Director of Eugène
Anaïs Caura is a director specializing in 2D animation. In 2011, Caura graduated from the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs in Paris. Since 2015, Anaïs has produced Desintox, in collaboration with Arte and Libération. Simultaneously, her passion for animated narratives and extraordinary characters led her to create The man-woman case in 2017, an animated series for France Télévisions that earned multiple awards at festivals, including the prestigious jury award at the Annecy Festival. Currently, Caura is co-directing a factual fiction for Arte and working on the cinematic adaptation of the life of Eugène Falleni, Eugène.
Jury Member for New Francophone Shorts
Marcos Chin is an award-winning illustrator whose creations have appeared in advertisements, fashion catalogues, magazines, on book covers, and on public art. He has worked with companies such as Apple, Google, Starbucks, Target, Marvel, The New York Times, and Vanity Fair. Chin has given lectures and workshops in the U.S. and abroad, and currently teaches Illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
After studying cinema at the University of Montreal, Marco de Blois joined Le Cinémathèque québécoise in 1999 as its animation film conservationist and curator, and he has been the artistic director of Les sommets du cinéma d’animation since 2002. He has written numerous articles on animation and has taught its history at Université Laval in Quebec and Concordia University in Montreal. In 2022 he received an honorary prize from PIAFF, Paris International Animation Film Festival in recognition of his contribution to the promotion and appreciation of animation.
Peter de Sève
Featured Guest for Peter de Sève: My Wonderful Life on the Hamster Wheel
Peter de Sève’s work spans four decades and various media, including magazines, books, television commercials, Broadway posters, and character designs. He’s best recognized for his The New Yorker Magazine covers and his character designs for the Ice Age franchise. De Sève has also contributed to such films as Finding Nemo, Robots, The Little Prince and The Grinch, to name a few. His many distinctions include the prestigious Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators, an Emmy Award for best character design in a television show, and an Annie Award. His book, The Art of Peter de Sève was released in Fall 2023.
Producer of Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds
Ron Dyens is the founder of Sacrebleu Productions and recipient of many prestigious awards for short films (Palme d’Or, 2 Césars, Lion d’Or, Ours d’Argent, 2 Cristals at Annecy, Procirep Award for Best Producer, and an Oscar nomination). He produced several feature films including Tout en Haut de Monde by Rémi Chayé, L’Extraordinaire Voyage de Marona by Anca Damian, and My Sunny Maad by Michaela Pavlatova. Ron is an academy member of the Oscar Awards and the César Awards, as well as the European Film Awards.
Mike Enright is a visual artist and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. His body of animated work spans nearly three decades and has most recently been celebrated at the Woodstock Film Festival and at public video installations from South Korea to New Mexico. Since 2003, Mr. Enright has taught the art of animation to all ages through children’s workshops, higher education courses, and professional programs. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute’s Department of Digital Arts where he coordinates the 2D – Traditional Animation BFA program. His admiration and respect for French animation began while curating international shorts programs for the Philadelphia Film Society throughout the 2000’s. In 2019, he was a guest Professor in Angoulême, France at Ecole Européenne Supérieure de l’Image, instructing workshops for first year students. He is honored to co-curate the New Francophone Shorts program at this year’s Animation First Festival!
Jury Member for New Francophone Shorts
Candy Kugel, a longtime voting member of both the AMPAS and the TV Academy, began her career at Perpetual Motion Pictures, a programming studio in NYC. She has made over a dozen award-winning independent shorts, which are part of MoMA’s Film Archives. In 2018, “I, Candy” premiered at MoMA as part of “An Evening with Candy Kugel.” Kugel recently developed and executive produced Angela’s Christmas, an award-winning Netflix special. Through Buzzco Associates, she has created TV programming, educational films, and advertisements—most notably MTV’s “Talking About Sex for Planned Parenthood,” which won an Annecy Cristal and WGBH’s “Between the Lions,” which won nine Daytime Emmys.
Director of Allah is not obliged
Zaven Najjar is a French director and artistic director whose illustration series Rapposters—100 posters focused on 100 rap classics created in 100 days—was transformed into a clothing line by the brand Quatre Cent Quinze and distributed by Colette, Miami Art Basel, and Citadium. He’s the graphic author and artistic director of the animated feature, The Siren (La Sirène), directed by Sepideh Farsi. The film premiered at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival and was selected for the 2023 Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Najjar’s first animated short, Un Obus Partout, received several festival awards. Allah is Not Obliged will be Najjar’s first feature film.
Producer of Allah is Not Obliged
French producer Sébastien Onomo has over 10 years of experience in the film and audiovisual industry in both live action and animation. He is also behind the prize-winning Funan in 2018 which earned the Crystal Award at the 2018 Annecy International Animation Film Festival and had its US premiere at Animation First 2019. This past year, he produced The Forest of Miss Tang which premiered at the 2023 Annecy International Animation Film Festival and The Siren, which opened the Panorama section at the 2023 Berlinale and received numerous prizes including Best Music Award at Annecy 2023. In 2023, he received the Animation Trophy from Film Français.
Director of Mars Express
Jérémie Périn graduated from Gobelins School of Visual Arts in 2000. In 2007, he co-directed the series CO2. In 2009, he made a name for himself with the music video “Truckers Delight” by the band Flairs. In 2016, he directed the series Lastman, and made a name for himself in adult animation in France and around the world. Most recently, he directed the feature film Mars Express, which was nominated for a Cristal Award at the 2023 Annecy International Film Festival.
Featured Guest for Misery Loves Comedy: Focus on Janet Perlman
Janet Perlman is an animation director, writer, and illustrator known for her absurdist sense of humor and unique animation style. Her short films have gained global recognition, including an Oscar nomination and the coveted “Best Bad Taste” award at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. In addition to her films, she has written and illustrated four children’s books. Her latest work is The Girl with the Red Beret, based on a song by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. She most recently completed her interpretation of Pinocchio—in which she shrinks the oft-told story into a one-minute runtime—for a compilation called The One-Minute Mistake.
Director of When Adam Changes
Joël Vaudreuil is an independent multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Montreal.
When Adam Changes (Parce que Films, 2023) is his first feature film. In addition to directing music videos, he has also directed several animated short films, including La vie magnifique sous l’eau (2015), Le courant basse de la rivière (Jutra Award, 2013), L’enfant aux 6 hot-dogs (2011), Un vortex dans face (Jutra nominee, 2010), and La récréation du midi (2009). Vaudreuil is also a musician and member of the bands Avec pas d’casque, Moussette, Le Diable (comme l’outil) and Cheval Fou.
Trained at Paris’s Beaux-Arts and Gobelins animation school, Serrand grew his passion for animation out of his never-ending curiosity for the arts in all of their forms. His rich career began in the studios of France’s most celebrated filmmakers, including Paul Grimault (The King and the Mockingbird) and René Laloux (Fantastic Planet), before taking him to a long tenure at DreamWorks and now to Netflix, where he is currently Character Animation Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Serrand has served as President of the Jury for Animation First’s Student Short Film Competition since its inaugural season in 2020.