Toronto Animation Film Festival

Toronto Animation Industry Conference

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Where: Toronto Reference Library & Online

When: November 2-4, 2023

Previous Events:

Toronto Animation / VFX Job Fair

Presented by:


Working Moms: Animation Edition

Sat, Nov 12th

10:30AM - 11:30AM

Reference Library: Epic Hall

Listen as these animation powerhouses share their experience in both the joys and the challenges of what it's like being a Mom in the Animation Industry. We are joined by Shaleen Sangha (Head of Kids at Boat Rocker Media), Sonya Carey (Head of Production at Snowball Studios), Adriana Blake (Story Artist at Copernicus Studios) and Alexandra Tortosa (Surfacing Artist at Mainframe Studios). Panel is moderated by TAAFI Chair and fellow Mom of three, Karen Jackson.


Alexandra Tortosa, Surfacing Artist, Mainframe Studios

Alexandra Tortosa is surfacing and modeling artist based out of the GTA for over seven years with experience in traditional art, letterpress printing and graphic design. She draws her inspiration from the playfulness of her children as she incorporates it into her 3D and traditional mediums.


Courtney Guthrie, Lead Animator, Big Jump Entertainment

Courtney Guthrie is lead animator at Big Jump Entertainment. She graduated from Sheridan College in 2009 and has worked in 2D television production ever since. She has two sons, aged 6 and 8.


Shaleen Sangha, Vice President - Kids and Family, Boat Rocker Studios

Shaleen Sangha has been a part of the Boat Rocker team since 2017. As a 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.

Shaleen has a passion for content and focuses on building meaningful heartfelt stories that resonate with today’s youth. Shaleen was Executive Producer of The Next Step, Season 7, and a CSA nominee as Supervising Producer of the The Next Step, Season 6. Shaleen has served as Creative Executive on series such as A Tale Dark and Grimm, 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 roles in development and production, Shaleen has been a writer, director and producer of award-winning short films, including Nayan and the Evil Eye which garnered 15 awards worldwide. Shaleen also has experience in sales and contracts administration in her prior roles at Cinemavault Releasing and Microsoft Canada.


Sonya Carey, Head of Production, Snowball Studios

Sonya Carey has been working in the animation and visual effects industry for close to 25 years. After graduation from the University of Guelph, Sonya began working as an artist in a studio in Los Angeles on the Ren and Stimpy Show. She took the time needed to understand the technology behind animation by becoming a camera and compositing artist. As a creative, she was particularly interested in the complex tasks and pipelines which are needed to produce visual FX. Suggesting and providing solutions lead Sonya out of the creative seat and into production.

Following the path of animation technology, Sonya was promoted from 2D Compositing Lead, to Head of Studio Operations, to Producer and is now the Head of Production at Snowball Studios. She has been fortunate enough to work on both feature and series with a roster of clients that include Disney, Warner Brothers, and now Netflix.

Sonya is now dedicated to sharing this knowledge by way of teaching as founder and instructor of The Animation Lounge. Her focus is on 2D software and fine art of 2D film making. Teaching young people the skills needed to tell their own stories and how to pursue careers in animation is Sonya's latest passion project.

Next on the list is Producing and Directing her own stories.


Karen Jackson, Chair, TAAFI

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.


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