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

Meet & Greet

Sat, Nov 2nd

1:00PM - 3:00PM

Corus West

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!



Alexandra Kavalova, Art Director, Spin Master

Alexandra Kavalova is a Canadian production designer and art director residing in Toronto. She completed a classical animation program at Sheridan college in 2004 and obtained an additional diploma in computer animation from Seneca college in 2005. She has 13 years of experience in the animation industry as a designer and specializes in location and character design, concept art, background painting, matte painting and colour scripting. In addition, she has 5 years of experience as art director, her list of clients include Mattel, LEGO, Autodesk, Boat Rocker Media and Spin Master. Today Alexandra is working at Spin Master Entertainment as the director of visual development where she is collaborating with talented artists from across the globe to develop numerous animated series for kids.


Andrew Healey, Development Executive, Portfolio Entertainment

Andrew Healey is a development executive at Portfolio Entertainment where he is responsible for sourcing, creating and developing the company’s slate of original animated and live-action content. Previously, Andrew worked as a freelance screenwriter for such companies as Disney, Corus, and Cartoon Network. His produced credits include PJ Masks, Winston Steinburger and Sir Dudley Ding Dong, Taking Down Taffy and Numb Chucks. Andrew was nominated in the category of Best TV Film at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in 2018, for his work on Cartoon Network’s Han Gusso. Alongside his work as a development executive, Andrew also writes on Portfolio's adult animated series Doomsday Brothers commissioned by Canada’s Corus Entertainment, and scheduled to air in 2020.


Alan Gregg, VP of Development, Industrial Brothers

What Industrial Brothers is looking for: Industrial Brothers is a Toronto based animation studio focused on creating original and entertaining content with memorable characters that tell unique stories for kids of all ages. We believe that valuable children’s entertainment gives kids a sense of personal empowerment and a feeling of ownership with the content they interact with. As media becomes more interactive and mobile, there is now a chance for them to create their own stories and become a part of a much bigger world outside their own.


Brandon Lane, Development Producer, Nelvana

Daytime Emmy nominee and 5-time Canadian Comedy Award nominee Brandon Lane is a showrunner, director, screenwriter and development producer at legendary Canadian studio Nelvana. Brandon has overseen the production of over 360 hours of content, collaborating with partners like Disney, Netflix, HBO, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop and Sony Pictures Animation. He showruns the Youth Media Alliance Award of Excellence-winning preschool series ""Miss Persona"". Brandon previously had a 5-year stint as production executive for YTV, Teletoon, Treehouse and Adult Swim Canada. He is also showrunner, director and co-creator of "Space Dragon & Kim", a web series for Shaftesbury's Sorta TV YouTube channel and co-showrunner on ""D.N. Ace"" for Nelvana.

Prior to working for Corus, he developed, creative produced and wrote for YTV's "Numb Chucks", as well as co-created and creative produced YTV's "Cache Craze". He has also written for Amazon & TVO's Emmy-nominated "Dino Dana" and CBC Kids' "What's Your News?". He oversaw production for Corus Kids on "Hotel Transylvania", "Esme & Roy", "Cupcake & Dino: General Services" (which New York Times named one of the best new shows of 2018) and many other kids' series. Brandon recently wrote and directed an award-winning musical film called "Princess Sparkly Butt & The Hot Dog Kid", adapted from an award-winning play he also wrote and directed.


Drew Mullin, Executive in Charge of Production Children's Content, CBC Kids

Drew Mullin is an international award winning writer, director and producer who joined CBC Kids team as an executive in charge of production in 2015. At CBC, Drew has overseen several broadcast and digital series including: season 1 & 2 of Dot, Kingdom Force, Big Blue, Snapshots (2018 International Emmy winner), Season 2 of Addison and Season 3 of Napkin Man.

He also works closely with the digital team to help executive produce the CBC Kids “Digital Originals” shorts including Canadoodaday (2018 Prix Jeunesse winner).


Dave Padbury, Developer Manager, Originals, Guru Studio

Dave Padbury joined the Guru development team five years ago to work on "True and The Rainbow Kingdom". Since then, he has contributed to the upcoming Disney Junior series "Pikwik", the CBC comedy "Big Blue", and many others. He is focused on supporting creators' visions across all of Guru's upcoming series and finding new voices and new stories. 


Kirsten Hurd, Acquisitions, TVOkids, TVOkids

As acquisitions officer for TVO, the technological extension of Ontario’s public education system, Kirsten is responsible for sourcing a wide range of kids programming. In her previous positions she spent 15-years in international sales and acquisitions of finished programming, most recently as director of acquisitions and Canada sales at Distribution360. 


Lorna Withrington, Director of Development, Spin Master

Experienced development executive with a demonstrated history of sourcing, analyzing, and developing original children’s content from around the world. A career spanning Hit Entertainment, Mattel, Entertainment One, and Spin Master Lorna specializes in content that has the ability to move beyond the screen into global brands that become a meaningful part of children’s play.


Martha Sepulveda, Director of Development, 9 Story Media Group

Martha Sepulveda used to be a kid who dreamt of making her own shows. Today, Martha is a children’s media development executive and producer creating content that inspires and entertains. She is the development director at 9 Story Media Group and has over 10 years of international experience in kid’s media. She has worked for award winning companies like Sinking Ship Entertainment and Breakthrough Entertainment. Martha is also especially proud to be an adviser for the Government of Colombia’s Ministry Of Culture’s Children Media Fund.

Martha is known for being passionate about diverse content, and representation in front of, as well as behind the screen. She is sought after for her perspectives, her creativity, and her aesthetic.

Most importantly, Martha is raising a food loving, tree hugging, confident, compassionate daughter. She spends her spare time baking cakes worthy of the Great Canadian Baking Show.

Martha has a BFA in Animation from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Children’s Media from Centennial College.


Marlene Schmidt, Head of Production, Epic Story Media

Marlene is a highly collaborative and creative producer experienced in producing animation & live action content; pre-production through to post production. She works strategically with executive teams to identify and service production priorities. With a proven record of delivering on budget and on schedule while preserving creative integrity of the brand across multiple platforms, Marlene is also a seasoned recruiter with motivating leadership skills, excellent organizational and communication skills. She is passionate about building long term professional relationships.


Michelle Melanson Cuperus, Headspinner Productions Inc., President

Emmy and Bafta Nominated, Michelle Melanson has over 25 years experience in the production business with hundreds of episodes produced and over 50 awards and nominations.

In early 2018, Michelle started Headspinner Productions with husband Ken Cuperus, an Emmy Nominated creator and showrunner. They currently have several shows in active development with broadcasters including a reboot of the Canadian classic series Hilarious House of Frightenstein.

Michelle was vice president and then president of Radical Sheep Productions from 2009-2018, executive producing such shows as the worldwide hit The Next Step, as well as Fangbone!, The Bagel & Becky Show, Tee & Mo, Stella and Sam, The Yup Yups and Ollie The Boy Who Became What He Ate. Michelle has won the Canadian Screen award, the Grand Prize of the Youth Media Alliance, mulitiple Kidscreen Awards and Cynopsis Awards. She also has a Juno Award for producing the Stella and Sam Album.

Michelle is also the founder of Women Drawn Together -a free organization that fosters learning, networking and mentorship for Women in the Animation community. In the past four years, the group has grown to 4 cities and well over 1500 members. The organization is open to all, with a focus on opportunities to learn about various departments in the animation field in a safe, comfortable environment.

Michelle graduated in 1990 from Ryerson with a BAA in Radio and Television Arts and is a Wall of Fame Alumni recipient, an award she received in 2019. 


Miklos Perlus, Executive Producer, Development and Production, Pipeline Studios

An actor, screenwriter and producer with nearly three decades of experience in the international entertainment industry, Miklos is perhaps best known for his role as Victor Kane on the hit live-action/animated comedy Student Bodies (FOX, YTV). As an actor he starred on the four-time Primetime Emmy Award winning Avonlea (Disney/ABC). He was also the voice of Quentin MacLeod on the acclaimed Highlander: The Animated Series, a spinoff of the cult classic film, and more recently performed the voice of Eric Needles on the animated comedy Sidekick (CN, YTV). Miklos also spent two seasons as a story editor for the ten-time Canadian Screen Award winning Degrassi: The Next Generation (Teen Nick, CTV) where one of his scripts won the coveted Writer’s Guild of Canada Award. He also developed, wrote and acted in the teen drama, Instant Star (Teen Nick, CTV) which was awarded two Canadian Screen Awards.

Miklos served as vice president, Kids and Family for marblemedia where he wrote, developed and produced several award-winning kids’ series including, Splatalot (Disney/YTV), Open Heart (Teen Nick/YTV), Hi Opie (TVO) and Opie’s Home (TVO) the last of which he executive produced as showrunner. He recently served as supervising producer and writer for the award-winning animated series, Nina’s World (Universal Kids). He is currently serving as executive producer, development and production at Pipeline Studios where he oversees the studio’s development slate, manages the “Stingray” development team, and produces the animated series Doggy World (Nat Geo Kids).


Shannon Bishop, Manager, Creative Affairs, Entertainment One, Family & Brands

Shannon Bishop works as part of the eOne Family & Brands team as manager, creative affairs. She is responsible for acquiring new content and managing projects in active development. eOne Family’s current slate of programs include “Peppa Pig”, “PJ Masks”, “Ricky Zoom” and “Cupcake and Dino”.


Shaleen Sangha, Vice President, Development and Production, Boat Rocker Studios, Kids and Family

Shaleen Sangha has been a part of the Boat Rocker team since 2017. As vice president of Boat Rocker Studios, Kids and Family, Shaleen oversees the day-to-day operations of its Toronto division with a focus on creative development and production. Prior to this Shaleen was at DHX Media since 2007, as the director of development for Kids and Family entertainment.

Shaleen has a passion for content and focuses on building meaningful heartfelt stories that resonate with todays youth. Throughout her career, Shaleen has been committed to seeking out and fostering new ideas and talent as well as managing relationships with existing clients, creators and content makers. Shaleen was a CSA nominee as supervising producer of the The Next Step Season 6, and was creative executive on series such as The Strange Chores, Polly Pocket, Chip and Potato, Chuck’s Choice, Doozers, Looped and many more.

Shaleen was instrumental in building online content for many of the series on her slate including the Chuck’s Choice: Choose Your Own Pet Adventure and the Addison: The Invention Detective app. In addition to her role in development, Shaleen has created content since she was 9-years-old and has been a writer, director and producer of award-winning short films, including Nayan and the Evil Eye which garnered 14 awards worldwide. Shaleen also has experience in sales and contracts administration in her prior roles at Cinemavault Releasing and Microsoft Canada.


Shabnam Rezaei, Co-Founder / Producer, Big Bad Boo Studios

Shabnam started Big Bad Boo Studios to make quality cartoons for kids. Shows include16 Hudson (TVO Kids), Bravest Knight (Hulu), 1001 Nights (Teletoon), Lili & Lola (ICI TV), Mixed Nutz, and Babak & Friends. 1001 Nights, nominated for 15 LEOs with 4 wins, airs in 80 countries on Cartoon Network, Disney, Discovery Kids, ORF, RTP, Gloob Brazil and many more. Based in New York and Vancouver, the company has launched Oznoz.com, an online channel that serves cartoons in various languages. Exclusive libraries include Babar, Bob The Builder, Musti and others in Persian, Chinese, French, Spanish and others.

With a BS in Computer Science, a BA in German Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from NYU, Shabnam spent 10 years working at EXIS, Deloitte and Misys in NYC and London. She has won Vancouver’s 40 Under 40 and Canada’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Shabnam was born in Iran and grew up in Austria. She speaks English, German, Persian, French, and Spanish. Shabnam is raising her two girls trilingual. They love to watch Elmo’s World in Persian and Thomas & Friends in German on Oznoz.


Sam Chou, Creative Director of Development, Kickstart Entertainment

Sam Chou is an award-winning creator and director, and founder of Toronto animation studio, Style5.tv. Sam fostered his tenacity and passion for animated storytelling in his early days, working on feature films for Warner Bros, Sony, DreamWorks, and Disney. Now, as a 20-year industry veteran, Sam has developed and directed in virtually every medium, including short films, series, commercials, web-series, and feature-length documentaries. His past directorial experiences include the animated comedy series 'City in Crisis' (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 which won Best Series for Adults at the OIAF.


Todd Brian, Director of Development, Animation, WildBrain

A graduate of Ryerson University’s Film Studies program and the Canadian Film Centre, Todd has spent many years building strong industry relationships while working in various senior creative positions on both animation and live-action (scripted and non-scripted) productions.

A few of his notable roles include time spent at Corus Entertainment as a production executive/Corus Kids (YTV; Teletoon; Treehouse) where he oversaw a robust slate of projects in active development and production; development executive/Kids & Family at Toronto-based marblemedia; senior writer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC); segment producer for Corus Entertainment (Factual/Lifestyle); and multiple credits as a writer/story editor ranging from preschool to tween/family co-view programming content.

Todd came to WildBrain from APKids (Alibi-Pivotal Kids) where he held the position of director of development, kids & family. 


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