2021 JUDGES

We couldn't do this without the time and energy of our amazing judges.  Every single one of them is integral to the growing success of FAF, thank you! 

 

Learn more about each of them and their background in animation, and click on their picture to see more of their work!

 

If you are interested in learning how Debut (animators 13-17) and Debut Juniors (animators 12 and under) are judged,

click here!

Ani Antonova

Judging Category: Stop Motion, Debut JR.

Ani Antonova (born in Chirpan, Bulgaria) is an animation film director, living and working in Vienna, Austria. She graduated studying Portuguese philology at Sofia University, Multimedia at “die Graphische” and Master in Experimental Media at the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences.

Her first documentary animation film “The Outlander” was screened at many international film festivals and received several awards. Her work embraces the animation in its different states of matter.

Toby Auberg

Judging Category: 3D

Toby Auberg (Toberg) is a London (/Hamburg) based 3D visual artist and animator person who struggles with writing in the third person. I'm really into sensory overload, abstract characters, and virtual worlds, sometimes dabbling in political themes. Originally I started out working in film in Los Angeles, I moved to Sweden to study Motion Graphics at Hyper Island, and studied Experimental Animation at the Royal College of Art in London. I’ve been freelancing for a bunch of years and sometimes do visiting lecturer gigs at Kingston University and the Royal College of Art.

Davide Benvenuti

Judging Category: 3D

Davide Benvenuti has been an Assistant Professor at NTU ADM School of Art Design and Media Singapore since January 2013. Prof Davide Benvenuti has started his career in animation in Italy Florence in the mid-1990 and graduated with a master's degree in Architecture at Florence University with a thesis on Industrial Design and Computer Animation; his career spans from television, advertising, and feature films.

He has been engaged by Disney, Dreamworks, Nelvana, and Ubisoft.

Ido Shapira & Amit Cohen

Judging Category: 2D 

Ido Shapira and Amit Cohen created the film “Hounds” as their graduation film in the screen-based department, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.

Lucy Davidson

Judging Category: Stop Motion, Debut JR,

Currently Studying Animation at the Victorian College of The Arts in Melbourne, Australia (Graduating 2020). Lucy has produced two Stop-Motion animated short films, ‘The Saint of Good Digestion’ (2018) and ‘Dirty Dishes’ (2019). As a multi-disciplinary artist, she creates quirky paper mache sculptures, draws comics, and sketches life models.

Anna Eijsbouts

Judging Category: Stop Motion

Anna Eijsbouts is an award winning Dutch animation director and animator specialising in puppet and cut-out stop-motion animation. ​She works best when she discovers a character with a story to latch on to and stalk for a while. This leads to animations driven by intimate character-fascinations in both her short films and her commercial work.

 

Additionally, she currently sits on the board of DAMD, the Dutch Union for Animator and Motion Designers, is a programmer at the KABOOM Animation Festival and a lecturer at the Utrecht School of the Arts.

 

Anna graduated with an MA in Animation from the Royal College of Art in 2012 after completing a BA in Animation at the Utrecht School of the Arts in 2010.

Scott Farrell

Judging Category: Stop Motion

Scott Farrell is a native New Yorker who’s been working at Blue Sky Studios in feature film animation for the past 15 years. His animation credits include the Ice Age and Rio franchises; as well as Ferdinand, Peanuts, Epic and Horton Hears a Who. He most recently worked on the film Spies in Disguise.

BISMARK FERNANDES

Judging Category: Stop Motion, Debut

Bismark Fernandes is a stop-motion filmmaker and designer from Goa, India. With over five years of experience in designing and creating animated content for advertising and film, he is currently working in the Burbank area in California. He is well versed with various styles of animation with stop-motion being closest to his heart. What draws him towards this handmade art form is that it is tangible with subtle imperfections that make it unique.

Mulan Fu

Judging Category: Debut/ Debut JR.

 Mulan is an award-winning filmmaker, animator, and illustrator currently based in New York City. Her commercial work ranges from 2D cel animation, motion graphics, illustration to animated production creative development. She has recently graduated from the Film and Television major at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and is currently pursuing a master's degree in educational game design at Teachers College Columbia University.

Niamh Herrity

Judging Category: 3D, Debut

Niamh Herrity is CEO and award-winning Producer at Pink Kong Studios Dublin. Recipient of Female Entrepreneur of the year 2015, IBYE finalist 2016, and Dublin City Entrepreneur of the year 2017 - Niamh's Business background has enabled her to push the studio to new heights.

 

Since Niamh co-founded Pink Kong in 2014, she has produced award-winning content for the Studio including a BAFTA-winning Game "Virginia" (2016), both IFTA nominated "Departure" (2017) and her current film “The Dead Hands of Dublin” (2020) funded by Screen Ireland and RTÉ as part of the framework scheme.

 

Niamh produced Ireland's first original animated Virtual Reality short narrative “AURORA” (2018) which premiered as the main centerpiece for Audi Dublin International Film Festival “Immersive Stories” conference. Co-creator and producer of ‘Urban Tails’ TV series premiered on RTÉjr in September 2019.

 

Currently, the studio is in receipt of Screen Ireland Slate funding and working on three TV series and a feature that are in development. Niamh also plays an active role within Ireland's animation community holding seats on both the board of Animation Ireland, Irish Animation Awards, Women in Animation Ireland, and is the Irish Ambassador for the European Animation Awards. Award-winning Pink Kong Studios creates branded entertainment for TV, VR, Film, Games, and Advertising Houses.

John T. Hill 

Judging Category: FxF/Traditional, Debut

John T. Hill is a veteran of television and new media animation, with credits on several shows, games, and online productions. His most recent work was for Dreamworks and Netflix's Epic Tales of Captain Underpants. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Animation at The University of South Alabama and works and lives in Mobile, Alabama, with his wife and son.

John C. Kelley

Judging Category: Mixed Media/Experimental

John C Kelley is an artist living in Knoxville, TN.  His award-winning work in film and animation has screened in international film festivals around the world, including the Slamdance Film Festival, GLAS Animation Festival, GIRAF International Festival of Independent Animation, the London International Animation Festival, the Palm Springs International Animation Festival, and many others.

 

His Looping video and sound installations have been exhibited at the Spartanburg Art Museum in South Carolina, the CICA Museum in Ginpo-si South Korea, and in gallery spaces at Unrequited Leisure in Nashville, and Troppus Projects in Kent, Ohio.

 

Kelley has written music for feature films and commercial work with Gray Picture in St. Louis and released music on King Electric Records in Austin, TX. He has been an artist-in-residence at Cow House Studios in Ireland and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences in Georgia, and currently is an Assistant Professor of Time-Based Arts at the University of Tennessee.

Find him on Instagram @john.c.kelley

George Kochell

Judging Category: 2D, Debut

George Kochell, also known as Mister Geo™, has been teaching community-based classes for children & teens since 1995. Gava/Gate Animation Classes began at Greenbelt Access Television with a pilot "flipbook" project and have continued every year since 1998. Their student films have screened at more than 100 film festivals across the US and Canada.

K. Kypers

Judging Category: Mixed Media/Experimental, Debut JR.

K. Kypers has been a working professional in the animation industry since earning her BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2012. She’s been involved in a wide range of projects, like teaching clay animation to Girl Scouts, animating doodles on Post-it® Notes, and storyboarding for the preschool NBC series "Astroblast!" In 2017 she had the opportunity to write/direct a short educational film for Amaze.org about gender identity, "Jim’s Introduction to Gender Identity" (also known as "My Friend Is Transgender"), which developed into a deeply personal, semi-autobiographic project. The film went on to be featured in a number of festivals, earning awards at several (including the Florida Animation Festival 2018).

 

K currently resides in Warwick, NY, and is a frequent presence at her local poetry group, the Milkweed Poetry Workshop (though they’ve been meeting on Zoom since March 2020).

Vicki Lau

Judging Category: 3D, Debut

Without any contacts or connections in the United States, Vicki made her way into the Hollywood film industry and landed her first break working on AMC’s hit series, "The Walking Dead" (Season 4), as well as other movies such as "Guardians of the Galaxy," "War for the Planet of the Apes" and "Aquaman," whilst working at mobile and VR early-stage startups in Silicon Valley and Beach.

 

A notable speaker in visual effects (VFX), Vicki was also invited to give a TEDx talk on VFX and VR in 2016 in California, USA and in 2018, was invited to speak as a keynote speaker on VR at Elliott Masie's Learning 2018 conference, along with keynote speakers Former First Lady Laura Bush and "Hamilton" star Leslie Odom, Jr.

 

Today, Vicki teaches over 80,000 students from over 180 countries VFX skills & career tips from the Hollywood VFX and film industry. Some of her recent projects include working on the VFX for several Netflix shows as well as for other mediums.

Sarah McLean

Judging Category: FxF/Traditional

Sarah McLean is an actor, writer, and photographer creating innovative content with female-driven characters.  Her award-winning animated short film Dragonfly was honored at the 15th Annual Focus on Female Directors by American Cinematheque and is currently available on Amazon Prime. She also created the only scripted content about softball, 3 Strikes, currently available on Reel Women's Network. On TV Sarah can be seen in season 1 of Defending Jacob on AppleTV+. She’s also a collegiate Hall of Fame athlete and has hiked Half Dome twice. 

Marco Milone

Judging Category: Stop Motion, Debut JR.

Marco Milone is both a film producer (Revengeance, The Mafia Is No Longer What It Used To Be) and a startupper (board member of Freedom Waves and Undo Studios, as well as Administrative Director of The Nemesis). In addition to this, Marco is a Japanologist and as a film critic, he has lectured at universities and in many festivals, written articles and books about classic Japanese culture (ukiyo-e, emaki, shinto), and about animated movies (abstract movies, Chinese and Russian animated movies). He has also been invited to many festivals as a judge.

Among his honours, he has been awarded an honorary mention as comics journalist by the Franco Fossati Award for his book “Fumetti”, has played twice as the Italian representative in the shogi tournament “Yingde Cup” (2009, 2010), and has received an honorary degree in Naturopathy.

Jack Muino

Judging Category:  Mixed Media/Experimental, Debut JR.

Jack Muino is a 2D Character Animator/Builds Artist that specializes in puppet animation in Harmony & Flash. Jack currently works as a 2D Animator in Atlanta, and likes to upload short animations/builds in their free time.

Find him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackMuino

Kotoko Nakamura

Judging Category:  2D, Debut

Kotoko Nakamura was born in Kyoto, Japan and graduated from Kyoto University of Education, Faculty of Education.  She graduated from Kyoto University of Art and Design, Faculty of Fine Art, and after working at a stop motion animation company, became a freelance animation director.

Dylan Reitz

Judging Category: 2D

Dylan Reitz is an artist and filmmaker living in Brooklyn, NY. His work has screened at festivals such as Animation Block at BAM, and the Woodstock Film Festival. He is currently working towards a master's degree in integrated digital media at NYU.

Christoph Sarow

Judging Category: 2D

Christoph Sarow is a german animation director and illustrator living in Berlin.

He graduated from the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in 2018.

Katie Steed

Judging Category: 2D

Katie Steed is the Creative Director of Slurpy Studios, a London-based animation studio that produces high-quality advertising, educational, and charity films

for a wide variety of clients. In this role, she has directed many award-winning films, including Death by Scrabble, The Mouse, and most recently,  Monster.

Alisa Stern

Judging Category: Mixed Media/Experimental, Debut JR.

Alisa is an animator and filmmaker in Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of Pratt Institute, she has over a decade of experience in the animation industry working on projects ranging from children’s television to TikTok. Between 2013 and 2018, Alisa produced and directed a stop motion animated web series called Doctor Puppet. In 2019, she made a stop motion film set in the woods called Sum of its Parts. She also loves nature and hiking.

Raymond Limantara Sutisna

Judging Category: FxF/ Traditional

Raymond Limantara Sutisna is a serial workaholic who happens to enjoy cartoons and design. A graduate from Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design and Media, his work draws from the energy of youth, nature, and animation. In his spare time, he tries to maintain a healthy work-life balance. His other hobbies include growing a beard and daydreaming.

Roy Taylor

Judging Category: FxF/Traditional

Roy Taylor is a Louisville, KY-based independent animator working primarily with filtered light and cut-paper to produce stop motion films. His latest work, Wildfires, premiered at the 2020 Palm Springs Animation Festival. Previous work includes A Tale of Crows, Poo, A deep-sea diver walks into a bar, and Ohio (a music video for Patty Griffin & Robert Plant).

Thomas van Kampen

Judging Category: FxF/Traditional, Debut

Thomas van Kampen is a 2D animator, filmmaker, and self-professed huge nerd. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Thomas began teaching himself how to animate in Toon Boom when he was 18 after receiving a student copy of the software for his birthday. Since then, he has become a part of animated works such as Care Bears: Unlock the Magic, Curious George, and the crowdfunded feature film Dawgtown. He has also been a contributor to the Quickdraw Animation Society, a non-profit charity organization based in his home town dedicated to helping up and coming artists receive the training they need to make their visions come to life. His indie film A Lovely Stroll made its debut at the Florida Animation Festival of 2018.

Michaela Wadzinski

Judging Category:  2D, Debut

Michaela is a storyboard artist, 2D Animator, and Director. Her short films, which have ranged from fully 2D animated, to mixed media, to fully live-action, have been in a collective 40 film festivals worldwide. Her short "Negative Spaces" won the Ron Clements Award for Excellence in Animation at the Sioux City International Film Festival back in 2018. Michaela recently made the move from Iowa to Los Angeles California. Where she currently works as a Storyboard Revisionist at Bento Box Entertainment.

Savannah Winchester

Judging Category:  3D, Debut

Savannah Winchester is a filmmaker, animator, and producer. She currently produces short animations for StoryCorps and has directed several short films including Outside Hearing In, Facing the Toad, and Poor Darlings.

Dante Zaballa

Judging Category: Mixed Media/ Experimental

Dante Zaballa is a self-taught animator who likes generating a colorful and psychedelic universe by experimenting with diverse techniques. His work combines seemingly messy hand-drawn lines, raw shapes, and flickering textures.

 

Presently based in New York, Dante is working on an array of exciting projects including his new animated short film due for release in April 2021.

Maureen Zent

Judging Category: Debut/Debut JR.

Maureen Zent is a filmmaker and writer in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.   Her animated shorts include Tango Sparks, Yank Tug Yank, Oulipo’s Cave, and Bostle Sleench.  Her stories explore the way our conflicting desires create great challenges.  Her animation has screened at Athens Animfest, Stop Motion Mexico, Lebanese Independent Film Festival, Big Cartoon Festival, KuanDu International Animation Festival, and more. 

Bren López Zepeda

Judging Category: Mixed Media/Experimental, Debut JR. 

Bren López Zepeda is a filmmaker and animator based in Montreal. Her graduation film from Concordia University, ABEO (2018), received five awards and was screened in over 70 film festivals around the world. She has worked on two animated productions at the National Film Board of Canada and two independent animated features at Unité Centrale under the direction of Félix Dufour-Laperrière. Her recent projects include a hand-painted animated short for TED-ed (2020) and a 2D animated short for the Canadian Association of Midwives. She is most interested in art that challenges our worldviews through honesty, vulnerability and imperfection. Like Toni Cade Bambara, she also believes "the role of the artist is to make revolutionary change irresistible.

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