Toronto Animation Film Festival

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Where: Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor St W) & Online

When: April 4-6, 2024

Previous Events:

Toronto Animation Industry Conference

Toronto Animation / VFX Job Fair

Festival Jury

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.


Dave Barton Thomas

Drawing and dreaming since childhood, Dave Barton Thomas has directed a range of award-winning series, specials, show opens and commercials created in an array of techniques. He has worked in stop motion, 2D, pixelation and hybrid media for projects ranging from preschool to adult. In addition to directing, he has also worked in show development, written scripts, story edited, designed characters and locations, animated a plethora of critters and creatures, and made short films of his own. He has given talks at colleges, schools and panels on animation, and mentors animation students through their final thesis films. His list of project clients include Fred Rogers Productions, PBS, Disney, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, ABC Family, MTV2, CBC, Teletoon, HBO Family and Fisher-Price. Currently, Dave is at Pipeline Studios co-directing Alma’s Way for Fred Rogers Productions and PBS KIDS. Dave has been known to go for hours without food or water while drawing funny pictures and making stuff.

Shawn Seles is currently a Series Director at Pipeline Studios, on the Fred Rogers Productions / PBS KIDS animated series "Alma's Way." After graduating Sheridan College's "Classical Animation" program more than 40-years ago, he began his career as a designer, assistant animator and animator on animated series productions like "Ewoks," "Droids" and "Babar." He has also animated and directed commercials for a number of characters including Eddie and Freddie Shreddie, Garfield, Popeye, the Green Giant and Froot Loops' Toucan Sam. In the mid 1990s, Shawn started as a Senior Animator at the Toronto Studio of Walt Disney Animation and worked his way up to Animation Director before leaving and returning to animated series productions as Animation Director, Assistant Director and then the position of Director.


Tomas Pajdlhauser

Tomas Pajdlhauser is a Canadian art director, production designer, and visual development artist working in Los Angeles. With over two decades of experience in the animation industry, he has worked on several Emmy Award-winning and nominated projects, including The Mickey Mouse Shorts, The Loud House,  A Tale Dark and Grimm, and with clients including Disney, Nickelodeon, Warner Brothers, and National Geographic. He is currently the Art Director of an animated feature at Netflix Animation. Tomas is also well-known for his ink and watercolor urban sketches, which have been published widely. 


Sonya Carey

After graduating from the University of Guelph with a BA in Theatre , and after a brief backpacking tour of Europe, Sonya relocated to the Los Angeles area to pursue lighting and sound design, as well as acting, as a career.  

Landing a job in an animation studio was unexpected, but turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.  Animation combined all of the elements of entertainment that Sonya was looking for.   Acting, Technology, and Entertainment all rolled into one amazing package.   

Having had a long and illustrious career, Sonya has worked her way up from Artist to Producer and Head of Production on both animated series and feature films such as The Princess and the Frog, Daniel Spellbound, Kronk's New Groove, and The Ren and Stimpy Show just to name a few. 

At this time in her career, Sonya is giving back to the industry as the founder of The Animation Lounge teaching facility and has joined Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles as a full-time faculty member in the Digita Arts and Animation department. 


Sue Jung

Sue leads Guru Studio's recruitment process for all studio positions, attracting and nurturing top talents for productions like the global smash hit PAW Patrol, the Sesame Street animated spinoff Mecha Builders, the widely popular YouTube hit My Magic Pet Morphle with Moonbug Entertainment, and Sesame Workshop's new mini series Charlotte's Web.
Sue has close to twenty years of experience leading talent management for companies such as Soho VFX, Snowball Studios, and Toonbox Entertainment.


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).


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