14 - 24 OCTOBER // online


We stay active, we stay creative! We are TAF!

TAF-Thessaloniki Animation Festival has now become a statute and for the 7th consecutive year it’s coming close to you and the whole planet since, like last year, it will be held digitally.

The broader theme of this year's TAF is believe. In this new age, where data is constantly changing, we continue to believe in imagination, creativity and Art! Admission to all screenings, speeches and activities of the festival will be, as always, free for everyone.
The festival comes to your screens for ten days, from October 14 to 24, with films that stood out among thousands, to shape the competitive part of the Festival. Like last year, the films will be divided into thematic categories, for the easier navigation of the festival visitors. Some of our categories this year are: "memory ghosts", "black and white", "0-99" (our institutionalized category with movies suitable for children of all ages) etc. The awards will be presented on October 22 (including the "Audience Award", which gives you the opportunity to enter the role of judge and award the film that touched you the most).

As every year, with the valuable support of Heinrich böll stiftung, there will be a tribute to human rights with the special, now established, category “human rights animation” and the awarding of the same title. In fact, the program of the 7th TAF embodies two new categories, related to human rights, dedicated to diversity and the urban landscape.

And our program doesn’t stop here! For 2021, TAF brings you a special tribute to Taiwanese animation, through a unique collaboration with the TIAF - Taichang Animation Festival!

Also, for another year we will have the honour and pleasure to host artists and professionals from the world animation scene, who will deliver online masterclasses live. At the end of each masterclass there will be time for Q&A. The guests of TAF 2021 are the following:

• American Theodore “Teddy” Grouya director and producer, Founder of the American Documentary and Animation Film Festival.
• Greek-Italian Alexia Melocchi, an internationally recognized producer based in Los Angeles, is an organizer member of L.A. Greek Film Festival.
•The Greek Tassos Kotsiras, recognized animation director and CEO of Nurbs Production.
• Greek-Cypriot Michalis Kalopedis, Executive Producer in the company “Zedem Media”, the most famous animation studio in Cyprus.
• Debra Wootton from England, successful producer, founder and CEO of WEBRA multimedia.
• Native American Glen Beaudin who lives and works in Germany, actor, writer, CEO of Craft Initiative Agency.
• Harry Ravelomantsoa from Cape Town, who works as a Technical Software Sales Specialist at Toon Boom Animation.
• Piotr Michalowski, award-winning composer from Poland.
• Iranian Ashkan Rahgozar, founder and CEO of “Hoorakhsh studios”, one of the best animation studios in Iran.

Finally, within the framework of the festival, the Balkan Animation Pitching Forum (BAF) will be held for the second year, where creators from the Balkans will have the opportunity to present their projects to a committee, composed of producers and distributors from around the world, who will nominate the three winners and award the respective prizes. Thanks to the valuable support of EKOME and the company Toon Boom, the winning projects will win both a sum of money and licences for the Storyboard Pro, Harmony Premium/Advanced/Essentials programs, which we hope will bring them one step closer in the implementation of their projects.

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Teddy Grouya

Theodore “Teddy” Grouya is the Founder, Director and Programmer of the American Documentary and Animation Film Festival (AmDocs), as well as President of Cinema Arts Magic, a film production company based in Palm Springs, California. Teddy has been working on and off in the entertainment industry since 1981. He received his BA from UCLA, studying motion picture/television & history. After graduating, he worked on several Hollywood films, as well as directing a live television telethon. From there, Teddy went to Australia, where he received an MA from the Australian National University in International Relations. Teddy worked for the US Embassy in Australia and went on to Washington D.C., where he was a program specialist at USIA for the Fulbright Program, helping to design worldwide university affiliations. Teddy was recruited to go back to Australia to head the U.S. contingent’s Protocol Office at the World’s Fair. Upon leaving the government, he went to work in film, producing and directing several award-winning independent movies, in both the documentary and narrative fields. Teddy oversees all programming and managerial aspects of AmDocs, and is viewed by industry professionals as one of the most hands-on festival directors in the world.

Tassos Kotsiras

Tassos has worked as a Graphic Compositor and he has also worked in the fields of modeling, Animation, Project cost estimation and technical supervising in shootings. Tassos was Head of the 3d department for “PPV” (1999-2002), the biggest post production company in Greece. He is now the CEO at “Nurbs”, a production company working in the computer graphics industry, in the fields of post production (film and video), 3d modeling- animation, design, visual effects, illustrations, pre-production and pre- visualization. The company formed in 2004 from industry leaders in the field of visual effects in Greece and worked in the majority of the CGI produced in Greece (many of 


National Technical University of AthensNational Technical University of Athens, Graphic design (1993 - 1997)

Piotr Michałowski

MA in Arts - culture studies (University of Wroclaw), MSci in Cultural diplomacy (Jagiellonian University in Krakow), MSci in cultural management, project coordination, fundraising and entrepreneurship (Lower Silesian University of Public Administration), graduated from musicology (University of Wrocław) and the Wrocław School of Jazz. Professional jazz musician and producer. Published several own recordings, including with own ethno-jazz quartet Ansambl Peregrinus. He has composed music for many theatrical performances, music for short films and documentaries. He has completed a course in creativity and musical innovation at (Stanford University in California). Qualified moderator (Polish-American Freedom Foundation) and consultant of the Polish National Cultural Center. Expert on territorial development and networking. Researcher in the field of culture, international cooperation. Experienced field worker in urban and rural communities with 22+ years of experience in the NGO sector, 13+ years of experience in public culture institutions, 8+ years running freelance self-made company “MICRO ART CENTER”. Consultant for national and EU cultural policies. Coordinator in the Cultural Division, City of Wrocław (ECoC 2016). Vice President and Board Member of the European Network of Cultural Centres ENCC in Brussels. Coordinator of the ENCC International Working Group on Territorial Development, gathering experts, animators and policy makers. 

Michael Kalopaidis

Michael is the founder of Zedem Media, Cyprus’ largest and longest running animation studio. He holds a BA degree in Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and an MA in Media & Cultural Studies from Middlesex University, London. For the last 12 years, he has been producing commissioned films for businesses and notable not-profits from all around the world. He is the show creator of the TV Series 'The Makers’ which was presented at Cartoon Forum in 2020 and which is currently in development with the US based distribution company Bejuba! Entertainment. His short film ’The Parrot lady’ (2020) has been selected and awarded in significant festivals across the world while his latest film ‘Mesut’ which is currently in pre-production, was an official selection at the pitching forum of MIFA Annecy. Michael is a member of the Cyprus Directors Guild, a founding member of the Cyprus Animation Association and the President of the Larnaka Famagusta Cinema Society.

Harry Ravelomanatsoa

Currently Technical Software Sales Specialist at Toon Boom Animation, supporting international sales and R&D teams. Experienced entrepreneur with an extensive history of working in the animation, entertainment and Additive Manufacturing industries. With over 15 years experience working in the Animation Industry in sales, consulting, training, market development and more, it was a natural move for Harry to once again take on the challenge of working on the ground with Toon Boom Animation. His role is to connect the dots, motivate markets, develop new business opportunities, work with champions, governmental institutions, studios and educators. Market development in Africa, the Middle East, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to motivate the animation industry in these territories. Consulting to studios and educational institutions. Certified instructor for Toon Boom's industrial products.

He has worked as video editorial, project management, and production director for several projects, as well as Production Director for On-air Promo for KTV South Africa. He has great experience at Scripting, editing, audio recording and post production direction.

Education: Boston Media House Graphic, Boston Media House, DiplomaMedia (1993 - 2000).

Activities and Societies: Specialties in TV and Radio Broadcasting, Journalism, PR, Desktop Publishing, Animation.

Lycée Français d'Antananarivo Graphic, Lycée Français d'Antananarivo (1990 - 1997).

G Beaudin

len Beaudin was born on February 15, 1969 in San Diego, California, USA. As an actor he is known for his work on Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad (1994), Pocahontas (1995) and That '70s Show (1998). With a career spanning three decades in the arts/entertainment and hospitality industries, G’s present focus is developing mutually beneficial project-brand partnerships in the entertainment, media and drinks industries. G. formed Craft Initiative Agency to empower the smaller brands and humanize the larger ones. The Craft Initiative Agency is rebranding and redefining inclusivity with every product, festival and event we represent and connect. CIA is a branding and distribution/facilitator agency, specialised in connecting the off-market communities to brands through supporting their events, parties, concerts and festivals. The CIA does not merely support brands in market share but gives them the opportunity to have a social and community impact on a local level through social actions, events, festivals and concerts.

Education: Governor's School for the Arts (1984 - 1987)/ Old Dominion University Associate's degreeTheatre (1984 - 1987)

Debra Wootton

Experienced Owner with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Strong entrepreneurial professional skilled in Animation, Film Production, Art Direction training, Online strategies and Event Management. Based at Pinewood Studios, Webra Group offers a wide range of services designed to help turn a single drop of inspiration into an exciting collaborative project. Webra Group uses its knowledge and experience in the Film and TV industry to work with those looking to expand their brand or intellectual property into media channels such as television, cinema or digital platforms. Webra can produce, animate and facilitate projects from concept to completion and also develop strategies for promotion of associated marketing activities such as the development of merchandising, web-based games and apps. Education: University of West London: Digital Animation SpecialistAnimation, Interactive Technology, Video Graphics and Special Effects

2004 - 2009

Ashkan Rahgozar

Βorn 12 April 1986 in Tehran, Ashkan Rahgozar, is an author, director and filmmaker of Animation. He is founder and chief executive of Hoorakhsh Studios. He earned his BA degree in graphic design and MA degree in illustration. Since 1999 he has started his professional career in Saba Animation Center and in 2004 he established his own animation production studio, Hoorakhsh 7th Sky. Along with a highly motivated team of young artists, they produced multiple 2D computer animation both for promotion and commercial purpose. Since then he has concentrated on writing and directing short and feature animation.

Education: School of Broadcasting - Islamic Republic of Iran/ BA degree in Graphic Design from Enghelāb-e Eslāmi Technical College/ MA degree in Illustration from Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch.

Alexia Melocchi

Alexia Melocchi had a successful career in the international marketplace, as both a sales agent and buyer's representative for international distributors, giving her diverse exposure to all types of films and functions in the entertainment industry. As consultant she works on packaging films, securing co- productions and arranging for Distribution of several projects of her clients using her expertise and a global film marketing approach. Born in Italy but raised in the United States, Alexia Melocchi has always had a passion for young Talent and has focused all her efforts to promote local and international writers, directors, producers as well as quality films in the world. Alexia Melocchi is fluent in five languages and in her boutique roaster Italian film makers Marco Della Fonte and Andrea Lodovichetti, International best- seller author Valerio Manfredi (The Last Legion), WGA writer Anton Diether (Moby Dick miniseries) and Extreme Makeover producer Jay Hix Jones. In 2012 she produced the film “Stealing Roses”, starring: John Heard, Bruce Davison, Cindy Williams and Josie Davis, sold internationally by WFE. In 2013 she was co- producer on the short film "Seguimi'' (Follow Me) which was an official entry at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival and the Napa Valley Film Festival. Her 2014 feature film "Ice Scream" is in post production which she developed and produced, starring Spencer Treat Clark, Laura Harring and Wade Williams, as well as the documentary "Return to Happiness" about a turning point in the life of a professional Canadian Hockey player and reformed marijuana smuggler. Through Little Studio Films, she is attached in a producer role to several projects including "Woody, Cisco and Me" a biopic on legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie to be directed by Mimi Leder ("The Peacemaker"), the action thriller "Bustin Palermo" with producer Marty Katz, the sci -fi thriller "Invasion" to be directed by Mick Garris, and"Dear Mister Obama" to be directed by Andrea Lodovichetti with Antonio Banderas as well as the European mini series "Gang of Dreams'' based on the best seller book by Luca Di Fulvio, in partnership with producer Jan Fantl. Alexia is also an Advisory Board Member of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival and frequently invited on Industry panels to speak about the global marketplace, most recently at SEE FEST 2013 and the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival 2014, and has been retained on numerous occasions as an expert consultant on the Entertainment Industry for Gehrson Lehrman Group in New York. Through Little Studio Films she is a Sponsor to The Hungry Fish Media Ministry, a Christian Media boot camp where its young students get the opportunity to learn practical knowledge about film making and to create visual stories to share their message of faith.

BAF 2021

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In 2020 TAF-Thessaloniki Animation Festival introduced its very own Balkan Animation Pitching Forum - BAF, and we are back for a second year!

BAF is an event dedicated to exchanging ideas, as well as creating new collaborations. Eager to share our passion and encourage new initiatives, we invite artists from the Balkan region to present their work and meet with experts from the field of animation.
BAF’s goal is to create artistic bonds between the countries of the Balkan Peninsula, adding to a long tradition of cultural exchanges. Thus a platform and a common ground could be built for networking, for co-production and co-funding of animated movies and series, as well as VR and AR projects.

To their advantage, the artists selected will have the chance to attend a training session on pitch development. What’s more, the top 3 winning pitches will enjoy grand prizes (??)

BAF will be held during TAF from the 14th to the 24h of October 2021. Defying all boundaries, the Forum will be conducted online, via Zoom, giving everyone the chance to attend and participate.

Each one of the selected finalists will have up to 10 minutes to pitch their project in English, to an international jury consisting of animation professionals. Through the Pitching Forum process, the committee will select the 3 winning projects considering both quality and performance.
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