Our exciting slate of guest speakers continues to grow as the festival draws near. Check back for updates!
Click a name in the list below to jump to that speaker's bio:
- Belinda Van Sickle - (Gaming Keynote)
- Troy Quane - (Animation Keynote)
- Mark Cappello - Owner - Invisible Entertainment
- Lauren Cruikshank - PhD Media Arts & Cultures Program - UNB
- Gene Fowler - Owner - Loogaroo
- Kevin Gallant - Instructor/Researcher 3D Graphics - NBCC
- Nicole Hardy - Animator - Copernicus Studios
- Jeff Mundee - Game Designer / University Instructor
- Ulric Corbeil Trudel - Eric Shaw - Mathieu Beaudet - Co-Founders Pixel Audio
- Lance Thompson - Screenwriter
- Pamela Kleibrink Thompson - The 911 Recruiter/Career Coach
- Kirsten Tomilson - CEO 4th Monkey Media
GameDocs / Women In Games International
Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Belinda Van Sickle is an entertainment technology industry influencer and thought leader with deep resources among cross-platform clients and partners. She has experience providing strategy, marketing and product management services for emerging and established companies with expertise negotiating among multi-national corporations. She has written and lectured using her experience-driven competitive analysis of product and company positioning and branding.
Van Sickle is the Founder and CEO of GameDocs specializing in strategic and marketing consulting. She started her video game career in 1997 at Activision and in 1999, was one of the founding members of Ignited Minds, an ad agency specializing in the game industry. She has worked on advertising, marketing and strategy for Activision, Disney, Microsoft, Sony, Warner Bros., Vivendi, Blizzard, Konami, Midway, Capcom, LucasArts, DARPA and other AAA, mobile, social and serious game developers and publishers.
She started volunteering for Women in Games International in 2006. In 2009 she became CEO of the organization, leading WIGI's efforts to promote and encourage women's achievement in the video game industry.
She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Women's Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Master's in English with a focus in Creative Writing from Sonoma State University. She has spoken at industry conferences such as GDC, Casual Connect, NAB and others. She has been interviewed about the game industry by publications like Wired, GameSpot, GameCareerGuide, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly and others. She has lectured at the University of Southern California, California State University-Fullerton, Art Institute of California-Los Angeles, Westwood College, Laguna College of Art and Design and the NewSchool of Architecture and Design. She's been a hardcore casual gamer for more than 20 years and loves hidden object games, mobile arcade titles and social games.
Blue Sky Studios
Troy began his animation career in 1995, when he was hired out of Sheridan College as a Character Designer for Phoenix Animation Studios in Toronto. Within three months he was promoted to Production Designer, then spent the following eighteen months as an Art Director and Design Supervisor for numerous other productions at the studio. In the summer of 1996, Quane was hired as a traditional animator for Walt Disney Animation Canada’s new studio in Toronto. There he worked on a multitude of direct-to-video productions including Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas,Pocahontas II: Journey to the New World and Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas.
In 1999, he left Disney to embark on a freelance career. Over the next few years he progressed to Senior Animator on various top end commercials and feature films including Fox Feature Animation’s Titan A.E., Disney’s The Tigger Movie, Warner Bros. Feature Animation’s Osmosis Jones, Sony’s Eight Crazy Nights and Universal’s Curious George.
In 2003, Quane joined the story crew for The Wild, a CGI feature film executive produced by Kevin Lima, before working as story supervisor on the director’s critically acclaimed live-action & hand-drawn animation hybrid film, Enchanted.
After Enchanted, Quane continued to work from Toronto as a story artist on a few series and films such as Shane Acker’s 9. He also began doing more development work on films like The Incredible Mr. Limpet and Candyland, becoming involved at a much earlier stage. One of these development projects was a film at Sony Pictures Animation (SPA), which eventually led to Quane being hired by the studio and relocating to LA. Quane continued to help develop projects such as Popeye for SPA while also lending a hand storyboarding on Arthur Christmas and Hotel Transylvania. He directed the short film The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol as well as the feature film Kazorn and the Unicorn.
Troy currently lives in Connecticut, where he works for Blue Sky Studios.
Mark is an alumnus of Sheridan College’s Classical Animation program. He is currently Art Director at Ubisoft Halifax, as well as CEO of Invisible Entertainment. Over his 20 year career in broadcast animation, Mark has worked for Fourth Monkey Media (Art Director), Collideascope Digital (Studio Manager), Helix Animation (Studio Director) and Funbag Animation (Layout Artist/Supervisor). Mark’s credit!list includes work on television shows like “Johnny Test,” “For Better or For Worse,” “The Undergrads,” “The Magic School Bus,” “Franklin the Turtle” and “Little Bear.”
Professor Media Arts and Culture
University of New Brunswick
Lauren Cruikshank is a professor from the Media Arts and Cultures program in the Department of Culture and Language Studies at the University of New Brunswick- Fredericton. She has been doing research in the academic field of game studies for over a decade, with a specific focus on avatars and aspects of virtual embodiment. She has developed courses on games and gameplay, digital culture, social media, gender and media, television and popular culture in the Media Arts and Cultures program at UNB. She is also is in the process of developing a game studies research group and an interactive media laboratory on the UNB campus to further advance the academic study of games here in Atlantic Canada.
Gene Fowler is an honors graduate of NBCC Miramichi, and in the last 15 years been in the executive and creative management roles of animation studios and their projects. In 2000, as Executive Director of Animation for a studio owned by a US –based e-learning company, Gene was responsible in growing and managing the largest Flash exclusive animation studio in Canada.
Then in 2003, as the founder and President of Fatkat, Gene grew from scratch the largest flash animation studio on the Canada’s east coast, employing hundreds of artists and twice ranking in the top 3 of the fastest growing companies in the region.
Gene has produced over 100 productions in the last 15 years. These range from commercials for Toyota, Pepsi, Unilever, Microsoft and Yahoo to training films for Boeing, Hasbro and Nike to Multimillion dollar television series for CBC, Nicktoons, YTV, SRC, Canal + and BBC.
He is extremely passionate about his hometown Miramichi, building an animation industry in New Brunswick and is wondering what he has to do to get his photo up on the wall of fame at NBCC Miramichi, jeez!
Instructor / Researcher 3D Graphics
New Brunswick Community College
Kevin Gallant, green gadget inventor, is a game instructor and professional engineer. Technical Entrepreneurship and Innovation Masters program at SMU has brought networking up to a new level. Kevin Gallant received his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the University of New Brunswick specializing in 3D Generative Design. Kevin Gallant currently teaches Level Design and Enhanced 3D Concept courses for a technology program called Electronic Gaming. This Applied Arts program is one of the longest running game programs in North America with 21 years of student output.
As industry lead for internships, partnerships and toolkits, Kevin researches new gadgets, support tools and visual scripting engines. Kevin interests include solar technologies, vehicle dynamics, intelligent character integrations, and generation 3D design. Kevin likes to perform real-time serious game applications using Unity and Unreal UDKs engines. His passion is to integrate integrate and integrate everything smoothly within a defined software pipeline.
Nicole is a professional animator and graphic designer with experience in broadcast animation, game animation and comics. Her credits include: Delilah and Julius, Garth and Bev, Wild Grinders, Speed Racer: The Next Generation, El Santos vs. la Tetona Mendoza, Bravoman, and Teen Titans GO!
Instructor - Media Arts & Cultures Program
University of New Brunswick
Jeff Mundee has worked in the video game industry for over ten years starting in Vancouver with Factory1 Games. He then worked with Electronic Arts for three years as a motion capture specialist, and was involved in the production of animation for many EA games between 2006 and 2009. Most notably, Fight Night Round 3, FIFA, Dragon Age, Skate, Dead Space, and Need For Speed. He then became a mission designer at United Front Games where he worked on Sleeping Dogs, published by Square Enix. He has taught for eight years, including many game design courses at Art Institute of Vancouver, The Gaming and Animations Institute of Fredericton and most recently UNB's Media Arts and Cultures Program. While teaching, he has continued to work on several independent projects, casual, mobile, and gamification projects with various companies. He currently teaches several game design courses for UNB's MAAC program and is doing an Interdisciplinary Master's research project on participatory culture in the context of play and modding.
Gamers since the Commodore 64, these three composers / sound designers met for the first time in 2001 during their music studies at Collège Lionel-Groulx. They have been – and are still - part of various bands, where each one is involved primarily as creator, but also as keyboardist, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, administrator, tour manager and even roadie!
On their own, they also accumulated many years of experience on various projects in theatre, film, television and advertising. Yet, they have never ceased to caress the dream of combining their talents for music and audio, to their great passion for video games. It is only in 2012 that they gathered with a fourth partner from the communication and marketing field, in order to start a company that would enable them to realize this dream.
Pixel Audio is not a music and audio company like the others; it is a collective of composers and sound artists working together on their own initiative towards common goals: be as creative as possible, always challenge themselves and offer the amazing audio experience each game deserves. Pixel Audio works towards a collective decision process, where each member holds one another accountable for making things happen: “Talents don’t add up, they multiply”. They have worked on many titles including Army Of Two: The Devil’s Cartel (2013), Hitman GO (2014), Hitman Sniper (2015) BIOS (2015) and Jotun (2015).
Their motto: Create – Play – Explore – Cooperate
Boise, ID. USA
Lance Thompson has written for television (Mr. Belvedere), been a script doctor for motion pictures (The Two Jakes, The Honeymooners, Thalberg), and as a motion picture advertising consultant on over 500 campaigns, has earned two Key Art Awards and an International Broadcasters Award. His writing and photography have appeared in magazines, (Air & Space Smithsonian, Cowboys & Indians, Hemispheres, Delta Sky), books (X-Plane Crashes) and newspapers (Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News). He has lectured on writing at the Scriptwriters Network in Los Angeles, at the Ferris Video Festival in Michigan, and at Idaho Scriptwriters Association. He has conducted screen writing workshops for the Idaho Film Office, Idaho Writers League, and the Boise Public Library. He was founding president of Idaho Media Professionals, and is a frequent judge in screenwriting contests. He recently had his original screenplay DC Undercover optioned by Picturewell Studios in Los Angeles. As an actor, he has appeared in Discovery Investigation’s I Was Murdered, and was host of Treasure Valley Community Television programs Capital Rap and Idaho Media Showcase.
The 911 Recruiter/Career Coach
Boise, ID. USA
Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a popular speaker at colleges, film festivals and entertainment industry conferences around the world. Recent speaking engagements include presentations at Jalloo in New Brunswick, Cineposium in Boise, Idaho; ADAPT in Montreal; the MDA Animation Workshop in Singapore; FMX in Stuttgart, Germany; KAFI in Kalamazoo, Michigan; and schools such as Ringling and Savannah College of Art and Design. She has presented courses at SIGGRAPH in San Diego, Boston, and Los Angeles; was a noontime lecturer at Disney Feature Animation; and taught the Career Realities course at Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood.
Thompson is an internationally-acclaimed recruiter, career coach and animation veteran (production manager on Emmy Award-winning The Simpsons, ink and paint supervisor on Paramount’s animated feature Bebe’s Kids.) She was named one of the Top Ten Recruiters by Animation Magazine. Her career has given her hands-on knowledge of every aspect of games, animation, and visual effects. She has provided career coaching for clients from Dubai to Denver.
As manager of art at Virgin Interactive Entertainment, Thompson hired and supervised a staff of 50 animators, producers, and concept designers. She also produced award-winning games for Disney.
As the production manager of Brad Bird’s first network animation project, Family Dog, Thompson set up an animation studio from scratch, and worked with animators who went on to direct top-grossing animated features for Disney, Dreamworks, Sony and Pixar.
Thompson produced the Career Boot Camp in 1998–a weekend immersion seminar for animation professionals. She co-produced the event in 1999.
Pamela Thompson’s monthly column, The Career Coach, appears at the Animation World Network web site http://mag.awn.com. She has written articles for over 90 other publications, including Animation Today, Los Angeles Times, Entrepreneur, Idaho Women’s Journal and Woman’s Day.
Fourth Monkey Media
Kirsten began her media career 14 years ago as a freelance production assistant on hectic live action television and movie sets. Not satisfied with the real world drama of the movie business and craving the sort of creative absurdity one could only find amongst unwashed animators, she made the move to become a production coordinator at Collideascope Digital Productions in Halifax. In the animation world she had the opportunity to work on numerous award winning and critically acclaimed series as she scaled the monkey bars upwards earning more responsibility as an associate producer, and eventually as a producer. Loved by her crew, and integral to the successful planning and execution of tight budgets and schedules, Kirsten learned a lot about the artistic process and how to organize large teams of creative individuals towards a common goal by building stable productions and fostering an atmosphere of respect, teamwork, and productivity.
Always up for a new challenge, Kirsten decided to leave the industry she loved to take on a new role as a video game Producer for HB Studios in Lunenburg. She accepted the challenge of learning an entirely different production model in a new technology sector, quickly rising to the role of Senior Project Manager. During her time with HB Kirsten successfully produced a number of world-class console games with top clients from around the gaming world, and helped the company expand their business while managing numerous productions at two separate facilities. After experiencing work-life in a large gaming facility, Kirsten decided to make a sideways swing into a smaller boutique gaming and e-learning environment. Acting as Senior Production Manager for Raised Media, she has immersed herself in the world of education based games and online branding, all the while learning how to make a smaller company perform like a well oiled multi-national brand.
Kirsten’s in depth and rounded work experience in media, television, feature films and games gives her a stunning array of skills and attributes any client will find indispensable. She has evolved her career towards serving the interests of her clients and her craft, and she represents the missing link between left-brain artistic creatives and goal-focused executives. Kirsten’s professional, positive attitude and her infectious humour make her a joy to work with, and we are proud and fortunate to have her as Fourth Monkey’s top banana.