Our incredible panel of animation professional judges for the 2017 World Animation Celebration.
Meet our Judges
President and creative director of Chiodo Bros. Productions Inc. Stephen Chiodo has established himself as a highly creative special effects director with an expertise in stop-motion animation. Stephen perfected his animation and directorial skills at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he was awarded "Best Young Director" at the Cannes Film Festival for his ten-minute short, "Cricket”. In the early eighties, he collaborated with Tim Burton and Rich Heinricks as a Technical Director and Animator for the acclaimed animated short Vincent. Stephen’s directing credits include the first feature length clay animated film I Go Pogo and the cult classic Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Recent credits include the stop motion character animation for New Line Cinema’s “Elf” and creating the cast of marionettes for Paramount’s “Team America- World Police “. Recently Stephen has directed pilots for CNN, ShowTime, Relativity Media and the Disney Channel as well as creating content for new media outlets on the Internet. Stephen has also been sharing his experiences and knowledge by teaching stop motion animation at the prestigious California Institute of Art.
Audu has been turning big pencils into little ones professionally for over thirty years. He has produced and directed over 300 hours of television programming. Including fifteen CGI features. His credits include: MONSTER HIGH, ANIMANIACS, EVER AFTER HIGH, STUART LITTLE 3, SPIDER-MAN the animated series for MTV, MAX STEEL, EXTREME GHOSTBUSTERS, PROJECT GEEKER, PINKY AND THE BRAIN,TINY TOON ADVENTURES,TAZ-MANIA , RUGRATS, THE SIMPSONS, and TAK THE POWER OF JUJU for Nickelodeon, and "HOT WHEELS, BATTLE FORCE FIVE" for Cartoon Network. He has received the Peabody Award, the Media Access Award, A Gemini and two Daytime Emmys. Raised in West Africa and the United States, he encourages the rumor that he was raised by apes. He went on to study theater at Northwestern University and film at UCLA.
Anthea Kerou is a 3D Character Animation professional with 12 years of experience on feature film animation, and visual effects. She has worked at studios such as Blue Sky, Disney, Dreamworks, Sony, and Digital Domain. And on films such as Bolt, Horton Hears a Who, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Shrek Forever After, and Transformers 3. She has also been a 3D character animation teacher for 6 years at schools such as The Academy of Art, Animation Mentor, and Anim School, and has a value of supporting new talent to grow their storytelling and acting animation skills. She has worked extensively in leadership training where she supports teams in achieving their highest potential personally and professionally.
An internationally respected critic and historian of animation, Charles Solomon has written on the subject for the New York Times, Newsweek (Japan), Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, Variety, the Manchester Guardian, and National Public Radio. His books include “The Art of Frozen,” “The Art of the Disney Golden Books,” “The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey,” "Tale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Disney's Animated Classic Beauty and the Beast," "The Art of Toy Story 3," “Enchanted Drawings: The History of Animation,” which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the first film book to be nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award. In 2008, he received the LA Press Club Award for radio feature reporting. in 2015, AISFA/Hollywood’s June Foray for service to the art of animation.
For over 30 years, Rick Farmiloe has been animating childhoods by breathing life and hilarity into memorable, iconic characters. He is best known for the lovable Disney side-kicks; Scuttle, LeFou, and Abu in the classic Academy Award-winning films The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.
At the age of five, while watching Walt Disney's Pinocchio, Rick was bitten by the cartoon bug and after years of creating his own cartoons for family and friends, he was determined to be a Disney animator. In January 1982, Rick was hired by Walt Disney Productions. During his 11 years under contract, Rick animated on seven features, including: The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, Oliver and Company, and The Rescuers Down Under. Rick's other feature film credits include: The Swan Princess, The Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, Shrek, Rugrats Go Wild, Curious George, The Simpsons Movie, The Boxtrolls, The Iron Giant: Signature Edition, and four Tom and Jerry direct-to-DVD films. In 2011, Rick was an animator on two Annie Award-winning productions: Adam and Dog, which also received an Oscar nomination, and Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters
Lee Lanier has worked as a professional computer animator and VFX (visual effects) artist since 1994. He has over 70 features, shorts, music videos, trailers, and commercials to his credit. While at Buena Vista Visual Effects at Walt Disney Studios, he created VFX for numerous feature films. While at PDI/DreamWorks, he served as a senior animator on Antz and Shrek. Along the way, he directed a series of independent, animated short films that went on to play 200+ film festivals, museums, and art galleries worldwide. His work has been featured at such venues as Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Smithsonian Institution. As a world-renowned expert in the animation and VFX fields, Lee has written high-end software books that have sold 30,000 copies, has authored VFX training videos for lynda.com, has taught VFX compositing at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood, and is a member of VES (Visual Effects Society). A strong supporter of the arts, Lee co-founded the Dam Short Film Festival – Nevada’s largest film festival – and continues to serve as its executive director. He also co-manages the Boulder City branch of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. In addition, he curates The Art Space gallery in Boulder City and is a member of the Boulder City Art Guild. Lee has recently turned his skills to painting, creating his first two series in 2015.
Sherie Pollack is a 4-time EMMY nominated Animation Writer /Director who has Directed over one hundred Produced TV Series Episodes.
She delights in wearing many Animation production hats and her credits include Nickelodeon’s DORA THE EXPLORER, FAIRLY ODD PARENTS, Disney’s MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE, PEPPER ANN, Carsey Werner’s GOD THE DEVIL AND BOB,
THE SIMPSONS, DUCKMAN, AHH! REAL MONSTERS, ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE,
HEY ARNOLD, SCOOBY DOO, CLARENCE, WE BARE BEARS, MAD TV and FERNGULLY. Pollack’s animated Short Film, N’ CEST PAS earned 1st place in the SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL, THE CINE EAGLE Award, NEW YORK EXPO’S Special Jury Award and UCLA’S SPOTLIGHT Award.
Robb Pratt is a Disney veteran, having started at Feature Animation in 1994 as a traditional animator. After animating on such modern Disney classics as “Pocahontas”, “Fantasia 2000”, “Hercules” and “Tarzan”, Robb eventually joined Disney TV Animation as a storyboard artist where he has boarded such shows as “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “Kim Possible” and directed the Disney Channel hit series “The Replacements”. As an independent animated filmmaker, Robb produced and directed the short films, “Superman Classic”, “Bizarro Classic” and “Flash Gordon Classic”. Currently, Robb is a director on the Disney Channel Series, “Elena of Avalor”