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First introduced in 2014, the SPARK ANIMATION Festival Jury is a diverse group of industry professionals with varying technical, artistic and business backgrounds and assorted experiences who bring a wide variety of viewpoints to the festival.

Over the years, the Jury has featured producers, educators, industry leaders working in both large, established companies as well as small studios, independent creators, executives and Oscar winners. The 2017 Jury is no exception.

Here they are:


You can submit your work through FilmFreeway until September 1st, 2017. The extended deadline is September 11th. Visit our submissions' page for more info:

Link: FilmFreeway.com/festival/SPARKANIMATION

Please go to our Festival page for more information on screening schedule and online ticketing. It will be available later this summer. Make sure to join our mailing-list for all last-minute information regarding this incredible event.

Link: Festival web page

Animator // Pixar Animation Studios

Andrew Coats

Andrew Coats is currently an animator at Pixar Animation Studios. Born in Peru of Colombian and Scottish parents, Andrew grew up around the world before settling in the US at the age of 16. After attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he learned about filmmaking and animation, his career started at Blue Sky Studios, animating on Horton Hears a Who, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and finally serving as a character lead on Rio. Andrew then joined Pixar in 2010 where he has animated on Cars 2, Brave, Toy Story OF TERROR!, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory and is currently on The Incredibles 2.

In addition to Feature Animation, he also Directed the Oscar® nominated animated short Borrowed Time (with a long time friend from college and co-worker at Pixar, Lou Hamou-Lhadj). The film was made on their spare nights and weekends, and around their full-time jobs, and took them 5 years to create. It has been in over 100 festivals around the world, and received over 20 awards.

President // Bardel Entertainment

Bary Ward

As President and Co-Founder of Bardel Entertainment, Barry sources and develops new business opportunities and strategic partnerships for the company. He is Bardel’s “point person” for securing and retaining key relationships with major U.S. clients such as DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Disney, and Warner Bros. He also assists with recruiting key talent and sourcing potential offshore production Studios to fulfill the Studio’s outsourcing needs.

With their integrity, honesty and commitment to excellence, both Barry and Delna have forged long-term working relationships, not only with their international clients and partners, but also with some of Canada’s top creative talent, experienced managers and industry experts.

Animation Supervisor // Animal Logic

David Burgess

David Burgess is currently in pre-production on The Lego Movie Sequel due to hit theatres in Spring 2019. Prior to this, Dave worked as Head of Character Animation at DreamWorks Animation where he served as Head of Character Animation for Trolls, Turbo and Monsters Vs Aliens. He was also Supervising Animator on Megamind, Bee Movie and Over the Hedge, as well as Animator on Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Madagascar, and Shrek 2.

David got his industry start assisting filmmaker John Weldon at the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal. With that project completed, David started working in television commercials for various studios in Montreal, Toronto, London and Los Angeles.

In 1990, he began working at Walt Disney Feature Animation in Burbank, CA. At Disney, he worked on many of their most successful hand-drawn productions. His assignments included: Supervising Animator on Tarzan (Professor Porter) and The Lion King (The Hyenas), as well as working as an Animator on Beauty and the Beast (Gaston/Bimbettes) and Aladdin (Genie), among many others.

Born and raised in Orange County, California, David graduated with Honours in Animation from the Emily Carr College of Art & Design in Vancouver, BC.

He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, The Visual Effects Society, The Television Academy, and over the years has taught animation courses in various colleges, universities, film festivals, conferences and online with Animation Mentor.

Faculty // Capilano University

Don Perro

Don has been training artists for the animation industry for twenty-five years and has developed or co-developed career animation programs in universities in Malaysia, China and Mexico. He helped found the animation program at Algonquin College (Ottawa) in 1990 and moved to North Vancouver in 1994 to set up Capilano University’s animation department. Don has coordinated and taught Capilano’s internationally recognized classical animation program ever since.

He continues to work in the industry whenever possible as an animator, storyboard artist and consultant on 2D production pipelines for studios including DHX Media, Bardel Entertainment, Slap Happy Cartoons, Jester Coyote and the National Film Board of Canada. He is a beta-tester for TV Paint Development (France) and his most recent adventure was teaching 2D animation in the inaugural “Train the Trainers” initiative, working with animation instructors from five, Kingston post-secondary institutions for the Government of Jamaica and The World Bank.

Creative Supervisor, Puppet Fab // LAIKA

Georgina Hayns

Kubo and the Two Strings marks Georgina Hayns’ fourth film at LAIKA. She also supervised puppet fabrication on The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman and Coraline. She has been involved in all aspects of puppet fabrication for stop-motion films for over twenty years. Her career began in the UK, working for Cosgrove Hall Films, Mackinnon and Saunders and Warner Bros. In 1993, Georgina joined Mackinnon and Saunders as an armaturist where she supervised children’s television series and commercials, including BBC Television’s Noddy, HIT Entertainment’s Bob the Builder, Lipton Brisk Tea and Puffs Tissues. She also worked on animated feature films including Mars Attacks! and shorts including the Oscar-nominated Periwig Maker. Prior to joining LAIKA in 2006, Georgina worked on Corpse Bride.

Producer // Atomic Cartoons

Heather Renney

Heather’s animation career has spanned almost 17 years with varied positions and experience. Starting on the corporate side as a financial/legal assist, she eventually switched gears to coordinate on such shows as Thomas the Tank Engine, Marvel Avengers and Rocket Monkeys and moved into Production Management with the recent Netflix original series Beat Bugs.

Heather is currently Producing the 7th season of Max & Ruby for Atomic Cartoons, which will be her second season in this role.

As a photographer, Heather is a board member of East Vancouver’s oldest non-for-profit Art collective Avenue for the Arts as well as is the Volunteer Coordinator for Drawn Together Vancouver — which empowers and advances women in art, technical and Business sectors of the animation industry.

Executive Producer // Warner Bros. Animation

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 as a visual storytelling medium. She is currently producing The LEGO Movie Sequel for Warner Animation Group.

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; Dinosaur directed by Ralph Zondag and Eric Leighton.

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 CGI animation and its extensive application on such features as Dinosaur and Fantasia 2000.

Born in Japan, Jinko’s passion for animation started at a very early age after two life-altering experiences: seeing Lady and 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 volunteers as the secretary for Women in Animation with devotion to advance women and people of diversity in animation, and as a board member for the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra, bringing much needed music education with a focus on schools in underserved neighbourhoods. In her spare time she is a published poet.

Executive Producer // National Film Board of Canada

Shirley Vercruysse

Shirley 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) and The Mountain of SGaana (Christopher Auchter).

Projects currently in production include the medium-length documentary Beauty: Beyond Binary (Christina Willings) and the animated short Shop Class (Hart Snider).

Prior to joining the NFB in February 2014, Shirley was an independent film and television producer based in Calgary, Alberta. Her feature credits include waydowntown, A Problem with Fear, Comeback Season, Radiant City, Angels Crest, The Future Is Now!, and Fubar II.

VFX Supervisor // Sony Pictures Imageworks

Sue Rowe

Sue Rowe joined Sony’s Vancouver team as one of the industry’s most experienced VFX supervisors with almost 20 years of experience in a variety of capacities including traditional animation, 3D animation, and compositing.

A multiple-award nominee and winner, Sue’s wealth of knowledge has proved invaluable during many productions including The Maze Runner (Fox), John Carter (Disney) and The Golden Compass (New Line). Her experience spans from previz and shoot supervision (including prep for Motion-Control, HDRI photography), through to the end product, supervising a huge team of artists in-house to complete any VFX Movie.

In 2016, she completed 200 shots for Warner on The Legend of Tarzan and 300 shots for Fox on Independence Day: Resurgence.

CEO // YumeBau Inc.

Wilson Tang

Wilson is a designer, artist, director and entrepreneur with a proven track record in leading large creative teams in both films and games. He co-founded Kabam Vancouver, and has been Art Director at both Electronic Arts and Industrial Light & Magic. He is a visual storyteller at heart, fluent in the language of architecture, concept design, cinema, polygons and shaders. Even though he is passionate about human-centric design and technology, he is still pretty handy with a pencil and a napkin, where everything starts.

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