Moderators

Mary Harrington - Producer Nickleodeon

As the head of Harringtoons Productions, Mary is working exclusively for Nickelodeon where she is producing pilots, developing properties, and consulting on TV series and movies. Harrington started the successful Nickelodeon Comedy Shorts Program in 2012 and was the program’s executive producer for three years. She is also the exec producer of Nick Jr.’s Emmy-nominated series Ni Hao Kai-lan and the cult hit Invader Zim, created by award-winning comic book artist, Jhonen Vasquez. During her tenure as Nickelodeon’s top animation executive from 1992-1997, Mary was responsible for numerous award-winning animated series including Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Angry Beavers, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Rocko’s Modern Life, The Ren & Stimpy Show, The Wild Thornberries, as well as the development of the hit show Spongebob Squarepants with creator Stephen Hillenburg. In addition, Mary oversaw the founding of the Nickleodeon Animation Studio. Before joining Nickelodeon, Mary was a producer at Hahn Productions where she supervised the development and production

of animated television specials, direct to video, and music videos. She is also the founder of the Nickelodeon Animation Studio Mentoring Program that was formed in partnership with Communities In Schools.

Rita Street - Producer Radar Cartoons

Rita Street is an executive producer and indie development artist under the Radar Cartoons, LLC. umbrella. She is excited to be opening a second development company called Panita Productions with EP Lina Silva of Kreiworks, dedicated to sourcing, developing and selling Latin American content. As a writer, Rita has spent her career dedicated to creating great “heroes” that audiences want to embrace (and buyers want to pick-up). This dedication led her to publish the popular ebook: “A Cartoon Girl’s Secret Guide to Developing Kids’ Comedies That Sell.” Available for free in English at www.radarcartoons.com and  in Spanish later this year at www.panitaproductions.com. Rita is the co-creator of the upcoming Disney EMEA comedy, “Space Chickens in Space.” Her executive producer credits include: “Hero: 108” which ran for two seasons on Cartoon Network; “Teenage Fairytale Dropouts” which aired on The Hub and “Ruby Gloom” which now airs on Netflix. Currently, Rita is working on the development of a Latin American network project. Rita is also the ep of a CG feature film project called “100% Wolf” for producer Flying Bark in Australia. Rita is the founder of the international non-profit organization, Women In Animation. She is also proud to have served as a former publisher of “Animation Magazine.”

Pete Michels - Director/Producer Adult Swim

Originally from New Jersey, Pete Michels earned a BFA in Illustration from Jersey City State College and an MFA in Animation from UCLA. After landing a job on “The Simpsons”, Pete quickly moved up the ranks to become a director, and eventually ended up directing pilots at Disney and episodes of “Rugrats” and “Rocko’s Modern Life” for Nickelodeon. Pete then accepted a post as Supervising Director on “Family Guy” and directed more than a dozen “Family Guy” episodes until moving on to be Supervising Director for Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” and Disney’s “FutureWorm”. Pete is currently Supervising Producer on “Hot Streets” for Adult Swim and Stoopid Buddy Studios.

Michael Bonitatis - Founder Animation Libation Studios

CEO and founder of the global animation studio, Animation Libation Studios, Michael Bonitatis is engaged in promoting newly emerging artists from around the world. Additionally, he has collaborated with industry veterans from Disney, Dream Works, Sony, and Nickelodeon to develop multiple projects. Serving as the Art Director for the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Michael has produced and directed animations and presentations for Fortune 500 companies. Slope of the Curve; an animated short film he produced and animation directed is featured on CNN money. Michael has been a professor of computer-based and traditional animation and animation production for over a decade at several local colleges including East Los Angeles College, The Art Institutes,

Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton and The Los Angeles Film School.  He has also developed and implemented curriculum, led production teams, and served as a consultant in the animation education field. Michael holds a M.F.A. for Animation & Visual Effects from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He is currently the festival Director for the revival of 'The World Animation Celebration' at Sony Pictures Animation and rapidly establishing it as the premiere animation festival in Southern California.

Carol Ashley - Professor Cal State Fullerton

Carol Ashley is an industry veteran with over 20 years in feature film visual effects and animation, including Composite Supervisor on “The Matrix” and Lighting Technical Director at DreamWorks Animation on “Shark Tale”, “Madagascar”, “Over the Hedge” and “Flushed Away”. She holds an MFA in Film & Video with an emphasis on cinematography and visual effects and a BFA in Experimental Animation from California Institute of the Arts. She has contributed to numerous feature films for Sony Imageworks, Cinetropolis FX, Cinesite, Hammerhead, Rhythm & Hues and Technicolor.  Carol began her career at Will Vinson Studios as a Stop-Motion Animator on the California Raisin commercials, including designing and animating the Michael Jackson character for the award winning commercial, “Michael Raisin”.  While earning her Master’s she was asked to start up the stop-motion animation program at CalArts and stayed on as visiting faculty for two years after graduating. Carol has also taught at the Art Institute of Atlanta and Hollywood campuses in 3D animation and Visual Effects.  Carol is the former Department Chair for Media Arts at The Art institute of California - Hollywood before starting her tenure track position at Cal State Fullerton in Entertainment Art/Animation. She serves as the Director of Outreach at Animation Libation Studios, developing original content and bridging the gap between higher education and the animation industry.