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TAAFI News

Toronto Animation Film Festival

Toronto Animation Industry Conference

Toronto Animation / VFX Job Fair

ABOUT TAAFI

The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International, or TAAFI, is the animation festival that welcomes a massive audience of talented professionals, students, studios and enthusiasts, year after year. 

TAAFI’S Mission is to showcase incredible animation and the creators behind it. TAAFI is a local reunion for global animation.

TAAFI has evolved into a series of three “can’t miss experiences” in the international animation landscape with distinct events and audiences held throughout the year. We aim to showcase and invigorate the passion in animation. At this time of COVID-19, TAAFI is more determined to service the industry in providing quality content that will inspire our audience and their creativity.

We are a completely volunteer run not-for-profit organization that is crazy passionate about animation, cartoons, and the people who make them.

Our three main events each year are the Film Festival late February, the Job Fair end of April and our Industry Conference early November.

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OUR BOARD

TAAFI has a volunteer board of hard working animation loving peeps. Through monthly board meetings, and sometimes weekly meetings leading up to the events, your TAAFI Board are some of the hardest working multitaskers this side of the Humber river.

Karen Jackson - TAAFI Chair

Karen Jackson - TAAFI Chair

Karen Jackson is the newest Chair for TAAFI. As TAAFI's first female chair, Karen is excited to bring with her new ideas and efforts in increasing inclusion and diversity into TAAFI's events. Karen has worked tirelessly for TAAFI for many years and is proud to have the opportunity to continue building TAAFI towards further success. Karen currently works at Mainframe Studios and has over ten years experience in the Animation Industry bringing with her a strong background in managing teams, organizing events, building event and organizational pipelines and running the business.

Matthew Celestial - Treasurer & TAAFI PR

Matthew Celestial - Treasurer & TAAFI PR

Matthew Celestial is the Executive Director of Statement Strategies Ltd., a communications and public strategy firm, specializing in technology, animation, entertainment, and innovative lifestyle brands. Having led multiple campaigns for businesses in technology, entertainment and lifestyle across the globe, Matthew steers senior leadership teams and clients to find the right message for their organizations. He leads TAAFI's PR and makes it look easy.

Sabrina Zaczek - Social Media Director

Sabrina Zaczek - Social Media Director

After graduating from Loyalist College with an Advanced Diploma in Animation, Sabrina now works as a Production Assistant for Big Jump Entertainment. Sabrina brings her love of the industry and passion for bringing new people together to the role of Ambassador Coordinator. When she's not knee deep in a new project, Sabrina can be found reading, cooking, or 3D printing things she may or may not need.

Aliza Fagen - Communications

Aliza Fagen - Communications

International Brand Manager at NELVANA. Aliza joined the board not long ago but is already mixing things up and bringing a fresh feel to everyone's favorite animation festival.

Adriana (Vargas) Blake - Programming & Portfolio Reviews

Adriana (Vargas) Blake - Programming & Portfolio Reviews

Adriana (Vargas) Blake is a Venezuelan/American/Canadian (phew!) artist with over 10 years of experience in the animation industry as a storyboard artist and revisionist; with credits in shows such as Johnny Test, Arthur, and Magic School Bus: Rides Again among many others. She’s volunteered at TAAFI on and off throughout the years, recently becoming an official STAAFI and board member in 2021. She's a wife, mom, D&D nerd, and likes mermaids and tea.

Aslı Bulut - Sponsorship / Grants

Aslı Bulut - Sponsorship / Grants

I entered the VFX and CG production industry to explore my ambition for working eminent series and features on VOD platforms. Covid- 19 made me reevaluate my career path, and I decided to pursue my passion for 3D animated content development and production. I joined Industrial Brothers as a production coordinator in 2020. When I am not busy with PCing, you can find me at Reference Library burying under Mesopotamian Mythology books, skating on frozen lakes, spinning and camping under the stars.

Spencer Moreland - Programming

Spencer Moreland - Programming

Based in Ottawa, Spencer is an independent animator and filmmaker. Since 2013, he has worked as an animator, writer, storyboard artist and director on a variety of projects big and small, with equal appreciation for the fancy big-studio projects, the weird, artsy stuff, and everything in between. Spencer's always got his radar up for new and exciting voices in animation, and he's eager to share his findings with the TAAFI audience in his new role as Director of Programming.

D'Arcy Cooney - Development

D'Arcy Cooney - Development

As the Director of Marketing at Pipeline Studios, D’Arcy leads consumer marketing for the Pipeline brands, and oversees trade marketing initiatives for the studio. D'Arcy has led the creation and execution of integrated, consumer-facing marketing campaigns for some of the hottest children's content in the world, bringing over a decade of this experience to the TAAFI board.

Barnabas Wornoff - Co-Founder

Barnabas Wornoff - Co-Founder

Wornoff helps with speaker, film programming, sponsorship and community building. Wornoff is a full-time professor at Seneca College, where he coordinates the 3rd year 2D stream, as well as a Creative Producer for Smiley Guy Studios where he directs animation for clients like Netflix and Fox. Barnabas has his Masters in Creative Media and Education from Bournemouth University in England and has a fat lazy cat.

KEY VOLUNTEERS

TAAFI couldn't bring you the goods time and time again if it wasn't for our crew of dedicated super-stars! From organizing our volunteers, to helping with video and photos, to outreach, sponsorship, or speaker outreach, our crew of volunteers is in my opinion, THE BEST!!! 😍

Quinn Doherty - Shorts Lead

Quinn Doherty - Shorts Lead

A recent graduate of Centennial College’s Children’s Media Program, Quinn has spent many years volunteering at TAAFI and has joined as official STAAFI in 2021. He has a great love of animation and in particular the writing and production side of the industry while also keeping his visual arts skills strong. When he isn’t assisting the social media or organizing community game nights you can find him pondering life’s great questions or watching silly internet videos, y’know one of the two.

Jess Nguyen - Instagram Lead & Sponsorship Lead

Jess Nguyen - Instagram Lead & Sponsorship Lead

Jess is a character designer in animation based in the GTA. She’s been volunteering at TAAFI since 2014, a TAAFI college ambassador starting 2018, and now we’re back for round 3 because it’s just that great!

Grayden Laing - Tech Mech

Grayden Laing - Tech Mech

Grayden is a multidisciplinary artist working in the fields of videography, photography, fine art, and animation. If you're on a livestream chances are Grayden is behind the scenes helping in one way or another. Grayden also runs Interstitial Entertainment from Laing Studios in St. Thomas, Ontario and manage canadiananimationblog.com.

Thalia Lemon - Speaker Programming Director

Thalia Lemon - Speaker Programming Director

New to the behind the scenes of TAAFI, Thalia is a 10 year industry veteran with a passionate enthusiasm for all things cartoon, and a resume that includes the Willoughby's, Addams Family 2, My Little Pony the Movie, and various TV productions. When this west coast transplant isn't storyboarding, you can find her live-streaming on Twitch (DrawsforFun), or trying to fix her terrible posture.

Jeanna LeClair - Graphic Design Lead

Jeanna LeClair - Graphic Design Lead

Jeanna is a graphic designer, artist, and illustrator. She has been a part of TAAFI for over 8 years, translating the show themes into signs, posters, booklets, banners, badges and more. When not working on TAAFI things, or playing endless amounts of Stardew Valley, Jeanna works as a freelance graphic designer for Ubisoft.

Christopher Shi - Project Coordinator

Christopher Shi - Project Coordinator

Chris graduated from California College of the Art's animation program and is a recent graduate from Sheridan's Creative Industries Management Program. His love for supporting people led him to pursue a career in production management where he aims to help others succeed in accomplishing their artistic dreams. Alongside his love for animation Chris is also an avid fan of trading card games and the Tokusatsu genre.

Jonathan Payne - Project Coordinator

Jonathan Payne - Project Coordinator

Hailing from the coastal province of Newfoundland, Jonathan is in his last year of the Honours Bachelor of Film and Television program at Sheridan College. His heart for people, animation, and storytelling have him eager to learn all about the industry. That’s why he’s with us at TAAFI. When he’s not writing his own pilots, he’s probably on a walk playing Pokémon Go & listening to movie scores.

Winnie Su - College Ambassador Coordinator

Winnie Su - College Ambassador Coordinator

Winnie Su is a 2D animator. artist and illustrator. She is currently the OCAD University's Ambassador for TAAFI and has a big passion for spreading more love and appreciation about animation in all of its forms. Winnie aspires to make it into the animation industry one day, improving her skills as an artist day by day! When she's not working on random cat gifs, she enjoys reading indie graphic novels, manga and watching anime in her spare time.

Sheila Connolly - Minute Maker

Sheila Connolly - Minute Maker

Keeper of the TAAFI Minutes, Sheila helps keep the board on track, on time, and on topic... Now storyboard coordinator at Yowza! Animation, Sheila coordinated and managed production on various series for Nelvana, Amberwood Productions, and Funbag Animation.

COLLEGE AMBASSADORS

Representing the 11 Animation College's across Ontario, these passionate students of cartoonery help spread the word, and get sweet insider info and backstage passes to all things TAAFI. Give them a high five if you see them in the halls. ✋😀

Fernando Parra Lopez - Loyalist College

Fernando Parra Lopez - Loyalist College

I'm a Mexican student currently enrolled at the Animation program at Loyalist College. I focus on 3D characters and environments with the goal of working one day in the digital entertainment industry.

Mihir Wadhvana - Durham College

Mihir Wadhvana - Durham College

Born and raised in Mumbai, India, presently residing in Oshawa, Ontario Canada, Mihir’s interest in animation began in the ’90s, watching cartoons as a kid. Mihir enjoys watching movies, TV shows, and gaming, and according to his Tinder profile, likes splining them curves (in the graph editor ofcourse).

Hannah Collins - Seneca College

Hannah Collins - Seneca College

Hannah is a first-year Animation Student at Seneca College with a passion for animation and 2000’s Canadian cartoons. From a tiny town with little else to do, Hannah has been drawing from a young age and was ecstatic to learn she was going to be a part of the team. When she is not working on homework, she ruins family movie nights by constantly talking about the film by letting everyone know the fun facts and details they might have missed.

Lucas Prokopowich - Seneca College

Lucas Prokopowich - Seneca College

Lucas is currently a first-year Animation student at Seneca College. He loves experimental animation and illustration, and also does freelance studio work in his off-time. He's beyond excited to be a part of such an incredible event alongside so many talented people. When he's not drawing—which has become a rare occurrence with school—he enjoys indie films and dabbling in a good game of Mario Kart.

Victoria Lai - Lesley University

Victoria Lai - Lesley University

I'm a sophomore Animation student who aspires to be a character designer! Previously, I interned at Titmouse as a Recruiting Intern. Currently, I create Social Media Graphics for Rise Up Animation and helped launch a social media campaign called, "What Does Rise Up Animation Mean to You?", where I worked on illustrating the social media posts each week in order to showcase people’s responses to what Rise Up Animation meant to them. I also create Social Media Graphics at Asian Queens in Animation too and such as one for a special community bonding event!

MK Sicree – Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

MK Sicree – Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

I was born and raised on the foot of Mount Nittany in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania. I’ve been writing and drawing comics since I was in elementary school. I’ve been animating since I was in high school. But even now, as a Senior in my university’s 2D animation program, I know I’ve still got a lot to learn and a long road ahead of me. When I’m not listening to horror podcasts and working on my art, I like to play “Minecraft” and “Magic: The Gathering” with my friends and younger siblings.

Andrea Krebbers - Bradley University

Andrea Krebbers - Bradley University

Andrea Krebbers is a junior animation student at Bradley University with a passion for art and illustration. Andrea's love for animation began years ago with animated movies (such as Treasure Planet) and video games, and she's been drawing ever since. She's extremely excited to be working among other passionate animators and for the opportunity to share the art of animation with the world. In her off-time when she's not drawing - or working for school - she can usually be found watching animated shows or playing video games. Andrea hopes to work in the animation industry as a concept artist and animator, particularly for video games!

Jenna Campbell - Humber Ambassador

Jenna Campbell - Humber Ambassador

Jenna is a digital artist who is currently studying in her final semester of the 3D Animation program at Humber College. She has been a lover of video games and the beauty of animation for as long as she can remember. Jenna continues to work on enhancing her skills so that she can one day fulfill her dreams of becoming a part of the entertainment industry and sharing her art with the world.

TAAFI Founders

The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International was founded in 2012 by six animation loving powerhouses:

Barnabas Wornoff, Ben McEvoy, Rich Duhaney, Mike Weiss, JoAnn Purcell and Mark Jones.

Without their passion, and countless late nights, TAAFI would not exist and we thank them forever.

Former TAAFI board members include:

John Rooney, Luis Lopez, Robbie Anderson, Lance Lefort, Morgan Fortier, Barry Sanders, Kathleen Bartlett, Guillaume Lagorgue, Angela Stukator, Laura Clunie, Janice Walker, Bianca Deguzman and Claudia Barrios. They've tooned out, but they are not forgotten.

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