as a Professor of the Practice at SMFA at TUFTS University.

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Ramsey Naito President of Animation for Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation
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Ramsey Naito President of Animation for Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation

Ramsey Naito is President of Animation for Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation. As President of Animation for Paramount Animation, a role which she assumed in September 2021, Naito oversees all of the animation group’s operations from development through theatrical release. Naito previously served as Executive Vice President of Paramount Animation in 2018 before assuming her role as Executive Vice President of Animation Production and Development at Nickelodeon Animation.

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Kirsten Noll Kirsten Noll
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Kirsten Noll Kirsten Noll

Kirsten Noll is a Los Angeles-based managing executive producer. With a decade of multifaceted experience, she is passionate about design-driven and multidisciplinary narratives. Having received degrees in Motion Media Design and Animation from Savannah College of Art and Design, she has a strong technical understanding of both creative and client needs. Her diverse background in live action, design/animation, and VFX has established a proficiency in all stages of production. An effective communicator and passionate problem solver, she strives to consistently furnish a high level of satisfaction with a record of cultivating new and long-term client relationships. As the media landscape continues to shift, Kirsten seeks to give guidance in the production process while expanding and further developing the Scholar brand.

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Shakira Pressley Writer & Executive Producer
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Shakira Pressley Writer & Executive Producer

Shakira Pressley is an Emmy Nominated writer and EP. She’s staffed on shows like BAT FAMILY, MIGHTY NEIN for Critical Role and Amazon, worked with Taika Waititi as the Story Editor on CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, TOMB RAIDER for Legendary, WINGS OF FIRE with Ava DuVerney, DEVIL MAY CRY, BATTLE KITTY, and MY DAD THE BOUNTY HUNTER which recently premiered on Netflix, among others. Her passion for telling diverse fantasy, action, and sci-fi stories has made her into a powerhouse creator and collaborator within the animation industry! She's also notorious as a coffee aficionado for introducing members of the animation industry to all of the specialty cafes in LA.

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Lorna Probert Executive Producer, Games & Interactive, Aardman
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Lorna Probert Executive Producer, Games & Interactive, Aardman

Lorna is responsible for Aardman’s Games and Interactive productions, generating business and overseeing the successful delivery of high-quality games, apps and immersive experiences to support the strategies of both Aardman’s own IP and those of our external clients.

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Henry Purrington Talent Director, Golden Wolf
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Henry Purrington Talent Director, Golden Wolf

Henry Purrington is the Talent Director at Golden Wolf. He began his career as a 3D generalist and creative at UK design studio ilovedust, where he worked on campaigns for Nike, MTV, and Cartoon Network. In 2013, Henry joined Golden Wolf at its inception. Since then, he has held numerous roles, ranging from Generalist Creative and Animation Lead to Creative Talent Director. He has worked on global commercial campaigns, opening titles and music videos for renowned brands such as Nike, Apple, Disney, the NBA, Ubisoft, Supercell, Adult Swim, and many more. Since Golden Wolf's acquisition by Doodles in 2023, Henry has taken on the management of Golden Wolf's talent and marketing teams. He is responsible for developing and implementing talent management programs that attract, retain, and develop top talent across both the Doodles and Golden Wolf brands.

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Troy Quane Director, Nimona & Spies in Disguise
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Troy Quane Director, Nimona & Spies in Disguise

Troy Quane is a Canadian-American veteran of the Hollywood animation industry known for directing major studio pictures including SPIES IN DISGUISE, starring Will Smith and Tom Holland, and most recently the Academy Award nominated film NIMONA based on the graphic novel of the same name by ND Stevenson. Quane began his career as a traditional animator on various feature films and top end commercials until 2005, when he accepted the opportunity to work as Storyboard Supervisor on the critically acclaimed live-action Disney film ENCHANTED. He continued working in the story department for various studios which ultimately led him to direct the twenty-two-minute short film THE SMURFS: A CHRISTMAS CAROL Quane currently resides in Ridgefield CT.

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Aurian Redson VP of Talent Development, Skydance Animation
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Aurian Redson VP of Talent Development, Skydance Animation

Aurian Redson has been in the animation industry for over twenty five years, working in various roles and learning from many of the industry's leading mentors. He believes strongly in passing that knowledge along through teaching and mentorship. Currently Aurian is VP of Talent Development at Skydance Animation.

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 Leisha Riddel Art Director
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 Leisha Riddel Art Director

Leisha Riddel is an art director from Toronto, she's worked 14 years in Games and television Animation. She also loves cats and fried chicken. She is a firm proponent of leading with integrity and compassion, and an advocate for making the industry a safe and inclusive space. She currently works at Behaviour Interactive on Dead by Daylight.

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Kim Roberson Writer, Disney Television Animation
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Kim Roberson Writer, Disney Television Animation

With over two decades of experience in the television animation industry, Kim Roberson has worn numerous hats throughout her career. From prop and character design to storyboarding and directing, Kim has contributed to an array of acclaimed shows, including Disney TV Animation’s Phineas and Ferb and Amphibia, Nickelodeon's Pig Goat Banana Cricket, and Cartoon Network's Camp Lazlo. In 2019, Kim took on a new role as a Creative Manager at Netflix, consulting on over 20 animated projects, and helping navigate the unique production needs of a burgeoning animation studio. As of 2023, Kim has returned to Disney TV Animation as a staff writer for the new Phineas and Ferb series of which she was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for Animation in 2010.

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Kevin Robinson Founder, Creative Dept
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Kevin Robinson Founder, Creative Dept

Kevin Robinson is an award-winning design leader with decades of experience as a director, entrepreneur, executive creative director, strategist, and advisor. Throughout his professional career, Robinson founded and led Juniper Jones, a multidisciplinary studio, and most recently, Creative Dept, a new platform whose mission is to provide access to extremity-vetted talent on a fractional monthly basis; allowing brands to easily build internal creative teams and for individual creatives to establish micro-studios. Robinson has worked on numerous creative marketing campaigns, helping companies such as Disney, WarnerMedia, Squarespace, Compass, Mailchimp, Turner, Peacock, and TED create content across all media channels. Many of these brands were acquired shortly after these marketing campaigns ran; Chewy (acquired by PetSmart for 3.3 Billion, the largest e-commerce sale ever), Krave (acquired by Hershey), RXBar (Acquired by Kellogg’s). Most recently, he helped Tubi, through Mischief & Juniper, create a Superbowl Ad that pranked the entire nation. Kevin has always been interested in working at the forefront of technological advances and has integrated many of these technologies into campaigns, creating AR experiences for Dell, Delta, Starset, and Funko. Robinson has been recognized by PromaxBDA, Clio Awards, Telly Awards, Motionographer, Stash, The Creative Factor, and has participated in a number of speaking engagements including NAB and the Confessions of a Creative Director Podcast.

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Michael Ruocco Director, Animator & Story Artist
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Michael Ruocco Director, Animator & Story Artist

Michael Ruocco moved out to LA after graduating from the animation program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Since then, he's worked on numerous animated productions as an animator, storyboard artist and storyboard supervisor, not limited to "BoJack Horseman", "Wabbit/New Looney Tunes", "Looney Tunes Cartoons", "The Cuphead Show!", "StoryBots: Answer Time!" and "Helluva Boss". He also performs minor voice-over work for productions, including voicing Beaky Buzzard for "Looney Tunes Cartoons". Outside his studio work, he creates his own independent short films and does freelance animation work for various independent projects across the globe.

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Phil Rynda Director of Original Animation, The Pokémon Company International
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Phil Rynda Director of Original Animation, The Pokémon Company International

Phil Rynda is an Emmy Award winning animation executive, artist, and educator. With a career spanning over 20 years, he has worked across animated series, features, and games. Prior to his current role, he served as executive leadership at Netflix Animation Studio whose productions include The Seabeast, Maya and the Three, Cuphead, and Battlekitty. He worked in content development at both Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network as Vice President and Creative Director, respectively. He contributed to projects such as Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Glitch Techs, Over the Garden Wall, Steven Universe, and We Bare Bears.

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Selma Sabera Executive Creative Producer and Technical Producer, 4Realz
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Selma Sabera Executive Creative Producer and Technical Producer, 4Realz

Selma Sabera is a producer and engineer who specializes in game engine applications for immersive experiences. She is an alumnus of Industrial Light & Magic, Pixar, and Meow Wolf. Selma produced projects that won the Auggie Award, the Telly Award, an Epic Games Mega Grant, and a Magic Leap Grant. Selma is passionate about mentoring young women to join the gaming, VFX, and animation industry.

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Charlie Sells Joint MD/Creative Director at Jelly/TBM Group
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Charlie Sells Joint MD/Creative Director at Jelly/TBM Group

Charlie Sells is Founder, Creative Director and Joint MD of global production company and artist management agency, Jelly. Having discovered early on how immersive worlds can be created through design and animation, Charlie channeled her passion for talent and creative collaboration to fill a clear gap in the market for integrated content by co-founding Jelly. With two decades of experience across the business, Charlie is using her craft knowledge and understanding of the industry at large to provide strategic production solutions for agencies, and full-service creative and strategic consultancy for brands. For Charlie, the company’s shared values lie at the heart of every decision. From becoming an employee owned business and setting the wheels in motion toward B-Corp certification, to forming emerging talent initiative ‘Futures’ and dedicating her time to programs and partnerships that support underrepresented talent, she is fuelled by wanting to make the creative industries more accessible and equitable for all. Having led a global expansion in the US & Europe, and formed creative collective TBM Group, Charlie became joint MD with Nicki Field in 2023, establishing the company as one entirely led and managed by women.

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Anne Skopas Managing Director
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Anne Skopas Managing Director

If there’s a solution, Anne Skopas is here to find it. With almost three decades in the industry, she’s handled everything from live-action production and traditional animation to diverse and varied mediums like real-time animation, experiential, long-form storytelling, and augmented and virtual reality– as well as pro bono work bringing awareness to global, social, and humanitarian causes. With a knack for building out studio infrastructure, Anne has a passion for fostering deep relationships and an even deeper bench of creative talent. Prior to becoming Scholar’s Managing Director and Executive Producer, Anne EP’d at Hornet NY and spent a tenure shaping the culture and creative portfolio at Buck NY. Before that she was deeply entrenched in visual effects, live action, and post production for studios such as Charlex & Nice Shoes.

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Tim Searle Animation Director/Producer
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Tim Searle Animation Director/Producer

Tim Searle is a BAFTA winning director, producer, executive producer and enthusiast. He’s worked in animation for over 30 years and is best known for his work on Toad & Friends, Mr Bean, Danger Mouse, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed, Have I Got News for You, I am Not An Animal, 2DTV, Horrible Histories and more.

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Osnat Shurer Co-Chief Creative Officer, Baobab Studios
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Osnat Shurer Co-Chief Creative Officer, Baobab Studios

Osnat Shurer is the Co-Chief Creative Officer of Baobab Studios, the ten-time Emmy®-winning and three-time Annie winning independent interactive animation studio with a track record of building franchisable family IP and interactive worlds. Shurer brings over 30 years of experience as an animation creative talent. She produced the groundbreaking Academy Award®-nominated Disney hits RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON and MOANA, which grossed over $700 million and continues to be one of the topmost streamed kids movie ever. As the Co-Chief Creative Officer at Baobab Studios, Osnat helps to oversee Baobab universes, which are being turned into films (Disney), series on premium streamers (e.g, Disney+, HBO Max), books (Penguin Random House, MacMillan) and games (Roblox, web3, Oculus). This includes original series with Disney+ such as INTERCATS an animated cat workplace comedy based on the fast-tracked Baobab graphic novel bythe same name Macmillan and THE WITCHVERSE, an epic fantasy action-adventure animated event series, based on BABA YAGA, Baobab’s three-time Emmy®-winning short film and VR experience. Also, the MOMOGURO multiplatform franchise, which includes an Emmy-nominated digital collectibles game, a hit Roblox game, and a TV series in development. Shurer sits on Baobab’s creative brain trust which includes Eric Darnell (Chief Creative Officer) and Kane Lee (Chief Content Officer), and advisors and investors such as Ed Catmull (Pixar Co-Founder and former President of Disney Feature Animation) and Oscar®-winning filmmaker Glen Keane (Director, OVER THE MOON and legendary Disney animator of THE LITTLE MERMAID, ALADDIN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST), among others. Previously, Osnat served as Disney Feature Animation’s VP of Development, and as the Executive Producer of the short films group at Pixar. While at Pixar, she produced or executive produced a host of hit shorts, including the Oscar®-nominated films LIFTED (2006), ONE MAN BAND (2005) and BOUNDIN’ (2003). Shurer was born in Israel and studied film at NYU, and resides in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Dotti Sinnott Managing Director, Golden Wolf
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Dotti Sinnott Managing Director, Golden Wolf

Dotti Sinnott is the Managing Director of Golden Wolf and Head of Content Operations at Doodles. Beginning her career as a producer at Bigstar, she produced graphics for TV series and documentaries, including Alex Gibney's "The Armstrong Lie" and Robert Kenner's "Merchants of Doubt." In 2015, Dotti joined Golden Wolf London, where she oversaw a wide range of projects for Nike, Apple, Disney, the NBA, Ubisoft, Supercell and more. After a brief sabbatical at a sourdough bakery, Dotti launched Golden Wolf's New York office in 2018, and moved into the global Managing Director role in 2022. Since Golden Wolf’s acquisition by Doodles in 2023, Dotti has also taken on management of all creative content operations for the next-generation entertainment studio, including live & digital experiences, original content & lifestyle products.

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Nick Sung Animator & Designer
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Nick Sung Animator & Designer

Nick Sung is an animator and designer with two decades of experience across diverse creative fields. He has storyboarded Oscar-winning films at Pixar, fostered a storytelling culture at Airbnb, shaped Olympic marketing strategies, reimagined a New York Times best-seller, and mentored emerging directors. Nick served as the animation producer for "Life After BOB," which can currently be streamed on the Criterion Channel.

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Orion Tait Co-Founder, BUCK
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Orion Tait Co-Founder, BUCK

Orion Tait is co-founder of BUCK, a global creative company telling stories through art and design, and co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Residence, a network pioneered by BUCK to champion best-in-class work while empowering the community that makes it possible. With a background in filmmaking, fine arts, and graphic design, his award-winning work spans a variety of disciplines but is rooted in visual storytelling that continues to push the boundaries of innovation and quality in the creative arts. Specializing in design-driven creative, Tait is an experienced and respected leader of teams that use design, animation, and live action to collaborate with clients from concept to delivery. He has created content and experiences for a broad range of global brands in the advertising, broadcast, film, and entertainment industries including Apple, Nike, Google, Amazon, IBM, Mastercard, and Sherwin Williams. Recognized in the animation, design and advertising industries, Tait’s trophy case includes two Emmy’s, multiple gold Cannes Lions, Clios, pencils, cubes, and over 150 other awards from the most prestigious competitions in the world. Tait has lectured at numerous schools and festivals around the globe and served and chaired on several juries, including the One Show, AICP, Clios, and the Art Directors Club.

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Ben Thomas Artist & Game Developer at Capybara Games
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Ben Thomas Artist & Game Developer at Capybara Games

Based in Toronto, Ben is an artist and game developer, currently stationed at Capybara Games. A graduate of Sheridan College's animation program, with 14 years of experience making small but mighty video games, his credits include the award winning GUACAMELEE! and GRINDSTONE. Ben is passionate about the unique storytelling potential of games, and works to infuse his projects with charm and unique gameplay.

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Clayton Welham Partner & Creative Director, Found
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Clayton Welham Partner & Creative Director, Found

Clayton Welham is a leading figure within the film and motion design industry, with a career spanning CG and live-action projects to visual performance and experiential design. With over fifteen years of experience as a director, animator, and visual artist, his role as Creative Director at Found sees him in charge of the studio’s diverse projects from brief and concept development through to delivery. By continuing to design, animate, and be part of production processes, he maintains an excellent understanding of our evolving industry and works with both traditional tools, techniques, and bespoke visual systems.

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Alexi Wheeler Adviser | Consultant | Executive Producer
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Alexi Wheeler Adviser | Consultant | Executive Producer

Most recently the Head of Animation for Netflix EMEA, Alexi is an experienced executive leader with a 20+ year career. His roles have included production/executive producing of hundreds of hours of content aimed at the kids, family and the youth programming space; both in live-action and animation. Alexi has held senior roles for Netflix, Paramount+ and EOne. Shows and movies he has been involved in include the likes of Peppa Pig, Academy Award nominated Robin Robin and cultural hit Heartstopper.

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Julian Wilton Creative Director, Massive Monster
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Julian Wilton Creative Director, Massive Monster

Australian Game Developer Award winner, Julian is literally bursting with creativity. Doctors say it’s nothing to worry about. He shipped his first console game before leaving university and is based in Melbourne, Australia. He focuses on Creative direction and business development. His goal in life is to draw faces on anything he can find.

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Mark Witherow Managing Director and EP, Pebble Studios
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Mark Witherow Managing Director and EP, Pebble Studios

Mark Witherow is the Managing Director & Executive Producer of Pebble Studios. With 18 year’s experience in the advertising industry, Mark now leads the development and direction of commercial and content production across an array of animation and immersive projects. Mark directs an award-winning team of producers, artists, and technologists, to create characterful and emotive content for a roster of global clients – from studios such as Disney, ABC and Netflix through to brands such as Virgin, Land Rover and Mastercard. Beyond his commercial responsibilities, Mark is passionate about the role of animation and motion design to create authentic, rich and powerful experiences for audiences – using new technologies to enhance our craft, not replace it.

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