July 8 - December 9, 2017

Vancouver Film School
420 Homer Street
Vancouver, Canada

Terabyte Sponsor

Creative BC

Megabyte Sponsor

Tourism Vancouver

Kilobyte Sponsors

Capilano University

Bardel Entertainment

Bron Animation

Emily Carr University

Vancouver Film School

Byte Sponsors

DLA Piper

DHX Media, Ltd.

Sony Pictures Imageworks

Campbell River Creative Industries Council

Canadian Media Producers Association

Scalar Decisions

FullMeta Corporation



Drawn Together Vancouver



Celebrating Independent Animation in Canada
July 8 - December 9, 2017


In celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary, the Spark CG Society is hosting a Special Series of monthly talks celebrating Independent Animation in Canada. Please join us as we celebrate Canadian animation.

Canada 150


Saturday - October 14, 1:30 PM
moderator: Marv Newland with Cordell Barker

Regular: $10 // Groups (5+): $7*
* Group pricing only available through on-line advance sales.

Vancouver Film School
420 Homer St (@ West Hastings St)
Vancouver, Canada

As an independent animation filmmaker, who focuses on pacing, action and narrative, Cordell Barker is one of Canada’s brightest lights. With a distinguished career that has garnered two Oscar nominations and almost 50 awards from every major film and animation festival in the world, Cordell Barker has brought worldwide acclaim and attention, not only to Canada, but to its animation heartland, Winnipeg.

It is our greatest pleasure to have Cordell Barker present and discuss his multi award-winning short films.

Cordell Barker. All Rights Reserved.

© Cordell Barker. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday - November 11, 7:00 PM
moderator: Keith Blackmore with Theodore Ushev

Regular: $10 // Groups (5+): $7*
* Group pricing only available through on-line advance sales.

Vancouver Film School
420 Homer St (@ West Hastings St)
Vancouver, Canada

Montreal is the most un-Canadian of Canadian cities. That’s why we love it. It’s Europe without the jetlag, Paris without the exchange rates, but with all the great things we’ve come to expect from the EU Continent. Including animation. Theodore Ushev helps keep the Eastern European sensibility alive in Montreal. Growing up with a rich cultural heritage, mixed political landscape and cross border influences, Ushev has transformed his graphic designs into animated films that at once, entrance, shock and enthrall us. By the dark subject matter, the graphic textures and the European atmospheres, Theodore Ushev takes us on a cinematic journey of dreams and nightmares.

Theodore Ushev. All Rights Reserved.

© Theodore Ushev. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday - December 9, 1:30 PM
moderator: David Fine with Janet Perlman

Regular: $10 // Groups (5+): $7*
* Group pricing only available through on-line advance sales.

Vancouver Film School
420 Homer St (@ West Hastings St)
Vancouver, Canada

Janet Perlman has carved out an impressive career in animated shorts, television commercials, educational films and children’s books. Alongside her independent work, her NFB films have earned international acclaim, including an Oscar nomination for The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin. Perlman’s films are humourously funny, and yet, always convey a message. Animation has allowed Janet to incorporate all her artistic musings, drawing, storytelling and humour, dance and movement and music together. Entertaining and educational, these are the qualities that are equally important to Perlman and found in her many films.

Janet Perlman. All Rights Reserved.

© Janet Perlman. All Rights Reserved.


Cordell Barker
Director, Animator, Advisor // National Film Board of Canada

CordellCordell Barker (born 1956) is a Canadian animator based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He began animating in his late teens after taking on an apprenticeship at Kenn Perkins Animation. A two-time Academy Award nominee, Barker is an animation filmmaker best known for his work with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

He began his career in 1974 working for Sesame Street and collaborating on a number of commercials. In 1982, he joined the NFB’s Winnipeg studio where he made his first film, The Cat Came Back in 1988. The short was a huge audience favourite and garnered 16 awards in addition to picking up an Oscar nomination. He subsequently returned to advertising, directing commercials for a number of major companies before returning to filmmaking in 2001. His second film, Strange Invaders would be nominated for an Oscar in 2002. He completed his third film for the NFB, Runaway, in 2009.

In 2015, Cordell released If I Was God, his fourth film with the NFB. Inspired by his own experiences as a 12-year-old boy, Barker experiments with a variety of animation techniques in this film, from stop-motion to traditional animation.

Cordell continues to work with the National Film Board as a creative consultant, advising producers on animation projects, generated in the prairie and north west provinces of Canada.

David Fine
Director, Writer // Snowden+Fine

David FineDavid Fine is an Oscar-winning filmmaker who works in Vancouver with his partner, Alison Snowden. Together they have written, directed and created award-winning animated TV shows and short films, including the Oscar-winning short film, Bob’s Birthday and the acclaimed TV series, Bob and Margaret, the highest rated Canadian-made animation series ever!

David was born and raised in Toronto and is still a Leaf fan. He studied film in the UK at The National Film and Television School where he met his wife and creative partner, Alison. They have been collaborating ever since.

Their films have won numerous international awards and nominations including awards at Annecy, Ottawa, Chicago, Zagreb, Canadian Genies, BAFTA nominations and two more Oscar nominations. They also created 52 episodes of the kids series, Ricky Sprocket Showbiz Boy for Nickelodeon and Teletoon.

David and Alison have also directed numerous animated TV commercials, as well as developed and written for other productions, including the award-winning UK series Peppa Pig. They co-developed the series Shaun the Sheep for Aardman Animations. David and Alison have also written and directed live-action short films and documentaries.

They are currently near completion on their new short animated film, Animal Behaviour, produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

Janet Perlman
Director, Animator, Writer

JanetJanet Perlman is an independent animation director whose absurdist sense of humour is evident in her films The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin, Why Me?, My Favorite Things That I Love, and Sorry Film Not Ready.

She has directed segments for Sesame Street, contributed to group films including Marv Newland’s Anijam and Pink Komkommer, and created the TV special Penguins Behind Bars, a parody of “women in prison” films.

For the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), she developed the ShowPeace series on conflict resolution, which includes her films Dinner for Two and Bully Dance. For the past several years, she has been mostly working with the NFB’s French Animation Studio as a director and animator. Her most recent work there is the ten-minute film Monsieur Pug, and animation for two Diane Obomsawin’s I Like Girls (J’aime les filles), and Zviane’s La pureté de l’enfance. She is currently in development of a short musical film about animated princesses.

Her latest independent film, Let’s Play Like It’s 1949, is a satire that combines animation with archival educational footage. It is part of a series of shorts for which she is seeking funding. Her recent work also includes an animation sequence for Ann Marie Fleming’s Window Horses.

Among her awards are an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short, an Emmy Award, and many festival grand prizes. Perlman has taught animation at Harvard, Rhode Island School of Design and Concordia University, and has written and illustrated four children’s books.

Keith Blackmore
Educator // Vancouver Film School

KeithA true Canadian, Keith Blackmore has lived in the wilds of British Columbia his whole life. From an early age, he had a natural desire to catch salmon, build tree forts and befriend racoons. These activities would help enable Keith to develop into the passionate voice, cheerleader, and advocate for visual effects and all things animated in Vancouver. As the official maple syrup sipper of the local SIGGRAPH chapter and the past Conference Chairman for SPARK ANIMATION and SPARK FWD, Keith wears snowsuits when presenting or moderating at the many animation festivals in Vancouver. Keith has taught animation history, concept art and igloo building at the Vancouver Film School for more than 20 years, as well as at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. When he’s not teaching, Keith can be found either in his stump garden practising axe throwing or watching Yvon of the Yukon and NFB shorts on CBC. His favourite foods are KD with ketchup and smoked salmon. He loves lounging on his roof-top patio with a martini in hand under the watchful eye of Cooper the Cat.

Marv Newland
Director, Animator
(Bambi Meets Godzilla, Anijam, Tales From the Far Side, CMYK)

MarvMarv Newland graduated from Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and made his first animated short, "Bambi Meets Godzilla," (1969). This production was followed by TV commercial work. He moved to Toronto, Canada working on TV commercials, "Sesame Street" segments and magazine illustration. Newland designed and/or directed; TV series, commercials and short films for companies in: Holland, New York and Ottawa. In 1975 he founded the production company International Rocketship Limited in Vancouver, Canada. He has worked as designer, animator, director and producer of commercials, series and shorts for his own company and for among others: Vinton Studios, USA; Studio B, Canada and the National Film Board of Canada.

Marv Newland received the Grand Prix at the Annecy International Animation Festival, France for his direction of, Gary Larson's "Tales From the Far Side," 1995. Films made under his direction have been awarded festival prizes in: Hiroshima, Japan; Asolo, Italy; Chicago, Portland, Houston and San Francisco, USA; Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, Canada. He has served on film festival juries in: Japan, England, France, Italy, The Czech Republic, Norway, Korea and on Genie juries in Canada. Newland has conducted animation workshops at: Filmakademie in Ludwigsburg and Kunsthochschule in Kassel, Germany and at La Poudrière in Valence, France. He is currently an animation instructor at the Vancouver Film School in Canada.

Theodore Ushev
Director, Animator // National Film Board of Canada

TheodoreTheodore Ushev was born in Kyustendil, Bulgaria, in 1968 and graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia. He first made a name for himself as a poster artist in his native country before settling in Montreal in 1999.

Ushev found fertile ground for developing his own original artistic style at the National Film Board of Canada. With more than 15 films to date, that have been shown all over the world and more than 150 prizes, Ushev continues to work in the field of cinema, multimedia and installation art. In Blood Manifesto (2014), a poetic and ferocious short which Ushev animated with his own blood, he ponders whether ideals are worth spilling blood for. His latest project, in 2017 his film Blind Vaysha (2015), a philosophical tale about the importance of living in the moment, has been nominated for Academy Award Oscar for Best Animated Short. The film has won more than 35 prizes and awards to date.

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