Joan Gratz (USA)
Joan Gratz is an Academy Award winning director of animated short films and commercials. Her films range in content through painterly expressions of poetry, improvised abstraction, and animated social documentary.
The technique she pioneered is “Claypainting.” Working directly before the camera, she applies bits of clay, blends colors and etches fine lines to create a seamless flow of images.
In Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase, images of the human face are transformed to communicate the graphic style and emotional content of major 20th century art works. This animated history of art won the Oscar in 1992.
Joan developed her animated painting when an architecture student, then shifted from paint to clay while working with Will Vinton Studios. During that time, her work included design and animation for the Academy Award Nominees Return to Oz, Rip Van Winkle, and The Creation.
Since establishing her own studio, Gratzfilm, in 1987, she has received many honors for her personal and commercial work.
Aleksandra Korejwo (Poland)
Aleksandra Korejwo is a director, screenplay writer, painter and animation artist. She makes her animated films using the coloured salt technique and other materials. She creates shows with animated coloured salt set to live music and poetry performed before the audience. Since 2007, she has been working at her studio in Poland. She has worked on projects for ACME FILMWORKS and created animations for the Walt Disney Studio. Her most recent film “JUBILEE CONCERT” was made with a grant from the Polish Film Art Institute. Films by Aleksandra Korejwo have received some 50 awards, distinctions and nominations including “The Best of the World“ for “JUBILEE CONCERT” trailer by the jury of the International Film Festival in Hiroshima, Japan. „SUITE FOR FREEDOM“ (2004) and „BUTTERFLY“ (2008) are among her most awarded films.
Boryana Mateeva (Bulgaria)
She was born in Sofia in 1952. She majored in Film Studies at NATFA “Krastyo Sarafov”. From 1976 until 2015 she worked in the Bulgarian National Film Archive as an editor and programmer of archival cinema. She has published hundreds of articles and texts about Bulgarian and world cinema, and has participated in radio and television shows on cinema-related topics. Since 1995 she has been teaching History of Bulgarian Animation and History of World Animation at New Bulgarian University, and as of 2006 – History of Iberian-American Cinema at NATFA.
She was a jury member of FIPRESSI in Annecy, Buenos Aires, Cannes, Leipzig, San Sebastian, Havana, and of animation juries in Ankara and Wissembourg. In 2014 she presented the Panorama of Bulgarian Animation at the International Festival in Mumbai.
She won the Award for Critique of the ABFM in 1996 and 1997, and the Award for Operational Critique of the Bulgarian Film Academy in 2012.
Velislav Kazakov (Canada)
Born in 1955 in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 1975 joined Animated Studio “Sofia” as Animator, then Director and Art Director on over 30 short films:
Self-Sacrifice - Debut Prize,”Varna‘81”, Cuckoo - First Prize, “Varna‘83”, “Golden Mikeldi” for Animation in Bilbao’84, Libido.
Graduated from National Academy of Theater and Cinema in Sofia, 1988.
In 1991-92 worked at Richard Williams Studios in London on “The Thief and the Cobbler”. Since moving to Montreal in 1992, did lay-outs and storyboards for many TV series, worked on two feature films and a dozen shorts. Produced Bugging the Bug in 2004 - Winner HAFF Tube 2012 competition, and Overcast 2011 - Award for Best Canadian Short Film, Montreal World Film Festival 2011, - Second prize “Silver Brick”, Animax Skopje Fest 2011, - Special Award, Golden Kuker’ 11 Sofia, - Special Mention, Banjalukanima 2011.
Jared Taylor (Great Britain)
Jared Taylor MA(RCA) FHEA is the Programme Director for Animation at the University of Edinburgh, (the UK’s number one rated undergraduate animation course according to The Guardian newspaper’s UK Universities League 2016). His career spans 13 years in the interactive sector of the animation industry working as a designer and producer on titles such as LEGO Digital Designer, and Metal Gear Mobile for a range of international clients. He has been teaching for 10 years, primarily at Ravensbourne in London where the emphasis is upon CGI and broadcast technologies, and more recently at the University of Edinburgh where a more diverse approach to animation that synthesises classical, experimental and industrial is his current focus. Jared has resigned himself to the fact that he is an educator rather than an animator, but he is a passionate advocate for animators, and has helped facilitate and support some of the best undergraduate animation coming from the UK in the last few years.