October 27, 2017

Vancouver International Film Centre
Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour Street
Vancouver, Canada

Terabyte Sponsor

Creative BC

Megabyte Sponsor

Tourism Vancouver

Kilobyte Sponsors

Bardel Entertainment

Capilano University

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



Consulate General of France in Vancouver

Drawn Together Vancouver

Women in Animation



October 27, 2017


To be successful, studios and individuals must remain vigilant in understanding what’s new, what’s changing, what is or isn’t working and why. From government policies that affect your studio, to being aware of biases that may unknowingly exist in you or your studio, to leveraging untapped financing opportunities, to accessing intel on creating content with global appeal, to understanding the key talents required by production management in making it on time, on budget and even fun.

The SPARK ANIMATION BUSINESS SYMPOSIUM invites all experienced professionals and students to join us as industry leaders from around the world generously share tangible details of their successes in tackling the following challenges:

  • Emerging Technologies
  • Financing Shorts
  • Creating Global Animation Properties
  • Production Management
  • Unconscious Bias

The Business Symposium Day Pass will provide numerous networking opportunities throughout the day, including a closing mixer.


9:00 amPANEL
moderator: Denise Quesnel with Limbert Fabian
11:00 amPANEL
moderator: Rose-Ann Tisserand with David Fine, Kevin Gamble, Kim Guise, Robert Wong & Shirley Vercruysse
1:30 pmPANEL
moderator: Rick Mischel with Asaph Fipke, Nora Twomey, Rob Davies & Tim Gamble
moderator: Chuck Peil with Bradford Simonsen
moderator: Brenda Gilbert with Julie Ann Crommett

Friday - October 27, 9:00 AM
moderator: Denise Quesnel with Limbert Fabian

VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie)

With the rise of VR/AR/MR as a new medium for content creation and consumption, the challenge for animators, artists, filmmakers and storytellers is to ensure that the experiences are rooted with strong narrative and emotion.

Limbert Fabian will share how his team at Flight School approaches storytelling in these new mediums, by creating a playground for ideas. In asking questions like “what if” and steering away from pre-conceived notions of technologies, the team forges new paths for creative endeavors.

Friday - October 27, 11:00 AM
moderator: Rose-Ann Tisserand with David Fine, Kevin Gamble, Kim Guise, Robert Wong & Shirley Vercruysse

VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie)

Making a short can launch careers and satisfy creative souls. We feel it is important to our community to provide as much insight and inspiration as possible to get you on your way. We’ll look at the kinds of funding available, unique approaches to making shorts and why one might choose making shorts over other formats. We’ll also explore what the expectations are from stake holders, what they like to see in a pitch package and mistakes to avoid when pitching.

Friday - October 27, 1:30 PM
moderator: Rick Mischel with Asaph Fipke, Nora Twomey, Rob Davies & Tim Gamble

VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie)

As the platforms for getting animation content in front of kids proliferate, what makes a particular property attractive to a global audience? We'll look at key factors for success in developing, producing and distributing animation content to the worldwide audience. We'll look at story to style to music to genre in considering how producers should think globally to maximize their audience.

Friday - October 27, 3:15 PM
moderator: Chuck Peil with Bradford Simonsen

VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie)

A high level overview of planning and producing Animated Movies, using Zootopia as a case study.

Friday - October 27, 4:30 PM
moderator: Brenda Gilbert with Julie Ann Crommett

VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie)

“Unconscious bias is the result of shortcuts our brain takes because of the amount of data we have to process at any given moment. Most of what we think is unconscious. The way we function in our day-to-day lives is often driven by these shortcuts”

In a dynamic and interactive discussion, discover how unconscious bias affects everyday decisions we make in our lives and work place.


Asaph Fipke
Independent Executive Producer & Creator

AceAsaph Fipke is an independent Executive Producer/Creator who brings a rare blend of expertise in the creation, development, production and business of kids and family entertainment. Fipke served as Chief Content Officer at DHX Media from 2014 to 2017 where he was in charge of development and production of all animation, live-action and interactive content across DHX Studios — including productions such as Inspector Gadget, The Deep, Kate & Mim-Mim, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Supernoobs, and Creeped Out. Prior to joining DHX Media, Mr. Fipke was the CEO and Founder of Nerd Corps Entertainment, which DHX acquired in 2014. Mr. Fipke founded Nerd Corps in 2002 and grew the company into one of North America’s largest animation studios with more than 400 employees, producing award-winning content for broadcast in more than 150 territories in the world. Mr. Fipke created and executive produced numerous series with Nerd Corps, including the Emmy-winning sci-fi action/comedy Slugterra, the Gemini Award-nominated Storm Hawks, and the comedy series Endangered Species and Rated A for Awesome.

Bradford Simonsen
Associate Producer // Walt Disney Animation Studios
(Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, Zootopia, Big Hero 6)

BradBradford Simonsen is an American filmmaker best known for his work as an Associate Producer at Walt Disney Animation Studios, where his credits include Academy Award®-winners Big Hero 6 and Zootopia. Prior to joining Disney, Simonsen contributed his talents as Digital Producer to Jack the Giant Slayer and Real Steel at Digital Domain. Before that, he spent nine years at Sony Pictures Imageworks, working as a Production Manager on Alice in Wonderland, Beowulf, Open Season, The Polar Express, and the Academy Award winning short film, The ChubbChubbs!

A native of Spokane, WA, Simonsen attended the University of Washington School of Business in Seattle, graduating with a degree in Marketing and Human Resource Management. He was also very active in the University of Washington Drama department, acting, writing and producing for the stage.

In 1994, Simonsen relocated to Los Angeles where he started his career assistant directing low-budget feature films. Simonsen went from live action production to feature film development at Jan De Bont’s production company Blue Tulip Productions in 1997 before moving to Robert Redford’s production company Wildwood Enterprises to serve as director of production. His development credits include The Legend of Bagger Vance, Spy Game, How to Kill your Neighbor’s Dog, Che Guevara’s The Motorcycle Diaries, The Haunting of Hill House, and SLC Punk.

While working as director of production at Wildwood, in charge of budgets and film production schedules, Simonsen became interested in visual effects, and landed a job at Sony Pictures Imageworks where he served as a digital production manager for 9 years. Simonsen coordinated The Chubb Chubbs and lent his own voice to the main character, “Meeper,” for the Academy Award®-winning animated short film.

Brenda Gilbert
Co-President // Bron Studios

Brenda GilbertBrenda is the Co-Founder, and Co-President of BRON and has been active in film and media initiatives for more than 15 years. Brenda has produced, executive produced or co-executive produced several productions including Mighty Mighty Monsters, Henchmen, Willoughbys, I Saw the Light, The Birth of a Nation, Monster, Beatriz At Dinner and The Nightingale. Brenda is instrumental in facilitating team development and leads BRON with strategic corporate and operational planning. Her background includes many years at the British Columbia Securities Commission where she worked in the Finance, Enforcement, Legal and Communications Divisions.

Chuck Peil
VP, Business Development // Reel FX Creative Studios
(The Book of Life, Free Birds, Rise of the Guardians)

ChuckAs a founding member of Reel FX, Peil has participated in the studios significant growth over the past 22 years. Reel FX creates award-winning animated films, virtual reality, commercials, mobile/interactive content, and live-venue content. Reel FX is working on a roster of upcoming animated theatrical films including: Scooby-Doo for Warner Animation Group and Wish Police directed by Headless. Reel FX films include the Golden Globe-nominated The Book of Life (20th Century Fox) and Free Birds (Relativity Media) which have grossed over $210 million worldwide. VR projects include: The Hunger Games, Insurgent, Pacific Rim, Porsche and more.

Peil’s partial credits include: The Book of Life, Free Birds, Rise of the Guardians, Despicable Me Ride, Ferrari Dark Ride, The Simpsons Ride, Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away, Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter, Looney Tunes shorts, Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas, Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five, Open Season 2.

Reel FX

David Fine
Director // Snowden + Fine
(Animal Behaviour, Ricky Sprocket - Showbiz Boy, Bob & Margaret, Bob's Birthday)

DavidDavid 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 & 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 & 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.

Their latest short animated film is Animal Behaviour, produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Animal Behaviour is a 2d drawn animation film, produced using 2d animation software. The film is about a group therapy session, with animals and has been in official selection at numerous international film festivals and also won the grand prix at Brazil’s Anima Mundi Animation Festival.
Facebook page

Denise Quesnel
Founder // Affinity Immersion

DeniseDenise has dedicated her career to the exploration of profound emotional shifts that can occurs through interaction with immersive, multisensory artistic artefacts and technological experiences. She is a researcher of the immersive realities, specifically creation and design of virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) content and interfaces for profound emotional shifts, like awe and wonder.

After spending over a decade in the film and VFX industry, she founded an immersive R&D studio, worked in University research departments, and is now a PhD student with the iSpace Lab at SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology. A great deal of her artistic and work experience feeds into her motivation around understanding how emotional shifts combined with technology can help facilitate compassion, understanding, interconnectivity for ourselves, one another, and our planet.

In addition to her day to day work, Denise is an active volunteer with service to the global community. After years of forming local communities, she created a new Immersive Realities technical and cultural program at the annual non-profit SIGGRAPH conference in 2015. SIGGRAPH is the world’s largest computer graphics (CG) and interactive techniques event, and Denise has now guided this program with is physical space, VR Village into its third year as one of the most popular immersive programs in the world, while also mentoring dozens of students, artists, and practitioners. She is also heavily involved in volunteer service in non-profit organizations responsible for advocacy and policy-making in the health care and technological fields on a national and international level.

Julie Ann Crommett
VP, Multicultural Audience Engagement // The Walt Disney Studios

Julie AnnJulie Ann Crommett joined The Walt Disney Studios on February 6th as Vice President, Multicultural Audience Engagement. She was most recently Google’s Entertainment Industry Educator in Chief leading their efforts to shift and diversify on-screen perceptions of computer science through storytelling (a position she created). Previously she worked at NBCUniversal managing behind-the-camera diversity programs including Writers on the Verge and the Directing Fellowship. Her journey is coming full-circle at Disney where she began her career as a Pixar Animation Studios' production intern working on the Wall-E DVD and Up promos. Most recently, she was named to The Hollywood Reporter’s prestigious “Next Gen: 35 under 35” and serves on the boards of NALIP (Natl Association of Latino Independent Producers) and Women in Animation. Of Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage, Julie Ann was raised in Atlanta, GA and earned her BA in English at Harvard University.

Kevin Gamble
Head of Physical Production // Titmouse Canada

KevinKevin began his animation career as a production coordinator, quickly climbing the ranks to become a producer where he assembled and led creative teams for more than a dozen series, feature and digital television projects.

Before landing at Titmouse, Kevin held the title of VP of Development for Walt Disney Television Animation and VP of Production and Creative Affairs for New York based Classic Media. While working on the Titmouse produced Motor City at Disney, he caught the eye of Chris and Ben, and was their first choice to run their new Vancouver studio.

Kevin currently oversees Titmouse Canada, which boasts a current roster of almost 200 artists and production staff. Titmouse Canada also out-consumes both Titmouse LA and NYC in beer by a factor of nearly fourteen to one.

Kim Guise
Director, Local & Original Content // TELUS

KimKim Guise is the director of local and original content at TELUS and oversees a multi-million dollar portfolio supporting BC and Alberta filmmakers and cultural organizations. Since joining TELUS in 2013, Kim has played a key role in setting TELUS’ local content strategy and enabling TELUS to become an innovator and leader in local programming and the creative industries. Kim is passionate about enabling people from diverse backgrounds and experiences to tell stories that are meaningful to them and their communities. Before joining TELUS, Kim spent 10 years in the western office of Telefilm Canada. Prior to that, Kim was a financial services lawyer at a national business law firm with a practice that combined secured lending and entertainment law.

Limbert Fabian
Executive Creative Director, Co-Founder // Flight School

Limbert FabianLimbert Fabian’s award-winning directorial work always begins with the underlying message and a question: Why are we doing this? Limbert takes the answer to that question and creates beautiful worlds and engaging characters that are true to the story.

He received an Emmy for his work on the Chipotle Mexican Grill’s The Scarecrow. A second Emmy for his Co-direction on the animated short for Dolby Labs: Silent. Before his film work, Limbert’s illustrations appeared in The Village Voice, Playboy, and The Atlantic. In addition, he worked on film and interactive media projects for Microsoft, and Paramount. His directorial efforts are an example of his passions for craft, teamwork and story.

Limbert started FLIGHT SCHOOL with creative partner and collaborator Brandon Oldenburg in 2017. Setting their sights on New Media and digital experiences. Both directors are recently nominated for two new Emmy’s. Oldenburg for Taking Flight a Radio Flyer Film and Fabian for The Boy Who Learned to Fly a short film for Gatorade. In the past month the duo of garnered multiple awards for their first original VR experience Manifest 99 — including the Jury Award at both Future of Storyteliing FOST in New York and RAINDANCE in the U.K.

Nora Twomey
Co-founder, Creative Director // Cartoon Saloon
(The Breadwinner, Song of the Sea, The Secret of Kells)

NoraAs a Creative Director at Cartoon Saloon, Nora oversees the development of the company's slate of productions such as Puffin Rock, the pre-school series narrated by Chris O’Dowd and acquired by Netflix. Nora directed the multi-award winning short films From Darkness and Cúilín Dualach [Backwards Boy].

Nora was Co-Director of Cartoon Saloon's Oscar nominated animated feature The Secret of Kells and Head of Story on their Oscar nominated Song of the Sea.

Nora has just finished directing The Breadwinner, a feature adaptation of Deborah Ellis' best-selling children's novel. The screenplay is written by Anita Doron and Angelina Jolie is among the film's executive producers. The animated film will be premiering at Toronto International Film Festival September 2017.

Rick Mischel
CEO // Bardel Entertainment


Rick Mischel currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Bardel Entertainment, one of the world's leading animation studios and a part of the Rainbow Group of entertainment companies. Bardel is the animation studio for such projects as The Dragon Prince, 44 Cats, Rick & Morty and Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty. Prior to his role as CEO of Bardel, Mischel served as a Producer at Sony Pictures Animation, the Sony division behind such animated features as Hotel Transylvania and The Smurfs. Prior to his role as a Producer, Mischel served as Senior Vice President for Sony Pictures Imageworks. Mischel launched and managed the animation/vfx facility for Sony Pictures Imageworks in Vancouver, BC, with work on such films as Hotel Transylvania, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and The Smurfs.

Prior to his position at Sony, Mischel served as executive vice president of Technicolor. Previously, Mischel served as CEO of Mainframe Entertainment, a publicly-traded CGI animation studio specializing in television series, direct-to-video features, and gaming animation.

Before Mainframe, Mischel served as President and COO of the publicly-traded The Harvey Entertainment Company, home of some of the most lucrative intellectual properties in the family entertainment world, including Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich. Mischel also has produced such independent features films as Suicide Kings and The Specials.

Mischel began his career as an entertainment attorney with O'Melveny & Myers in 1987. Mischel holds a B.A. from Tufts University, an M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Bardel Entertainment

Rob Davies
Director of Development // Atomic Cartoons


Rob Davies, Director of Development, and co-founder is in charge of content creation, rights acquisitions, and overall development of intellectual properties.

Rob is one of the team members that created and produced the international hit series Atomic Betty and developed and co-produced Captain Flamingo. He recently oversaw development of the animated series Pirate Express for TELETOON Canada.

Rob began his animation journey 24 years ago, working at many studios in Vancouver, Berlin and Los Angeles. His path wove from production layout artist and supervisor to designer, art director, board artist, director and finally to series creator, executive producer, and studio owner.

As a Director at Warner Bros. Animation on Pinky and the Steven Spielberg series Pinky & the Brain, Rob had the fortune of winning an Emmy Award. Since then he has continued his drive for excellence in the animation field with multiple Leo, Gemini and BAFTA awards and nominations.

Robert Wong
Vice President // Creative BC

RobertAfter working for several years in a Vancouver chartered accounting firm, Robert first joined Creative BC when it was BC Film + Media. At that time, he became part of the organization's newly forming tax credit team.

Now Creative BC's Vice President, Robert markets British Columbia internationally as a destination of choice for projects and companies seeking a world class creative industries centre in which to do business. In his role, he leads the administration of Creative BC's tax credit and granting programs, balancing attraction of international business with support for BC's domestic content creators.

During his tenure with the organization, Robert has become the expert on motion picture tax credits, originally helping to launch the BC film and television tax credit program in 1998. He went on to play an integral role in the evolution of British Columbia’s motion picture industry tax policy.

Rose-Ann Tisserand
Producer // Flying Kraken Creative Studios
(Pop in Park, Kahlil Gibran’ls The Prophet, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!)

Rose-AnnRose-Ann Tisserand has worked as a production executive for 18 years, specializing in feature animation, episodic TV and client/broadcaster management. She has more than 200 hours of award-winning film and television credits, and is the co-founder of Flying Kraken Creative Studios, a boutique, Canadian-based imaginarium that produces original animation content. As a co-creator/producer, she currently has a series titled Pop in Park with TVO, and has been contracted as a consulting creative executive for several series in development. She was supervising producer at Bardel Entertainment for more than seven years; a supervising producer at New Machine Studios, where she worked on six feature films, including Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet; and chief operating officer for Twenty One Inc. where pre-vis services were provided on Superman: Man of Steel (WB), Arthur Christmas (Aardman/Sony), and more. She is a mentor for up-and-coming filmmakers at TELUS Storyhive, a Spark Leadership board member, chair of Spark Animation Business Symposium, and a founding member of Drawn Together Vancouver, an organization whose mandate is to advance women in the art, technical and business sectors of the animation and visual effects industry, creating greater diversity and equality in storytelling.

Shirley Vercruysse
Producer // National Film Board of Canada

ShirleyShirley Vercruysse is the Executive Producer of the National Film Board of Canada’s BC & Yukon Studio, based in Vancouver, BC, where she leads the team producing documentary and animation projects. The studio’s latest projects include the feature-length musical documentary The Road Forward (Marie Clements); the animated feature film Window Horses (Ann Marie Fleming), co-produced with Stickgirl Productions, and the animated shorts I AM HERE (Eoin Duffy) The Mountain of Sgaana (Christopher Auchter) Shop Class (Hart Snider) and the mid-length documentary Beauty (Christina Willings).

Projects currently in production include the online documentary series, True North (Ryan Sidhoo); short animation The Zoo (Julia Kwan); feature documentaries The Whale and the Raven (coproduction with Whale and Raven Productions) and Sovereign Soil (Yukon based co-production) and mid length documentary featuring the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (John Bolton).

Tim Gamble
Vice Chair // Thunderbird Entertainment

TimA founding partner of Thunderbird Entertainment, Tim Gamble oversees all business operations, with a particular focus on corporate finance, and strategic alliances, as well as Executive Production services of feature films and television series.

Thunderbird is a rapidly growing Vancouver-based multiplatform entertainment company with offices in Los Angeles, Toronto and London. Under Tim’s direction, the Thunderbird group of companies has grown to include divisions in scripted and unscripted development and production, theatrical distribution, and animation.

Thunderbird’s most recent projects include Blade Runner 2049 starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, ABC’s new thriller-drama series Somewhere Between starring Paula Patton and the internationally renowned I Am series which includes this years I Am Heath Ledger. Recent hits include Canadian comedy Kim’s Convenience and the animated Netflix original series Beat Bugs, featuring reimagined songs from the Beatles catalogue sung by the biggest recording artists of today including Sia, Eddie Vedder, P!nk and more.

Tim is the former President, Director and Founder of Peace Arch Entertainment Group Inc., one of Canada’s foremost producers and distributors of film and television programming for worldwide markets. He originally formed the company as Vidatron Entertainment Group Inc. in 1981. By the mid-1990s, under his direction, Peace Arch Entertainment had grown from its roots of producing corporate training videos to establishing several divisions, including Aviator Pictures (television commercials); The Eyes Multimedia Productions Inc. (corporate and educational videos, multimedia programming); Northern Lights Entertainment (feature films); and Toolshed (music videos). In 1997, the company acquired Sugar Entertainment, which focused on the global television market. Peach Arch began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (PAE.A & PAE.B) in 1998 and on the American Stock Exchange (PAE) in 1999.

Tim graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Education and a major in Economics.

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