Toronto Animation Film Festival

Toronto Animation Industry Conference

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Where: Corus Quay, Toronto, Canada, 25 Dockside Dr.

When: Saturday to Sunday, November 2-3, 2019

Previous Events:

Toronto Animation / VFX Job Fair

Sat, Nov 2nd

Sun, Nov 3rd

9:15AM - 9:30AM

The Spin Master Atrium Stage

Welcome Address

With Ben McEvoy TAAFI Chair, Friends & Enemies

9:30AM - 10:30AM

The Spin Master Atrium Stage

Opening Keynote with John Musker

Legendary Disney director John Musker kicks things off with a keynote talk about writing and directing. John will share some photos and behind the scenes highlight from some of the films he’s been involved in. You may see some of his early animation tests and if you play your cards right, hear the story of how he came to Disney (and animation) in the first place (after initial rejection.) 

John is an industry veteran known for his work on Disney classics such as Aladdin, The Fox & The Hound, The Little Mermaid, and more recent hits like Moana.

With John Musker Director - Moana, Little Mermaid, Disney

11:00AM - 12:00PM

Corus 8th Floor Theatre

LGBTQ+ & Their Stories

As 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Stonewall riots in New York City, LGBTQ+ are becoming more visible in popular culture than ever before, and now it’s time for their representation in kids animation! Shabnam Rezaei (Bravest Knight) and Cort Lane (Marvel Rising) talk about LGBTQ+ representation in their series, and how they are going the extra mile to include LGBTQ+ both in front of and behind the scenes.

With Cort Lane Senior Vice President, Animation & Family Entertainment, Marvel John Rooney Program Director, TAAFI Consultant, Johnromedia Shabnam Rezaei Co-Founder / Producer, Big Bad Boo Studios

11:00AM - 12:00PM

The Spin Master Atrium Stage

A Conversation With Aaron Long

Join Sam Chou for an in-depth conversation with Aaron Long about his career starting as an intern for the Chuck Grammage studio with little experience and a ton of passion, through to his current work as a director for Bojack Horseman and Tuca & Bertie with Netflix. 

With Aaron Long Director - Bojack Horseman, Netflix & Shadow Machine Sam Chou Creative Director of Development, Kickstart Entertainment

1:00PM - 3:00PM

Corus West

Meet & Greet

Speed Dating For Professionals! 

This is your chance to have a 10 minute one-on-one meeting with various industry experts from studios such as Guru, Headspinner, CBC, Industrial Brothers and more!


With Alexandra Kavalova Art Director, Spin Master Andrew Healey Development Executive, Portfolio Entertainment Alan Gregg VP of Development, Industrial Brothers Brandon Lane Development Producer, Nelvana Drew Mullin Executive in Charge of Production Children's Content, CBC Kids Dave Padbury Developer Manager, Originals, Guru Studio Kirsten Hurd Acquisitions, TVOkids, TVOkids Lorna Withrington Director of Development, Spin Master Martha Sepulveda Director of Development, 9 Story Media Group Marlene Schmidt Head of Production, Epic Story Media Michelle Melanson Cuperus Headspinner Productions Inc., President Miklos Perlus Executive Producer, Development and Production, Pipeline Studios Shannon Bishop Manager, Creative Affairs, Entertainment One, Family & Brands Shaleen Sangha Vice President, Development and Production, Boat Rocker Studios, Kids and Family Shabnam Rezaei Co-Founder / Producer, Big Bad Boo Studios Sam Chou Creative Director of Development, Kickstart Entertainment Todd Brian Director of Development, Animation, WildBrain

1:00PM - 2:00PM

Corus 8th Floor Theatre

VFX Character Animation

The merging of animation and live action has been around since the start of movies, but we are seeing animation used in feature films and TV series more prominently and seamlessly than ever before. In this discussion, Marc-Andre Baron (Detective Pikachu) Cesar Dacol Jr (Happy Feet 2), Jeff Robinson, and Lon Molnar (HBO's Watchmen) will talk about the use of animation in live action, and how to achieve seamless interaction between animated characters and their live action counterparts.

With Cesar Dacol Jr Creature Art Director, Spin VFX Jeff Robinson Animation Director, Sinking Ship Entertainment Lon Molnar Co-Founder, Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies Marc-Andre Baron Senior Character Animator, Framestore

1:00PM - 2:00PM

The Spin Master Atrium Stage

Writing vs Storyboard: The Ultimate Showdown!

With the rise of board driven shows in the U.S, storyboard artists have seen a massive increase in their role as animation creators, so why hasn’t this approach been adopted by the rest of the world? In this panel will discuss the up and down sides of scripting vs boarding. How can storyboard artists and writers work closer together to craft amazing stories and what new story creating models can we adopt in Canada.

With Elizabeth Ito Writer, Storyteller, Director, Netflix S. Elize Morgan Writer/Producer, Alpaca VS Llama

2:30PM - 3:30PM

The Spin Master Atrium Stage

Animation: Not Just For Kids

We know that animation isn’t just for cartoons, but recently it seems like the rest of the world is starting to wake up to that notion, as new streaming services start to take animation seriously. Join us for a discussion on the ins and outs on crafting your ideas for a primetime world.

With Aaron Long Director - Bojack Horseman, Netflix & Shadow Machine Jason Martinsen Lead Animator, Reel FX Liliana Reyes Senior Vice President, Content, Portfolio Entertainment

2:30PM - 3:30PM

Corus 8th Floor Theatre

Immersive Storytelling

The art of storytelling has become a big focus with emerging technologies. Dan Fill (Dark Slope), Steve Miller (Secret Location) and Leslie Klassen (Flipside) discuss how virtual reality (VR) opens up a world of storytelling possibilities that turn viewers into active participants of an experience. Analyzing narratives - our panel discusses the challenges of immersive storytelling. 

With Ana Serrano Chief Digital Officer, Canadian Film Centre Dan Fill Co-Founder and COO, Dark Slope Studios Lesley Klassen CEO and Co-Founder, Flipside Steve Miller Senior Creative Technologist, Secret Location

4:00PM - 5:00PM

The Spin Master Atrium Stage

Pitching Success Stories

Pitching! We all do it, even when we are not doing it. Our esteemed panel has both pitched and receive pitches and are well-versed in how a great pitch looks, sounds and feels. If you want to hear some good pitching stories as well as tips and tricks you can use, this is the panel for you.

With John Rooney Program Director, TAAFI Consultant, Johnromedia Mike Geiger Creative Director, Industrial Brothers Marie McCann Senior Director, Children's Content, CBC Kids

4:00PM - 5:00PM

Corus 8th Floor Theatre

Spotlight on Marvel Animation With Cort Lane

Cort Lane has spent the past 10 years playing with some of the greatest superheroes created.  In this presentation, Cort will discuss Marvel’s animated history and talk about what the future holds for our greatest heroes.

With Cort Lane Senior Vice President, Animation & Family Entertainment, Marvel

5:30PM - 6:30PM

The Spin Master Atrium Stage

The Big Pitch

It’s time for our annual Big Pitch contest!

Most competitions usually only offer critiques by industry execs. 

The Big Pitch will feature a panel of judges representing departments throughout the animation pipeline. You’ll learn not only what makes a pitch sell but how to make it work from every angle!  

With Aaron Long Director - Bojack Horseman, Netflix & Shadow Machine Mark Thornton Co-founder, Neptoon Marie McCann Senior Director, Children's Content, CBC Kids

6:30PM - 11:30PM

The Rivoli Pool Hall

The TAAFI 8 Ball Mixer

Jump into the pool hall with your fellow animation fans at the TAAFI INDUSTRY 2019 8 Ball Mixer at Rivoli! Grab drinks and challenge friends new and old to a game, while you catch up on all your favourite shows, discuss the talks you've seen, and maybe even meet a hero or two from the event. There will be shuttle buses leaving from Corus Quay immediately after the final presentation to take you to The Rivoli Pool Hall for the party!


TAAFI is a non-profit volunteer organization, supported by many of the leading animation studios and industry organizations throughout the year as well as at each of the events. Without them we couldn't bring our programs to you, our audience.

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