Announcing the jury for the TAAFI Film Festival Awards! These experts have been training for this moment by watching several hours of the best animation in our festival! This year’s jury will be awarding prizes for Best Kids Film, Best Canadian Film, Best International Film, Best Student Film and the Grand Prix of the Festival. This is our jury, they are good people.
Marlijn van Nuenen
Marlijn van Nuenen is a dutch filmmaker and animator.
Her graduation short La Bestia (co-directed by Ram Tamez and Alfredo Gerard KuttiKat) was selected for 50+ festivals and won the Annie Award in 2020 for best student film.
She currently works as an animator in Paris on Genndy Tartakovki's Primal and is developing new projects on the side to pursuit her path as a filmmaker.
Jubilanté Joanna Cutting is a Youth Leader in Guyana and the Commonwealth who is championing ICT, technology, animation and digital media skills-training and employment opportunities. As founder of the Guyana Animation Network (GAN) Inc, Jubilanté pioneers, facilitates and manages cross-cultural, skills-training and service delivery opportunities for children, youth and young adults. She consults experts, professionals and stakeholders within the Digital and Creative Technology Industries in Guyana, the Caribbean and international markets to remain relevant. Her organization's work has appeared before Her Majesty the Queen of England, Graça Machel, Kofi Annan and Mary Robinson.
She is a trained lawyer with corporate, civil, commercial and criminal law experience. She uses research strategy to develop and create ecosystems through a cross sectional approach of the law, business and technology initiatives that empower youths and prepare them for the future ICT, technology, STEAM and creative economy. As an award-winning innovator and the CEO of a budding studio venture, GAN Studios, Jubilanté is committed to developing animation and digital arts solutions that will transform youths into innovators and entrepreneurs in their world.
Sam Chou is an award-winning series creator and director.
Early in his career, Sam was a traditional animator on feature films like Osmosis Jones (WB) and Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights before learning how to direct animation, mentoring under legendary animator, Chuck Gammage.
Sam developed and directed the animated, comedy series City in Crisis (Mondo, Adult Swim Canada), CG action-series Max Steel: Team Turbo (Mattel), and Kody Kapow, an animated adventure series starring Jason Alexander (Universal Kids). He co-created and directed the web series Crime: The Animated Series, which premiered at both Sundance and TIFF and won Best Series for Adults at the Ottawa International Animation Festival in 2014.
Currently, Sam is the creative director of development Look Mom! Productions, where he oversees the prodco’s creative development slate, which includes animated fare for teens and adults.
Michel Gagné was born in Québec, Canada and studied animation at Sheridan College School of Visual Arts in Ontario, Canada.
Renowned for his unique vision, Michel has lent his talent to several animation companies, such as Don Bluth Studios, Warner Bros., Disney, Pixar, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Paramount, Sony, etc. His creative work can be seen in over two dozen feature films including "The Iron Giant", “Demolition Man”, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”, “Osmosis Jones", “Brave” and "Ratatouille". Aside from his studio work, Michel is a determined entrepreneur who has created work in a wide range of media, from live performances to gallery exhibits. With video game veteran, Joe Olson, he created the critically acclaimed video game, "Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet" which was released in 2011.
Michel has written and illustrated several books and comics, published by DC Comics, Image Comics, Random House, Abrams, Fantagraphics, as well as Michel's own imprint, GAGNE International Press.
He has been recognized by his peers with a BAFTA, an Annie Award, and has received numerous prizes and nominations from the animation, video game and comics industries.
He lives peacefully with his wife and dog, in the United States Pacific Northwest, where he is currently producing, directing and animating a 2D hand drawn feature film based on his graphic novel, “The Saga of Rex”.
Lindsay has spent the last decade solving problems and overcoming production challenges within the Canadian animation industry. In 2018, she was able to bring her industry knowledge and Harmony expertise directly to Toon Boom Animation Inc. working as a travelling Toon Boom trainer, she was able to bring her passions of “cartoon engineering” to inspire and spread helpful 2D rigging secrets globally. She is currently engineering something exciting and looking forward to launching her next idea.
Lindsay believes developing strong team bonds and interdepartmental understanding is the foundation to successful studios and productions. One of the secret ingredients to her motivational practice is through the use of funny gifs. When she is not working on her computer, you will find her exploring her surroundings and flying kites.
Kaj Pindal Award
TAAFI is proud to announce that the Animated Person Of The Year award will henceforth be known at the Kaj Pindal award. Kaj Pindal (1927-2019) was an instrumental force in Canadian animation through his work with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and it is our pleasure to rename the award in his honour.
Past recipients include Kaj Pindal, Ray Harryhausen, Marv Newland and Dean DeBlois (Dir. How to Train Your Dragon).