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Since its introduction in 2014, the SPARK ANIMATION Festival Jury has included a great mix of industry veterans, producers and educators from both the local industry and beyond and the 2016 Jury is no exception.

Joining the elite ranks of SPARK ANIMATION Jury alumni, this year’s jury includes executives from a number of local studios, international producers and an Oscar-winning director! The 2016 SPARK ANIMATION Jury Members are:

CEO // Bardel Entertainment

Delna Bhesania

Delna’s inspiring career in animation began over 25 years ago and tells a story of determination, commitment and vision. Starting from an office in a spare bedroom, Delna and her partner Barry Ward have grown their business from a small team with big talent to a really big team with ground-breaking talent.

As CEO and Co-founder of Bardel, Delna manages the studio’s corporate affairs, production, and business development. She works closely with her executive team and all stages at the studio to strategize, manage and uphold the highest quality standards on which Bardel’s reputation was built.

Founder, Director // PunkRobot Animation Studio

Gabriel Osorio

Gabriel Osorio majored in Fine Arts at Universidad de Chile. Later, he specialized in 3D animation. After working in several commercials, movies, and television series, he decided to create his own studio: Punkrobot. Since 2008, he has been directing projects for childrens’ television (Flipos, Muelin y Perlita, Soccer Girls) and television spots. He enjoys directing as well as having an active role in the more technical aspects of the 3D department. His first short film, Bear Story has received over 55 international awards, including an Oscar® from the Academy for Best Animated Short Film.

CG Supervisor // Bron Animation

James Stapp

James Stapp is currently a CG Supervisor at BRON Animation Studios. He has over twenty years of experience specializing in the front end aspects of creating characters, sets, and props for the animation industry. After attending the character animation program at CalArts, he started his career at Rhythm & Hues Studios working on VFX for Film and TV. He then followed his love of animation and went to work for the Walt Disney Animation Studios. His titles included Tangled, Bolt, Prep & Landing, Meet the Robinsons, Chicken Little, and Disney’s Dinosaur. He also worked at Nickelodeon Animation and DreamWorks Animation Studios, with titles that include Puss in Boots, Turbo, and How to Train Your Dragon 2.

In addition to Feature Animation he was also co-owner and creative lead of Atomic Monkey Studio. Where he helped lead in the creation and manufacturing of maquettes, toys, action figures, and merchandise for the animation, entertainment, and consumer product industries. Partial client list includes Disney, Illumination, Universal, Fox, and DreamWorks Animation Studios.

Executive Producer // LEGO The Movie Sequel at Warner Animation Group

Jinko Gotoh

Jinko Gotoh is a producer and consultant for the animation industry. She has 25+ years experience spanning a wide range of media, with particular emphasis on the evolution of animation and CG.

Jinko has worked on over 15 animated features. Her screen credits include The Little Prince, directed by Mark Osborne; the Academy Award nominated The Illusionist, helmed by Sylvain Chomet; 9, directed by Shane Acker; the Academy Award winning Finding Nemo, directed by Andrew Stanton.

Since leaving Pixar in 2003, Jinko’s assignments have taken her across the globe. Prior to that, Jinko worked at Disney Feature Animation as director of digital production, overseeing the move into CG animation and its extensive application on such features including Dinosaur and Fantasia 2000.

She began her career in advertising at Dentsu Inc., producing commercials and large-format films. While there, she pioneered the usage of CG for EXPO 85, and was among the first to employ music video directors to do network commercials.

Born in Japan, Jinko’s passion for animation started at a very early age after two life-altering experiences: seeing Lady & the Tramp, and meeting Osamu Tezuka, the creator of Astroboy. She was raised in California and attended Columbia University, where she earned a BS in Applied Math, then an MFA in Film. She serves on the board of directors for Women in Animation and The Symphonic Jazz Orchestra. In her spare time she is a published poet.

Sr. Faculty // Centre for Digital Media

Larry Bafia

An animator who works with various media, Larry started his career in stop-motion and Claymation with the Will Vinton Studios. At the studio Larry worked on stop-motion projects such as the California Raisins, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, The Globeheads and numerous commercial projects before moving into CGI. While part of the Vinton CG commercial group, Larry animated characters for Chips Ahoy! Raid and Fanta.

During his seven year tenure as Commercial Animation Director at PDI/DreamWorks, Larry directed commercials for many top clients including Coca-Cola, Sega, Intel, Kraft, Target, Circle K, and Saturn.

While with PDI/DreamWorks, Larry was also Sequence Lead Animator on several hit films including Antz, Batman & Robin, A Simple Wish, and was on the effects team for Mission Impossible II, Forces of Nature and The Peacemaker. At Warner Brothers Larry served as Lead Animator for the stop-motion division on Tim Burton’s feature Mars Attacks.

From 2003 through 2008 Larry was Department Head of Animation and Visual Effects at the Vancouver Film School. In 2007, the program was ranked 5th in the world by 3D World magazine.

In 2002, Larry founded his own animation company, Blam! Animation. As the company’s Creative Director, Larry continues to develop commercials and short films with animated characters.

Director, Producer, Animator & Faculty // Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Lorelei Pepi

Lorelei Pepi is an internationally award-winning independent animation filmmaker in Vancouver, Canada, where she teaches animation at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Lorelei has been working in animation for over 20 years, including industry and independent filmmaking. As an American, her industry work centered in Los Angeles, CA and involved commercial direction at Duck Soup, South Park feature film Bigger, Longer and Uncut at Paramount, MadTV stop-motion episodes through Fox, and Creative Development thru Swell Productions for Warner Bros Online. Her animation filmmaking work engages with issues of identity and representation, the sexual body and LGBTQ issues. Her materials and treatments range from the highly experimental to the character-driven narrative. Her most recent work is interactive media installation, and is funded by the American Creative Capital Foundation. Her animation film work has received international recognition with screenings and awards, and has received generous support from such organizations as Creative Capital, LEF Moving Image, Harvard University Film Study, the MacDowell Colony, and more.

Senior Vice President, Production // Sony Pictures Imageworks

Michelle Grady

Michelle Grady is Senior Vice President of Production for Sony Pictures Imageworks, responsible for overseeing all projects in production and managing the studios’ growing roster of more than 600 visual effects and animation artists.

Michelle has spent 23 years in the Visual Effects and Post-production industry in Vancouver, where her career grew alongside the expanding film production business in the city.

She joins Imageworks from the visual effects studio MPC, where she served as Head of Film, managing projects including Suicide Squad (Warner Bros.), Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (Warner Bros.), Godzilla (Warner Bros.), Maleficent (Disney) and the Academy Award®-winning Life of Pi (Fox).

Prior to MPC, Grady was Vice President and General Manager at Technicolor, overseeing a 35mm film laboratory, digital postproduction and VFX divisions.

Michelle is an Executive Board Member of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC (MPPIA), Co-Chair of the Canadian Media Producers Association’s (CMPA) VFX and Animation Talent Committee and is on the Advisory Committee for the Bosa Centre for Film and Animation at Capilano University.

Executive Art Director // EA Canada

Rick Stringfellow

Rick Stringfellow has been working as an Artist and Art Director in the CG industry for over 30 years. Throughout that time, he has worked at the BBC, Sony, Aardman Animations, and now is the Executive Art Director for EA Studios Content team based in Burnaby BC. He is lucky to work with an incredibly talented team of over 400 artists and animators based in Burnaby, Orlando, Gothenburg and Shanghai.

His career (and mild obsession) with CG started by programming in Fortran while at Art school in England. This journey has taken him from recorded TV, Live broadcast, feature film VFX and commercials—all leading towards real-time game graphics and now VR. He is most passionate about enabling artists to do their best creative work possible and delighting consumers of EA’s products with amazing graphics.

When not at work or in some airport lounge, he lives at home on Bowen Island with his wife (photographer) and son (11 year old game critic) and enjoys printmaking with none digital woodcuts.

Director of Development // Atomic Cartoons

Rob Davies

Rob Davies heads up development at Atomic Cartoons and is in charge of content creation, rights acquisitions, and overall development of intellectual properties.

Davies is one of the team members that created and produced Atomic Betty and developed and co-produced Captain Flamingo. He recently oversaw development of Pirate Express for Teletoon and is currently immersed in production, overseeing the project as creative producer.

Rob began his animation journey 25 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 & the Brain, Davies had the fortune of winning the coveted Emmy Award. Since then he has continued his drive for excellence in the animation field with further award nominations including the Leo, Gemini and Bafta awards.

Producer // Flying Kraken Creative Studios

Rose-Ann Tisserand

Rose-Ann Tisserand is a content creator and production executive. She is co-founder of Flying Kraken Creative Studios. Rose-Ann has a unique perspective having built her career in both the creative and the trenches of production. Flying Kraken creates and pitches original content for television series and storybooks. Rose-Ann currently consults as a Supervising Producer with New Machine Studios. Credits include Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet and Raven Tales: The Movie. Past consulting executive roles and credits include Head of Production, Twenty One Inc. for 5Nal Destination (WB), Superman: Man of Steel (WB) and Arthur Christmas (Aardman/Sony), and Supervising Producer with Bardel Entertainment overseeing 200 hours of film and television animation. Flying Kraken also provides visual development, original and production design services. Partial client list includes Hulu, Amazon, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney XD, Arc Productions, Silvergate Media, eOne Family, and HIT Entertainment. Rose-Ann is Director of the Spark Animation Business Symposium and founding member of Drawn Together Vancouver.

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