Category Archives: News

Announcing Our 2020 Animation Jury

I’m particularly delighted to share with you our 2020 animation jury. Each of these members has some history with the festival, with one going back to the very beginning! We’re so thankful to have their participation this year.

Kirsten LeporeJohn MartzNata Metlukh

Kirsten Lepore

Kirsten Lepore is an LA-based director and animator, and alumna of CalArts. Her viral hit Hi Stranger garnered upwards of 200 million views online, and her stop-motion episode of Adventure Time won a 2016 Emmy & Annie award. Her other films have taken top prizes at SXSW, Slamdance, and many other international festivals. She has worked with clients such as Google, MTV, Mini Cooper, Silk, Skippy, Nestle, and many more. Kirsten has given talks everywhere from Pixar to Portugal and has also been featured in Juxtapoz, Shots, and was named one of the 50 most creative people by Creativity Magazine. We showed her short film Bottle (2010) as part of our January 2016 quarterly screening lineup.

John Martz

John Martz is a cartoonist, illustrator, and designer. His work has been seen in MAD Magazine and The Nib, and his books for children include A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories, Burt’s Way Home, and Evie and the Truth About Witches from Koyama Press. He was the founding editor of the illustration blog, which he relaunched in 2020 with a focus on animated shorts. John lives in Toronto, where he works as the art director for Tundra Books and Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers. Way back in 2011, John designed the Shorts That Are Not Pants logo, which we are still using today.

Nata Metlukh

Nata Metlukh is a Ukrainian-born animation artist based in San Francisco. She creates visually bold, character driven works featuring urban lifestyle. Her animated films have been recognized by major film festivals and received several awards. Her film Pura Vida won the Best Animated Short award at the 2019 edition of the Shorts That Are Not Pants Film Festival.


Roku Express

Enter to win one of 10 Roku Express streaming media players, courtesy of Roku Canada. Ten winners will be drawn from our first 100 pass buyers, allowing you to enjoy our festival films on your very own home entertainment system.*

Easy to use and simple to set up, the Roku Express makes streaming what you love fun and easy. With access to more than 150,000 movies and TV episodes from the top free and paid channels, including The Roku Channel, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, Hayu, users are provided with endless entertainment. The Roku Express is available in-store and online at Walmart, Best Buy, The Source, and more for $39.99.

Get your passes here:

* requires installing the free Eventive app on your Roku Express. Winners should receive their prizes in time for our festival dates but we cannot guarantee delivery in time.

Announcing Our 2020 Documentary Jury

Very happy to share that this group of documentary experts will be judging this year’s selection of documentary shorts. We are honoured to have their participation!

Shane SmithShasha NakhaiRobin Smith

Shane Smith

Shane Smith is Director of Programming at Hot Docs, North America’s largest festival and market for documentary film.

Smith previously worked at the Toronto International Film Festival as director of Special Projects, and director of Public Programs. Prior to TIFF he was Executive Producer, In-Flight Entertainment at Spafax, director of programming at Channel Zero Inc, director of the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival, short film programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, and programmer for the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival.

Smith has participated on juries and panels at festivals and events around the world.

Shasha Nakhai

Shasha is a filmmaker from Toronto with Compy Films. Her film with partner Rich Williamson, Frame 394, was shortlisted for an Oscar and named one of TIFF’s Top 10 after a stellar festival run. She recently released her first feature documentary, Take Light, which enters the tangled web of Nigeria’s energy crisis, and is about to release two new short doc projects. She is currently taking Catherine Hernandez’s award-winning novel, Scarborough, from page to screen, with several projects in development.

Robin Smith

Robin is the CEO and co-owner of Blue Ice Docs, who acquires, funds and develops a wide variety of non-fiction projects from around the world.

Over the last 18 years, Robin has worked in management roles at a variety of film companies including the National Film Board of Canada, Alliance, Blackwatch Releasing, TIFF, Lions Gate Films, Seville Pictures and Capri Releasing. In 2007, he founded Canada’s premier boutique distribution company KinoSmith Inc. and has overseen the successful launch of more than 200 films within the Canadian marketplace. Notable successes under Smith’s guidance include such hits as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Russian Ark, Away From Her, Up The Yangtze, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams and Blackfish.

Announcing Our 2020 Narrative Jury

One of my favourite parts of running the festival (other than finding so many awesome films and filmmakers) is getting to work with other film industry professionals, and each year I’ve been honoured and delighted to have such great people on our juries. This year is no exception. I’m very proud to introduce you to the fine group of people who will be judging 2020’s crop of narrative films:

Jim CummingsRobyn CitizenJason Ryle

Jim Cummings

Jim Cummings is the Sundance-winning filmmaker behind Thunder Road. He is a writer/director and actor and spends his time helping short filmmakers expand into feature filmmaking.

Robyn Citizen

Robyn Citizen, PhD is the Senior Manager of Festival Programming at Toronto International Film Festival. From 2012-2017 she was a lecturer on genre and transnational cinemas at the University of British Columbia. She has served on numerous film festival juries and is co-chair of the Breakthroughs Film Festival. A lifelong fan of anything in anthology format, she recently published chapters on Get Out and East Asian Cult cinema in edited volumes and is always on the lookout for new omnibus films.

Jason Ryle

Jason Ryle is a producer, programmer, curator, and arts consultant based in Toronto, Canada. From July 2010 to June 2020, Jason was the executive director of imagineNATIVE, an Indigenous-run organization mandated to support Indigenous screen-content creators. In this capacity, Jason oversaw all operational and artistic aspects of the annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and the organization’s year-round activities, including international partnerships and special projects. Since 2006, Jason has been a script reader for the Harold Greenberg Fund (which provides financial support to Canadian screenwriters) and currently serves as the chair of the Toronto Arts Council’s Visual & Media Arts Committee. From 2013 until 2019, he was an advisor for Indigenous films at the Berlinale. Jason has produced two short animations and is currently in development as a producer on three feature films, a short, and one documentary feature.