Discover how these top studios and talent deliver brilliant work even in today’s world of tight budgets, shrinking schedules and stiff competition.

Use these tabs below to see separate lists for panelists and featured speakers.

All Master Classes Panelists Presenters

Lenny Mastrandrea
Head of Color,
Nice Shoes
Conference speaker

As a member of the Nice Shoes team from the very beginning and a Colorist for over 10 years, Lenny shares one of the fundamental doctrines of Nice Shoes: constant innovation and a desire to take his work to the next level must always be a top priority. As the head of the color department at New York post and design facility Nice Shoes, Lenny Mastrandrea has employed his artistry to enrich such brands as Under Armour, Wendy’s, Kohls, L’oreal, Van Cleef & Arpels, Verizon, Lunesta and many others.

Kevin Romond
FX Department Supervisor, Weta Digital
Conference speaker + Master class

Kevin joined Weta Digital in 2005 and has contributed Visual Effects Oscar® winning work on King Kong and Avatar. He recently completed work on, Prometheus, The Avengers, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Man of Steel, and Iron Man 3. In 2012, Kevin won an Annie Award for Animated Effects in an Animated Production for: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

Stephen Mann
Lead Character TD / Pipeline TD, CHARLX
Master class

With 15 years of animation production experience ranging from Sony Imageworks and Blue Sky to Kleiser Walczak, Hornet and Charlex, Stephen’s credits span the spectrum of digital production from ride films and commercials to short films (One Rat Short) and features (X-Men, Robots, The One). An acknowledged character rigging and pipeline tools master, Stephen also counts a decade of teaching experience at SVA in New York and currently runs the NY chapter of the Maya Users Group.

Toygar Bazarkaya
Executive Creative Director,
BBDO New York
Conference speaker

Toygar’s extensive international advertising experience includes creative posts at Jung von Matt in Hamburg, DDB New York, DM9DDB in Sao Paulo, Mullen in Boston and Springer & Jacoby in Hamburg before joining BBDO Germany as Chief Creative Director in 2008 and leading the agency to its best year ever, becoming Germany’s most awarded network in Cannes. Toygar took over as ECD at BBDO New York in 2010.

Brian Austin
Founding Executive Director,
The Animation Project
Conference speaker

With a background in both fine arts and art therapy, Brian has become a leading advocate for the use of digital technology as a therapeutic medium. He is an accomplished animator, published author and teacher, and a visual artist whose work has been displayed in group exhibitions at Exit Art, MoMA PS1, and Nexus Contemporary Art Center in Georgia, among others.

Scott Ross
VFX Force of Nature
Conference keynote speaker

A true digital production pioneer, Scott founded Digital Domain with James Cameron and Stan Winston in 1993 and guided the studio for over a decade as it won Oscars for the VFX work in Titanic, What Dreams May Come, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, plus four Scientific and Technical Achievement Oscars for its proprietary software.

Eric Robertson
Co-founder and President,
Mr X Gotham
Conference panelist

Co-founder and president of New York VFX studio Mr. X Gotham, Eric J. Robertson has supervised and produced visual effects for over 50 feature films. During his career, Eric has worked with some of film’s most respected directors including Ron Howard, Jonathan Demme, Sam Mendes, Joel and Ethan Cohen, Jim Jarmusch and Charlie Kaufman.

Jason White
Executive Creative Director, Leviathan
Conference speaker

Leviathan executive creative director Jason White reveals his studio’s unique formula for creating new transformative visual experiences and explores the challenges that inevitably arise during the creative and production processes, from inception through to the final live experience.

Joshua Harvey
Creative Director, Buck
Conference speaker

Joshua Harvey joined Buck as Creative Director in 2011 and has already left an indelible impression on the Los Angeles-based studio with an innovative combination of design and digital production techniques. Recently, Joshua co-lead and worked on Good Books “Metamorphosis,” which won Gold for Animation at the London International Awards as well as the Designism Award at the Art Directors Club Awards.

Mark Voelpel
Executive Creative Director,
Conference panelist

Mark puts his expertise with storytelling, filmmaking, CG, post, and digital marketing into practice at R/GA where he has led and directed media projects for clients including Nike, HP, Johnson & Johnson, Tiffany, General Motors, AARP, Subaru, MasterCard, and Ad Council. Mark was an ECD for the Grands Prix winner of the 2012 Cannes Lion Festival, Nike’s Fuelband.

Ken Huling
Character animator,
Blue Sky Studios
Master class

Currently hard at work as a character lead for Nigel (the main antagonist) in Blue Sky Studio’s Rio 2, Ken’s character work spans almost a decade of pop culture icons and blockbuster films including Epic, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Meet the Robinsons.

Joe Herman
Cinema 4D Regional Representative,
Conference presenter

Joe Herman is the regional representative for MAXON’s CINEMA 4D and a long-time New York-based post production professional who has worked at numerous production companies, cable networks and advertising agencies on a wide variety of productions. Joe has also taught at The School of Visual Arts and often blogs about the industry.

Karyn Buczek Monschein
Senior Camera / Staging Technical Lead,
Blue Sky Studios
Conference speaker

Karyn’s 12 years in the animation and VFX industry are highlighted by her credits on Rio, Horton Hears a Who and three of the Ice Age films for Blue Sky Studios where she serves as the Senior Camera and Staging Technical Lead and a Final Camera and Staging Artist. Karyn received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Delaware and her Associate Degree in Computer Animation from The Art Institute of Philadelphia. 

Deb Stone
Senior Recruiter,
Blue Sky Studios
Conference panelist

Deb Stone, began her career in feature animation at Walt Disney Animation Studios where she worked her way up from recruiting assistant to talent development supervisor. In 2011, Deb was happy to move back home to the east coast and continue her career in feature animation as a senior recruiter for Blue Sky Studios.

Chris Vincze
Creative Technologist/Director,
MPC New York
Conference speaker

Chris Vincze takes the term ‘tech’ person to the next level. Having set up MPC’s data lab in London as creative technology consultant and 3D shoot supervisor, Vincze brought his technical knowledge of digital acquisition, conversion algorithms and stereoscopic expertise to help MPC grow into one of the leading houses in these areas. Splitting his role between supervisor and director has allowed Vince to participate in some of the most complex and visual stunning work in advertising. Most recently, Vincze directed the Woman’s Aid stereoscopic project which won a Creative Circle award in the UK.

Alan Bibby
Director, Logan
Conference speaker

Allan joins Logan from Stardust Studios, where his projects included Mercedes-Benz, AT&T, Shell, and Subaru and the VMA-nominated Princess of China collaboration between Rihanna and Coldplay.

Angus Kneale
Executive Creative Director, The Mill NY
Conference speaker

As Executive Creative Director at The Mill in NY, Angus has supervised the company’s most acclaimed work and garnered numerous accolades, including a Yellow D&AD Pencil for Coca-Cola’s “It’s Mine”; named Spot of the Decade by Adweek. Angus was also the talent behind VFX for the comedic classic, Skittles “Touch.”

Lon Grohs
Vice President / Business Development,
Chaos Group USA
Conference presenter

Lon Grohs approaches CG from a variety of vantage points. He can’t help it, his career has been diverse: artist to animator, speaker to professor. Now as the VP of Business Development for Chaos Group, Lon evangelizes the merits of V-Ray and PhoenixFD to both customers and partners as they jointly work towards new advancements in rendering technology. Once an artist, always an artist.

Borislav Petrov
Product Specialist, Thinkbox Software
Master class

One of the most influential VFX Technical Directors in the industry, the creative and pipeline tools written by this technical prodigy have been used by top artists on countless commercials as well as major feature films including G.I.Joe, Avatar, SuckerPunch and TRON:Legacy.

Lara Hopkins
Head of Recruitment,
Conference panelist

Based in Framestore’s New York office, Lara heads up recruitment for film and commercials across the company’s New York, Los Angeles, Montreal and London offices. She plays a strategic role in talent acquisition and management, and over the last year has focused on expanding the artist teams in New York as well as new offices in Los Angeles and Montreal.

Michelle Higa Fox
Slanted Studios
Conference panelist

Michelle was a founding member of the animation trio Mixtape Club. During Michelle’s tenure with the company, Mixtape Club directed videos for Yeasayer, My Morning Jacket, and TV On The Radio, and produced commercials for brands including Google and Showtime. This work won the team an ADC Young Guns award, a Best Music Video award at SXSW, and appearances on “Best of the Year” lists for MTV2, Spin Magazine, and Pitchfork Media.

Dan Sormani
Executive producer, Logan
Conference speaker

Previously an EP/Partner at Lifelong Friendship Society and an alumus of Brand New School, Stardust, and Lowe, Dan has won Cannes Lions, AICP, and BDA awards for work his with brands like Nickelodeon, Burger King and Help®.

Justin Lane
Managing Director,
MPC New York
Conference speaker

Justin took over MD duties at MPC NY in December of 2011, and has already expanded MPC’s digital/Interactive offerings and set up a design collective within its walls. Prior to joining MPC, Justin was a partner at Psyop and a founding member its VFX sibling MassMarket. During his 15-year career, Justin has worked with some of the most influential directors and leading brands, winning multiple AICP awards, Clios and a Cannes Lion along the way. 

Dave Glanz
Master class

With projects for some of television’s highest rated shows, Dave Glanz is one of the “most viewed” broadcast designers in the industry. Recognized by the PromaxBDA awards, Dave has worked for over a decade solving creative problems for clients including Discovery Channel, Nat Geo, History, PBS and the American Film Institute with projects like Mythbusters, Sharkweek, Storm Chasers, Deadliest Catch and Modern Marvels.

Patrick Boivin
Conference speaker

Patrick Boivin was a successful commercial director in Montreal when he decided he wanted more and YouTube was the way to get it. Starting with stop-motion pop culture remixes like Iron Man vs Bruce Lee (16M views) through to VFX mini-masterworks like Dragon Baby (27M views), Boivin created 50+ short films and is now a certified YouTube phenom with over 200M views and serious interest from the major Hollywood studios.

Adam Holmes
Previs Supervisor
Conference speaker + Master class

Adam Holmes’ previs supervision and cinematography work spans 17 years of live action visual effects, feature animation, independent film and commercials. He has consulted for major studios and and brands including Lucasfilm Animation, Sony Imageworks, Digital Domain, Disney, Warner Brothers, Autodesk, Halon Entertainment and Imagi Studios.

Beverly Miller
Business Representative for Film and TV,
Conference panelist

I am currently serving my fifth term as the President of United Scenic Artists Local USA829 IATSE. I helped to develop the NYS Apprenticeship Program for Scenic Artists now in its 13th year of educating new scenic artists under Agreements in USA 829. I was fortunate to be part of the move that USA 829 made from the Brotherhood of Painters to the IATSE, leaving one’s International Local for another is quite an experience. After that event in 1999 I added service as the Commercial, TV and Film representative.

Benjamin Porcari
Founder and CEO,
IBC Digital
Conference panelist

From their studio in Buffalo New York Ben and the IBC Digital crew have conquered the major markets providing design, animation and VFX for commercials, broadcast television, and feature films including the Oscar nominated Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkiban.

Anne Skopas
Executive Producer,
Buck NY
Conference panelist

Anne joined Buck as Executive Producer in 2010, bringing her 20 years of VFX industry experience to overseeing innovative and award-winning 2D, 3D, and live action campaigns for a multitude of brands such as Google, Sherwin Williams, ESPN’s X-Games, Fruitsnacks, Nickelodeon, and Ginger Grouse.

Todd Akita
Senior Technical Director, Psyop
Master class

As an original member of Psyop, Todd’s role involved finding creative solutions to technical problems with limited available resources. His fine arts background turned out to be an important asset at Psyop where the projects often required both artistic and technical input.

Alex Lovejoy
Creative Director,
MPC New York
Conference speaker

During his 10 years as a key member of the MPC London creative team, Alex played a key role in establishing the studio as a market leader in commercial VFX. Lured to New York as sr. VFX supervisor for The Mill, Alex then rejoined MPC and counts ESPN “Invincible” for Rupert Sanders and W+K NY, and GE “Clouds” for Traktor and BBDO NY among his recent credits.

Ila Abramson
Founder, I Spy Recruiting
Conference panelist

Ila works with leading animation, VFX, and motion-design studios throughout North America to staff freelance and full-time talent for a wide range of projects. She is a frequent guest lecturer at art schools around the country and an adjunct faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York.