Speakers


Aliki Theofilopoulos, Supervising Producer  at Dreamworks

Aliki Theofilopoulos is most known for being an Executive-Producer and Director on Disney’s hit series “Descendants Wicked World” as well as a Primetime Emmy nominated writer and storyboard artist, and Emmy nominated song writer on Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb”.

She began her career in feature animation in 1995, animating on such Disney films as “Hercules”, “Tarzan” and “Treasure Planet”, before moving into the world of television as a Story Artist, Writer, Director, and Executive Producer. Aliki’s credits also include the award-winning “Disney Mickey Mouse” shorts (one of which she was awarded and Annecy nomination) as well as Nickelodeon’s “Chalk Zone” and Warner Brothers’ “Johnny Test”. She developed two shorts for Frederator/Nickelodeon called “Yaki and Yumi” and “Girls on the Go”. Aliki also directed another Annecy nominated short, “Doctor Lollipop”. Currently she is the Supervising Producer on a new show for Dreamworks Television due to drop on Netflix in early 2018. Aliki is also developing a pilot for Amazon Prime. She is a member of Women in Animation, and recently traveled to Greece to give a TEDx talk.

Aliki lives in Los Angeles with her two beautiful children Ruby and Niko, her favorite characters of them all.

 

Matt Shumway, Animation Supervisor at ILM

Matt Shumway joined Industrial Light & Magic in 2013 after 10 years working as an animation supervisor at Rhythm & Hues Studios in Los Angeles. Prior to joining ILM, Matt was an animation supervisor on the Academy Award-Winning, Life of Pi. His team led the development and animation of the film’s central character Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger. Shumway worked on the development of the other animals in the film as well including the orangutan, zebra, hyena, and the cast of meerkats. His work on the tiger earned him a 2013 Annie Award. As an animation supervisor, Shumway is responsible for leading the team of animators in creating the performance and motion of the digital characters. Working closely with all departments and the client, Shumway is also responsible for the development and building of the characters. Some of his more notable projects have included directing animation on the popular Joss Whedon produced Cabin in the Woods. Various creatures, vehicles and digital doubles where animated for this film.

In 2007, Shumway was part of the supervisory team behind the Academy Award winning The Golden Compass. Various talking animals including monkeys, cats, ferrets, birds, dogs, and wolves were among the characters Matt supervised on the show. For his work on the 2004 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Shumway received an Annie Award nomination for his animation on Aslan, the great Lion. In 2015, Shumway was nominated for an Oscar for The Revenant: Animation Supervisor *Nominated for Academy Award: Best Visual Effects.

 

tolmanDrew Tolman, Vice President Development and Production at DreamEast Studios

Animation Producer Drew Tolman has over 15 years of experience making family blockbusters in both development and production for Fox, Disney, Universal and Warner Bros. She has helped build three animation studios and has managed nearly every department at one point or another. She was the Animation Associate Producer for 20th Century Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks – Road Chip!” Currently, she is VP, Creative and Production for DreamEast Pictures USA.
Drew Tolman began her career as a Development Coordinator at 20th Century Fox Animation and worked there for three years, where many family movies were developed including Titan AE (2000) and Ice Age (2002). From there, she worked in production on Pooh’s Heffalump Movie (2005) for The Walt Disney Company, Curious George (2006) for Universal Studios and Imagine Entertainment, Everyone’s Hero (2006) for Fox and Starz Media and Alvin and the Chipmunks II, the Squeakquel (2009) for Fox 2000 and Hop (2011) for Universal Studios. She was also the Production Manager at Warner Bros. for a series of CG animated shorts distributed in Kenya as part of the U.S. Pepfar initiative (2008). She supervised Post Production on several Disney shows including Phineas and Ferb, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Star Versus the Forces of Evil for Disney Television Animation.
Drew Tolman is on the Board of Directors for Miami International Animation Conference and Festival. She is an avid writer, a poet, awarded screenwriter and aspiring children’s book author. Her screenwriting has placed in several contests and has been endorsed by the prestigious KIDS FIRST! Coalition for Quality Children’s Media. She founded the family entertainment company, Beach Plum Media, to grow and produce her own ideas.

Drew Tolman received her Master’s degree in Film Studies with a concentration in children’s films from the University of Miami, Coral Gables and her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

 

leah-hoyer

Leah Hoyer, Vice President of Creative at Telltale Games

Leah Hoyer is a former attorney who left that field to pursue her passion for cartoons. After completing her MFA coursework at UCLA’s Animation Workshop in 2001, Leah began working at Disney Television Animation, where she was the Director of Development for Disney Channel Animated Series. During her tenure at Disney, Leah worked on numerous series, including “Recess,” “Kim Possible” and “Phineas & Ferb.”

I create entertainment experiences. Actually, I work with teams of talented people who make truly incredible, interactive, entertainment experiences—because nobody makes something that is loved by millions of people on their own. I build teams, mentor people, foster great ideas, and find the best way to the get those produced.

Specialties: Portfolio Strategy, Franchise Development, Video Games, Animation, Narrative, Interactive, Television, Creative Management, Team Assembly and Talent Development.

 

 

Kat Thorson Good, Director at The Walt Disney Company

Animation Director, Kat Thorson Good graduated from CalArts and began her career as a student/intern at Turner Animation and Disney Television Animation.  Her first industry job was at Walt Disney Feature Animation where she worked on films from Hercules through Treasure Planet.   She then joined DreamWorks Animation as a story artist on a great many films, including Kung Fu Panda, Bee Movie, Megamind, Rise of the Guardians, Peabody and Sherman, and Everest.  In 2013, Kat returned to Disney Television Animation to work as a director on Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero and Big Hero Six the series. Currently, she is spending her days at DTVA in development on super top secret projects.

Having a deep appreciation for giving back to the community, Kat has participated as a mentor in Women In Animation’s mentorship program and in DTVA’s mentorship program.  She now serves as Vice Chair of the WIA Mentorship Committee.

In addition to her animation career, Kat is illustrating a line of children’s books based on the Greek zodiac. She is also is a founding member of PlayHybrid Studios, a Montreal based entertainment company, overseeing storytelling, look development and design for mobile game and VR titles.


Chris Bailey, Animation 
Director

Chris Bailey has over 20 years experience in traditional feature animation and CG character animation. Ten of those years was at Disney Feature Animation after which I began to direct short theme park films and CG characters for live action films. Bailey supervised the animation on the films Hocus Pocus, Garfield I and II, X-Men ll, Mighty Joe Young, Alvin and the Chipmunks I and II, Eragon and Hop. Unlike most Animation Supervisors, Bailey works mostly show side and supervises the film’s storyboarding, 2D and 3D animatics in prep, work closely on set with the director and DP blocking out shots and direct the animators in post. Bailey also directed second unit and plate photography.

Chris TV animation experience began with CLERKS, the Cartoon and I followed that as Executive Producer and Director of KIM POSSIBLE for Disney TV. My most recent notable project was as director of the 3D CG motion ride film Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem for Universal Orlando.is currently  Recently, he has worked as a consultant to Blue Sky Studios and Fox.  This follows his successful, longstanding relationship with Fox, for which he was the Animation Supervisor on numerous Fox hits such as ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS 1 & 2, X-MEN 2, ERAGON, GARFIELD 1 & 2 and FAT ALBERT. Between ALVIN and ALVIN 2, Chris directed the PEPFAR shorts for Warner Bros. and the Kenyan government.  Chris made his directing debut with Disney’s RUNAWAY BRAIN, a short film featuring Mickey Mouse.  Prior to that, Chris animated on several Disney classics such as THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING.  Chris then directed IT’S TOUGH TO BE A BUG, a 3D film for Walt Disney Attractions.  From there, Hollywood Pictures hired him to be the Creature Animation Consultant on their thriller DEEP RISING, and then the animation director for MIGHTY JOE YOUNG.  His dedication to innovative, cutting edge animation shines in many other films including Disney’s INSPECTOR GADGET.

Chris broke as a director on the first season of Disney’s highly successful series, KIM POSSIBLE, which he also executive produced.  Previously, Miramax Television and Walt Disney Television Animation brought Chris in to be the Supervising Director of Kevin Smith’s animated series, CLERKS. Years later, The Weinsteins brought Chris onto the feature OPUS. Following OPUS, Disney hired Chris to travel to China to interface with the executives and artists in the Chinese animation studio Disney was partnered with.  This wasn’t the only time Disney asked Chris to bridge the gap between animation studios of different nations.  While working as the director on KIM POSSIBLE, Chris traveled to Korea to teach the artistic style to the artists and directors working at the studio producing the show.

Chris was one of the first 2D character animators to embrace computer animation.  The CG work on his personal projects, commercials and rock videos has led to speaking engagements at Imagina in Monte Carlo and Siggraph. With his love of teaching, Chris shares his knowledge to numerous colleges and high schools in Southern California.  He regularly appears as a guest lecturer at California Lutheran University.  As a frequent guest to his alma mater Cal Arts, Chris lends his knowledge and experience to their Character Animation Program. Chris continues to develop his own projects.  He is the creator of MAJOR DAMAGE, a comic book and short film about a little boy who is transformed into MAJOR DAMAGE, a superhero with extraordinary power who battles “mutants, monsters and alien scum.”  Since its creation, the property has spawned a 3D short written & directed by Chris, merchandise and has been published by Image and Sky Dog comics.

Joni Fernandez, Senior Vice President Univision Agency at Univision Communications, Inc.

Joni Fernandez is senior vice president of the Univision Agency, the Company’s full-service internal agency that is responsible for all cross-channel promotions and over $500 million of media inventory across all of Univision’s 16 broadcast, cable and digital networks, and radio properties. In addition, she also oversees the Creative & Production Services and Art & Design departments, as well as the account management team that services the Agency and the Company’s corporate marketing efforts. At the helm since its inception in 2013, Ms. Fernandez and her award-winning Agency team were key to the Company’s flagship Univision network winning two consecutive July ratings sweeps, in 2013 and 2014, establishing it as the nation’s #1 broadcast network for those periods in any language. In addition, The Agency’s cross-promotional campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup achieved record-breaking ratings and social media activity in addition to a Promax Award for Creative Excellence in promotional campaigns. Additionally, Ms. Fernandez oversaw the development and creation of an entirely new graphic look and branding campaign for the Univision network titled “La Que Nos Une” (The One that Unites Us), which was successfully launched at the beginning of 2017.

Ms. Fernandez previously served as vice president of On-Air Promotions and Marketing for Univision Communications’ portfolio of cable networks, overseeing marketing and promotions efforts by focusing on elevating brand equity and creating consistency and continuity throughout messaging. During this time, she contributed to the highly successful launch of the Univision tlnovelas network, as well as the rebranding campaign on behalf of Galavisión, the nation’s leading Spanish-language cable network, spearheading the first redesign of the logo and on-air look in 15 years.

 

Susan O’Connor, Scriptwriter, Speaker, Consultant

I tell stories for a living. If your goal is to create a deeper emotional connection with your audience, I can help. Franchises in my portfolio have sold over 30 million copies and generated over half a billion dollars in sales. I also speak at conferences and events worldwide. When I’m not at work, I’m planning my next surf trip. For more, visit http://www.susanoconnorwriter.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Elbert Perez, Co-Founder and CTO at Doghead Simulations

Elbert Perez has used his passion for both the technical and creative sides of video gaming as a driving force in his career. Currently the co-founder and chief technical officer of Doghead Simulations, Elbert had previously served as Senior VR Developer with HTC Creative Labs – contributing to the cutting-edge of virtual reality through his work on the HTC Vive. Before HTC, he was a technical producer at Microsoft, working on games such as Halo 4, Ryse: Son of Rome, Sunset Overdrive, Ascend: Hand of Kul, plus development on products like Xbox One, SmartGlass, XNA, and Windows Vista. To top it off, Elbert is an independent game developer with more than 20 titles across the Steam, Windows Phone, Android, and iOS markets – generating more than three million downloads.

Credits:
Halo 4, Ryse: Son of Rome, Sunset Overdrive, Ascend: Hand of Kul, HTC Vive, SmartGlass, Xbox One

 

Chance Glasco, Chief Creative Officer at Doghead Simulations

As one of the founding members of the Call of Duty franchise’s team, senior animator Chance Glasco has had a profound impact on the last decade of video games. “When you work on it you don’t realize how well known your game is,” says Chance.

It wasn’t an overnight success story, though. After graduating from Full Sail’s Computer Animation program in 2001 and trying to find work in Los Angeles, Chance visited family in Oklahoma and hooked up with an old friend who was working at a local studio. Chance worked as an animator on Allied Assault, which was released in 2001 to critical acclaim. From there, Chance and a group of co-workers took a gamble and launched their own studio. The result: Infinity Ward, the Call of Duty franchise, and more than 100 million copies sold. Chance’s specialty from the start has been creating the animations for the arsenal of weapons players use during the games. Their level of realism is among one of the highlights of the Call of Duty experience – and has helped the game earn celebrity endorsements and break sales records.

“Looking back, starting by coming out to California, sleeping in my car, and then going to where we are now – on a franchise that’s the biggest in the world right now … it’s amazing,” says Chance. “I’m so blessed to have gone from that to this. All these numbers, the amount of people playing it, the popularity of the game – I feel humbled.”

Credits:
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Call of Duty: Ghosts

Jennifer Rogers,Vice President, Creative Services, Univision Agency Univision Communications Inc.

Jennifer Rogers is vice president of the Creative Services department of the Univision Agency, the Company’s full-service internal agency that is responsible for all cross-channel promotions and over $500 million of media inventory across all of Univision’s 16 broadcast, cable and digital networks, and radio properties. In her current position, she oversees a Creative and Production Services team of 28 that provides strategic, creative production solutions to both internal clients, such as the company’s sales, distribution and enterprise divisions, as well as external advertising clients, generating millions of dollars of revenue while reducing cost for the company when possible. She is also accountable for marketing strategies involving TV, online, mobile, and social media for broadcast programs to increase revenue from advertisers, as well as the Company’s empowerment PSAs and holiday campaigns designed to drive consumer engagement with UCI brands.

Prior to joining UCI in 2009, Rogers was Director, Sales Marketing & Production for NBC TV Network Marketing / Telemundo / Mun2. In this position, she directed a team in creating and executing client sponsorships for in-show integrations, vignettes, tune-in promotions, billboards, and product pitches. Before that, in 2004 she worked as a Marketing Manager in the New York offices executing all advertiser promotions for business development, sports, and telemundo.com. Joining NBC in 2001, she was a Marketing Associate generating millions of dollars of new revenue for Telemundo by leading the network’s 1st entry into product integration with dozens of advertisers in 5 new television programs. Rogers has received numerous industry awards including a  Bronze Promax, as well as Silver and Bronze Telly Awards. She has also been a member of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami for over five years.

 

Nacho Corbella, Senior multimedia journalist, Univision Digital

Nacho Corbella is an International Emmy award winning filmmaker, visual storyteller, educator and consultant.

He’s worked creating content as well as editing for Multimedia, Print, Broadcast and Radio. His work has been published by media organizations such as National Geographic, NPR, The New York Times, AARP, The Washington Post, UNHCR and others. His projects have received awards from the Emmy, World Press Photo, Ortega y Gasset, POYi, SXSW, Webbys, Alfred du Pont, CPOY, POYi, NPPA, Scripps Howard Foundation, SND, ONA and SPJ, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

Ernie Merlan, Executive Director at Exceptional Minds

Ernie has over twenty years of experience in the entertainment industry. Twelve years working on Imagineering projects including Indiana Jones, Innoventions, and Tokyo Disney Seas. His television and motion picture projects include Pee Wee’s Playhouse,  the Mask of Zorro, Dance with Me and the Legend of Zorro. As CEO of Merlán Creative Studio, Ernie gathers top creative talent to produce content for clients like Disney, Universal, and ABC. “When I graduated from high school, my first gig was teaching special needs. I learned more life lessons from them than they could have possibly learned from me.  It’s funny how life sometimes takes you full circle.  Everyday I come in to the school I am blown away by the unlimited potential of these Exceptional Minds!”

 

 

 

deanDean Lyon, Splinter Studios

Dean has 30+ years experience in collaborating with cutting edge directors, studios, production companies, post-production facilities and technology developers throughout the world.  He is passionate about the potential of technology to transform the art of visual story-telling. From big screen to multi-platform delivery, good story content is essential to the motion-picture industries.
Dean’s career has included roles as Producer, Director, Visual Effects Supervisor, Inventor, CEO and Entrepreneur, working in diverse areas as motion pictures, music videos, commercials, interactive TV, theme park attractions, VFX/CGI and stereoscopic 3D.  He has worked on over 100 international television commercials and 50 feature films including ‘Armageddon’, ‘Independence Day’, ‘Air Force One’ and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy where he received credit as a Visual Effects Supervisor.
In 2000, Dean journeyed to New Zealand and led the start-up of Oktobor – a world-class creative and talent-centric visual effects and animation company servicing ad agencies, film production companies and studios throughout the globe. He returned to the States in 2007 to work with da Vinci Systems, where among his many accomplishments, he was instrumental in developing a stereoscopic 3D grading system utilizing supercomputing processing that made the color finishing of ‘Avatar’ and dozens of other 3D feature films possible.
More recently he has launched an innovative Florida based start-up venture – Splinter Studios. Splinter Studios utilizes a next-generation approach to develop technology to drive out traditional costs in the business. Ongoing research in emerging technology is used to streamline workflow, production, stereoscopic 3D content, cloud services and products in an efficient and collaborative manner.  Dean is also an accomplished public speaker and has delivered seminars, chaired industry panels and guest lectured at various international film festivals around the world.
An active member in SMPTE and ACM/SIGGRAPH.  Dean was elected to the Visual Effects Society (VES) in Hollywood in 2004 for recognition of his work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and dozens of other projects.

 

JoAjoannanna Almasude, MAA & GAD Chair at THE ART INSTITUTE OF PITTSBURGH ONLINE DIVISION

JoAnna Almasude is an internationally exhibited professional fine artist with over 30 years of experience. Her professional artwork has been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States, Japan, Italy, England, Spain, Morocco and Oman. Her work includes figure drawing and illustration, painting (oil) and sculpture (bronze). She has also worked as a web designer and web animator for various schools and universities.

After 15 years as a professional artist and 4 years as a web designer and web animation artist, JoAnna joined the teaching faculty at the Art institute of Pittsburgh’s online division in 2002. As an educator and expert in drawing the human figure, JoAnna is especially interested in promoting the importance of traditional figure drawing for animators and game art designers.

JoAnna has served in various academic and administrative positions at several universities, including: Ohio University’s school of Fine Art, Francis Marion University, Capella University, Dhofar University in Salalah, Oman, as well as, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s online division. Currently, she is Professor and Department Director of the Game Art & Design and Media Arts & Animation at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Online Division. JoAnna earner her B.F.A. and M.F.A. from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

A sample selection of JoAnna’s artwork may be viewed at joannaalmasude.com.

 

mittnerMartin Mittner, Full Time Faculty @ MAGIC, Game Development Design

Martin Mittner specializes in systems design and new IP development. He is currently the newest addition to the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex, and is helping to guide the development of Miami Dade College’s gaming program. Martin has eclectic experience working on mobile, console, and location based entertainment projects for companies like Electronic Arts, WMS Gaming, and Shiver Entertainment. Prior to working in games Martin was a successful web designer and developer.

 

 

 

 

 

erwin1Erwin Santacruz, Motion Designer & Developer

Based out of sunny South Florida, Erwin brings a wealth of experience havingworked in broadcast, film, web, and interactive for well over a decade. His design & aesthetic sensibilities as a motion designer is supported by strong technical savvy. Able to balance creative thinking with logical design ideas, Erwin enjoys the opportunity to develop solutions to challenging problems.
In addition to working full-time for the one of the largest networks in the country, he is an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College’s Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex (MAGIC). He also finds the time to manage a freelance career which includes working on campaigns for Nike, ExxonMobil, Adidas, & Coca Cola.
Most recently, Erwin has been exploring the depths of Side Effects’ procedural 3D application Houdini and has a website called houdinitricks.com dedicated to sharing tips and tricks on the application. When not designing or animating pixels, Erwin exercises the left hemisphere of his brain by applying his programming skills to develop applications for Web, desktop and mobile platforms as well as plugins & scripts for Cinema 4D and After Effects. If all else fails, he watches some Twilight Zone, I Love Lucy, or Three’s Company reruns.

 

alexisAlexis Centeno, 2D/3D Artist

Alexis M. Centeno is a published 2D/3D artist with a BFA in Computer Animation and spends her days as a Lab Assistant & Tutor at Miami Dade College’s MAGIC.
In 2014, she won the MIA Animation Conference &Festival “Pitch to the Industry” Competition for her original series “Grandpa.” Grandpa is a desperate vampire who turns rain soaked, neon world upside down when he reawakens his short-tempered, fire-breathing granddaughter to save him an Alzheimer’s curse.
The winning concept is now a bi-weekly webcomic series on NAVER’s Webtoon: “Grandpa”
In the summer of 2015, Alexis started ZBrush UZR Group, a biweekly workshop supporting the growing community of 3D artists at MAGIC by performing living demos and giving Q&A sessions to help students troubleshoot their personal or portfolio projects.

 

 

Ricardo Weibezhan, Graphic designer and animator, Univision Digital

After living 17 years in Venezuela Ricardo moved to the United States to pursue a career in visual arts. He settled in Miami where he studied graphic design. While pursuing this career he added visual animation to his resume. Once he graduated, he found opportunities to work with marketing agencies and television. In 2013 Ricardo began his career at Univision. Univision Digital became his home and his gateway to discover real stories told by real people. Ricardo is an award winning video animator, his work has been awarded the Society of News and Design, Ortega y Gassett and New York Photo District News Award, just to name a few.

 

 

 

 

Mauricio Rodri­guez, Graphic designer and animator, Univision Digital

Mauricio is an award winning visual communicator and motion graphic expert with more than 15 years of experience in the audiovisual world. He is passionate about telling stories and constantly learning about the immense possibilities offered by visual language. Venezuelan by birth, has moved to southern Florida to tell more stories from the digital platform Univision News. In his spare time he plays football and tries to understand the world of finance.