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Festival Guests 2023

International Competition Jury

Terril Calder | Animation Director | Canada

One of the foremost Métis media artists practicing in Canada today, Terril Calder is a multi-disciplinary creator born in Fort Frances, Ontario, and currently living in Toronto. While her current practice is focused on stop-motion projects, which she writes, directs, crafts, and animates, Calder also has an extensive background in performance art, visual art, and media art. She is one of the founding members of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, where she curated visual and performance art exhibitions, and her films have been screened at major festivals.

Leslie Ezeh | Associate Director at ASIFA-Hollywood | United States

Leslie Ezeh has been a staff member at ASIFA-Hollywood since 2017 and currently serves as its Associate Director. She is also the founder and President of Legends Animated, a 501c3 nonprofit animation company that provides collaborative opportunities to create independent animation that is both engaging and impactful. Leslie enjoys supporting the animation community through both organizations, as well as by participating as a judge at animation festivals and programs.

Theodore Ushev | Animation Director | Bulgaria, Canada

Born in Kyustendil, Bulgaria, Theodore Ushev first made a name for himself as a poster artist in his native country before settling in Montreal in 1999. There, Ushev worked in the multimedia industry and then found fruitful creative soil at the National Film Board of Canada, where he has made more than ten films to date, including Lipsett Diaries (2010), about the tortured life and art of the acclaimed experimental filmmaker, and the Academy Award®-nominated short Blind Vaysha (2016).

Doc and Dutch Competition Jury

Diane Obomsawin | Animation Director | Canada

Diane Obomsawin, alias Obom, is a Montreal-based bédéiste and animator. Her comic strips are published in French by L’Oie de Cravan, and in English by Drawn & Quarterly. She has directed several independent animated films along with seven auteur-driven works for the National Film Board of Canada. Her films have been screened at festivals in Quebec, the rest of Canada, and around the world, and have earned her prestigious awards including the Grand Prize for Independent Short Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival in 2017.

Leyla Ali | Illustrator | Azerbaijan, The Netherlands

She was born and raised in Azerbaijan Baku, studied graphic design at the Azerbaijan State University of art, and got her second bachelor's degree from Hogeschool voor de kunst Utrecht as an illustrator. Since then, she has worked on various projects as a multidisciplinary artist. Over the last few years, she has been mainly focusing on illustration and visual design. Her hobbies now are tattooing characters on fake skin and learning how to create 3D characters in Blender. Whenever she has time she draws in one of her 100 sketchbooks that are laying around.

Fernando Galrito | Artistic Director of MONSTRA Lisbon Animated Film Festival | Portugal

Fernando Galrito was born in Samora Correia (Portugal) and took Cinema, Animation, Video, and Theatre Director courses. He graduated in Anthropology, has an MA in Culture, Communication, and New Technologies, and is currently working on his Ph.D. ‘Animation, from the screen to the stage to the Gallery’. In 2000 he founded and became the artistic director of the MONSTRA Lisbon Animated Film Festival. He has taught Animation and Artistic Interdisciplinary Projects at the Superior School of Design and Art ESAD.CR (Portugal) since 2000.

VR Jury

Jurgen Hagler | Director of the Ars Electronica Animation Festival | Austria

Dr. Juergen Hagler is an academic researcher and curator working at the interface of animation, game, and media art. He studied art education, experimental visual design and cultural studies at the University for Art and Design Linz, Austria. He is currently a Professor for Computer Animation and Media Studies and the head of studies of the bachelor’s and master’s programme Digital Arts at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg Campus. Since 2014 he has been the co-head of the research group Playful Interactive Environments investigating new and natural forms of interaction and the use of playful mechanisms to encourage specific behavioral patterns.

Maarten Isaäk de Heer | VR Director | The Netherlands

Maarten Isaäk de Heer is a Berlin-based new media artist. He studied interdisciplinary art at Minerva Academy in Groningen. His awarded works range from installations of animated paintings, 360°, Fulldome, VR, lenticular print, and animated wildlife documentaries. In 2020 he started Menetekel Film – a production company with a focus on bad omens. Currently, he is reviving dead animals into virtual environments – an ongoing project that won the Filmfund Doclab Interactive Grant 2022.

Natasha Greenhalgh | Co-Founder and Creative Director of Nxt Museum | The Netherlands

Natasha Greenhalgh is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Amsterdam’s Nxt Museum, the home for new media art in the Netherlands, uniting her passion for art, technology, and sound. Driven by creating new realities, Natasha is obsessed with exploring and prototyping new creative tools, narratives, and collaborations. Having studied at Chelsea Art College, Natasha has training in Spatial Design – this drives her interest in how Nxt can most effectively use its dynamic space to communicate its obsession with the future, constantly looking for opportunity and innovation.


Mariana Guerreiro Ferreira | Artist in residence

Mariana Ferreira is a Portuguese multi-disciplinary creative based in Lisbon, currently working as a freelance animator and graphic designer. Her interest in animation grew when she was doing her BA in design. Her project Lessons in the Kitchen started while in Erasmus in Belgium, where she took her first animation class. After that, she did a MA in Animation in Barcelona, where she directed and animated her first stop-motion short film for the final project, Pobre Antonio. Mariana Guerreiro Ferreira’s residency is supported by the European Festivals Fund for Emerging Artists – EFFEA, co-funded by the European Union.

Tomm Moore | Co-founder and Creative Director of Cartoon Saloon

Over Cartoon Saloon’s history, Tomm has worked as Director, Art Director, Storyboarder, Animator and Illustrator across a range of the studio's projects. Tomm has directed 3 universally successful feature films. All three were nominated for Best Animated Feature at the ACADEMY AWARD® The Secret of Kells in 2010 and the spiritual follow-up, Song of the Sea in 2015.His latest feature film “Wolfwalkers” which he co-directed with Ross Stewart received several prominent critics' awards including LAFCA Award and NYFCC Award as well as nominations for a Golden Globe and a Bafta and wins in several categories including Best Director and Best Independent Feature at the 2021 Annie Awards.