Director Biography – Nomadic Alternative, Farnaz Ohadi (HESAR (GATE))

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Award-winning dynamic duo -Nelson and Xochitl Garcia-leal, are award winning independent artists that were raised and currently reside in Vancouver.

What they bring to the table is their 15+years of practice, their creative and innovative ideas, unique design and guarantee of your 100% satisfaction. With Xochitl acting as art director, producer, writer, negotiator and Nelson behind the artwork, your business plus their expertise equal to success. From understanding your requirements to idea generation and from first blue print to handing over the final copy,they take your public image as theirs.

Their creative teamwork will surely amaze you with their ideas and dedication to the craft. With years of experienced having designed some impressive business printing material previously.Their technology is up-to-date and can make sure all their client’s specifications are catered to.

Director Biography – Juan Paulín (AN IDEA)

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México 1984
Audiovisual Director with focus on animation and illustration, I have more than 8 years of experience in Film, Advertising and Art projects, I currently work as a freelance for different audiovisual projects.

Director Statement

This project was born from my own creative process and as one immerses in looking for answers when the answer is simpler than I imagined.
It is an important project because I try to play with the role of the negative and the positive and how everything is relative.
It’s a very personal story that I made from the beginning to the music.
In technical matters I can define “An idea” as a unique handmade animation where I get involved from my soul.
“An idea” has been selected in around 50 festivals around the world.

Director Biography – Carlos Mejia, Kevin Barwick (SERPENDIPITY)

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Carlos Mejia is a Colombian born CG artist, passionate about storytelling and cinematography, and is the Co-Director for Serpendipity. Through animation, he has found a fascinating creative medium that allows for the most outlandish and wondrous adventures to be created and shared with others. His goal is to create strong emotionally driven narratives for wide audiences.

Kevin Barwick is the Co-Director of Serpendipity. For Kevin it’s been an honor and a privilege to learn and grow so much from this film, and with this team. The talent and passion alone are the reason animation is what it is.

Director Statement

Carlos Mejia: Serpendipity is a story with wild shifts and twists, bringing absolute chaos to a seemingly normal blind date. At its core, Serpendipity’s narrative explores how our insecurities can manifest into embarrassing behavior that can make any situation worse. Whether our insecurity is as ordinary as not liking our glasses, or as extraordinary as having rowdy snakes for hair, we all have something to work on that others can help us accept.

Kevin Barwick: Serpendipity stemmed from a simple concept of insecurity. A feeling we’ve all felt. It’s universal language, signifying features, are the essence of the film. When I joined the team I had this ingrained. I wanted this to stay true till the end. The audience needed to resonate with Gordon, see themselves inside the anguish of the film’s lead characters.

Director Biography – Christina Hibner (UNIFIED THEORY)

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Christina Hibner is a 2D animator based in Pleasantville, New York. She graduated from Manhattan College in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Physics and a minor in Graphic Art. Hibner graduated from School of Visual Arts in May 2019 from the MFA Computer Arts program with a concentration in Motion Graphics. Using her scientific background, Hibner can convey complex conceptual ideas and translate them into visual content that is informative as well as engaging. She has experience in academic research and can communicate with scientists at a collaborative level when interpreting data and information for visual art purposes. To Hibner, science is a gateway to a greater appreciation of this world and strives to inspire people to understand it and protect it. Her thesis titled Unified Theory is an infographic inside of a narrative that follows a junior god in training who is learning from a senior god about how mind blowing science is by opening up her awareness to the true nature of reality.

Director Statement

The more you know, the more there is to learn. Since I was young I could never pick a side, art or science. In graduate school I realized I didn’t have to. I have always been trying to balance the two, but everyone told me they were two separate worlds with no overlap. When I was an undergraduate student studying physics, the textbooks we used had very dry and static visuals. You had to imagine what the change over time would look like. Animation is a perfect tool to show this. I would create visuals to help my classmates and I digest the material easier. I would animate my visual data for research presentations to spark interest and comprehension. Somehow when complex ideas are clearly visualized, they don’t seem so complex. It seems fascinating and intriguing. I felt this way watching documentaries as a kid when the animated segments would come on. Animated science help students navigate a complex virtual world. Science made me feel like everything made sense. My work brings science to a level of comprehension that motivates students to be curious about the world they live in, at least to not be afraid of the unknown. I hope to achieve this through my thesis Unified Theory, which illustrates the scientist’s struggle of obtaining knowledge through making a million mistakes. It is not common to have one foot in the sciences and one foot in the visual arts, much less to maintain and exercise both halves of this duality. Left brain and right brain work in harmony to create educational informational visual art. My style uses moody backgrounds and character acting as an anchor to relate to while the trippy colorful visuals draws attention, all in support of a scientific principle. We have all wondered at some point in our lives ‘how did all this stuff get here?’ and ‘what is everything made of?’ Being curious comes so naturally to a child. Inspiring a love of learning sets a student up for a life of questioning everything and always learning. Keeping that curiosity alive in people is the key to the scientific advancement that will save this world and bring us all into the future.

Director Biography – Elizabeth Lewis (WATERS OF MARCH)

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Born and raised in Montreal,she later moved to Toronto. Her training is in fine arts painting and drawing. Attending schools in Montreal, Paris France, Banff Alberta.Elizabeth got her start as an animator at the National Film Board of Canada where she animated and designed the poetry film based on A Kite is a Victim by Leonard Cohen. After moving to Toronto she animated other poems by Earl Birney, William Carlos Williams. Professionally she was on the animation teams at Nelvana and other studios including Walt Disney Animation Canada. Elizabeth was an animator on award winning films for Street Kids International produced by the National Film Board of Canada. She was awarded for her poetry films by the Poetry Film Festival in San Francisco and the Chicago Educational Film Festival.Waters of March was premiered in North America at the Flickers International Film Festival, Rhode Island 2019 and in France at the Cannes Short Film Festival September 2019 and has been accepted into eleven other festivals. Waters of March won Special Jury Award for Music Video at the Los Angeles Animation Festival 2019 and was a finalist at the ARPA Festival in LA.


Director Statement
My films are based on poetry and my interpretations are intensely personal. The imagery varies from close representation of the words to abstract. I am inspired by nature.I live in the woods beside a river and every image in this film is from direct experience. The film is a tribute to my late brother and the journey he took in his last year. Although the images move quickly, the references to illness, life, medicine, hope and ultimately the continuation of life is there. Every word and phrase of this song has meaning in this context. I had heard this music before. It is a classic dating back many decades. It is only when I heard Stacey Kent sing it on the radio that it really moved me. Her version is pure and hopeful. Some of the words in the song are dark and sometimes violent. Mixed in with this is beauty and hope all sung and interpreted with a sense of wonder and truth.

Director Biography – Chia-Hsin Lee (IN AN EMPTY WOOD)

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Chia-Hsin Lee is an animation filmmaker currently studying in California Institute of the Arts.

Director Statement

In the summer of 2017, while I was being a volunteer art teacher in Taiwan, I met a fellow volunteer who shared the same belief with me as if we were twins. But instead of being close, we were very jealous of each other, for I used to be a conservation activist which she currently is, and she was once an artist which I currently am. Our path seemed to have exchanged. In the frustrations of coping with this jealousy, I wrote this poem.

During the months of film production, Erin McDermott helped design the visuals, and my CG teachers Dariush Derakhshani and Andrew Bac helped with the technical aspect of making my first CG film. Sound was an important element in this film. Hao Feng provided his voice and acting, Kion Heidari wrote and sang the ambience score, Ben Scanlan was the percussionist, Alberto Cruz recorded the sounds, and Ben Huff did the incredible sound mixing.

And last, thank you, my Blue, whom I believe is doing something amazing on the other side of the world. This film is to you.

Director Biography – Ashley Gerst (THE SPIRIT SEAM)

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Ashley Gerst is a 2D and 3D animator living in Brooklyn NY. She holds a BFA in Digital Arts from Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA in Computer Art from School of Visual Arts.

In addition to her professorial work at William Paterson, Ashley is a freelance animator working for a variety of production companies and clients in the Greater New York City area. She has created animation and VFX for broadcast commercials, TV shows, and documentaries for AMC, VH1, and BET. Some of her clients include Fast Company, Behance, Credit Suisse, Nivea, Nissan, Afrin, Red Bull, Hudson Media, CBS, Nurturing Press, iNomadics, Redwood Living and more.

Ashley Gerst was also responsible for animating the title sequence for the 2018 feature film ‘The Con is On’. The film, distributed by Grindhouse/Lionsgate, is a heist comedy directed by James Haslam and stars Uma Thurman and Tim Roth.

She is currently finishing an animated short film titled the Spirit Seam. The film, taking place in 1952, follows a little girl named Pollywog and her PapPaw as they experience daily life in a small coal mining town in Appalachia. The final project combines a mixture of mediums: 3D animated character, 2D animated effects, and physically constructed sets. The sets were created with a combination of 3D printing, fiber arts, and carved sculpture.

The Spirit Seam’s concept art and set construction has been featured in the article “Explore the World of Fine-Art Animation” in Professional Artist Magazine’s December/January 2017-2018 issue. The sets and embroidery for the film were also in a solo show at Misbits Gallery in 2018 in Oxford Mississippi.

Other animated films created by Ashley Gerst have been screened nationally in several film festivals including Dam Short Film Festival, Tucson Slow Food and Film Festival, Standing Rock Film Festival (Third Place Award). Her films have also been exhibited in the Cleveland Museum of Art and featured in Cleveland’s local newspaper: The Plain Dealer, LA Weekly and Makezine.