Thursday, November 10, 2022

Nickelodeon's Jessica Borutski, Andy Suriano, and Ant Ward to Take Part In TAAFI's 2022 Toronto Animation Industry Conference

The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI), a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating the animation arts and its local and international community, has announced that Nickelodeon Animation's Jessica Borutski, Andy Suriano, and Ant Ward, and voice actor Eric Bauza will be taking part in a couple of sessions at the annual 2022 Toronto Animation Industry Conference! For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit the TAAFI website at

Opening Keynote with Jessica Borutski
Sat, Nov 12th
9:15AM - 10:15AM
Reference Library: Epic Hall

Grab a cup of coffee and get warmed up for a great day of talks with Canada's own Jessica Borutski! Along with moderator Joel MacKenzie, we're kicking off the day's programming with a look back on some of Jess's career highlights, like creating a fresh look for the Looney Tunes characters, her current role at Nickelodeon as supervising director the hit show The Loud House, and her thoughts about where her career may take her in the future, as she balances work and life while developing her own projects.

Suggested dress code: denim.

Jessica Borutski, Supervising Director, Nickelodeon

Working in the industry since 2003, Jessica had her start in animation at Spumco working on The New Ren and Stimpy. From there she ventured to the East Coast and worked with Collideascope and Copernicus on various projects, from music videos to television series. Soon after she created her own short film entitled I Like Pandas. This earned Jessica the "Frederator Flash Film of the Year Award". Fuel Industries, an adver-gaming agency, hired Jess in 2005. She art directed many projects there and worked with clients such as Kraft Foods, Johnson&Johnson, and McDonald's, creating beautiful immersive online gaming. The popularity of her short film earned her notice from WB. She was approached by them to re-design the Looney Tunes, and from there went on to direct the Merrie Melodies part of the show. She also re-imagined Bugs and the gang again for the Wabbit series, which evolved into The New Looney Tunes Show. Jessica went on to work on many of the WB legacy properties. One DC Nation Short, featuring Shazam, entitled WISDOM that she produced was nominated for an Emmy. She also produced the series Bunnicula for Cartoon Network International. Today Nickelodeon is her new home and she is currently the Supervising Director on Loud House.

Joel MacKenzie, Artistic Mercenary

Joel MacKenzie is an award-winning independent animation creator, director, and character designer from tropical Nova Scotia, Canada. He hopes to own a dog someday and eventually play every video game in the world.

We Made Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie
Sat, Nov 12th
5:30PM - 6:45PM
Reference Library: Epic Hall & ONLINE!

We have the crew coming all the way from Nickelodeon to give you the scoop first hand on how they transitioned to the big screen for their first NETFLIX feature!

Attending IN-PERSON is Director Andy Suriano and Executive Co-Producer Ant Ward!!

Get your questions ready, and pens ready for autographs. This ninja trained team of superstars will rock our world!

Note: This TMNT Session will be STREAMED LIVE for our International Friends! It's included in the ONLINE PASS as well.

Andy Suriano, Director, Nickelodeon Animation

Andy Suriano is a 20+ year veteran of animation and comics, having worked on such series as Samurai Jack, Disney's Mickey Mouse shorts and most recently was an Executive Producer of the RISE of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Nickelodeon. Currently Andy co-directing the RISE movie for Netflix.

Ant Ward, Executive Producer, Nickelodeon Animation

Ant Ward is an award-winning animator, writer, and producer. He has worn many hats working on several shows, including Camp Lazlo, Penguins of Madagascar, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He recently served as an Executive Producer for Nickelodeon’s Rise of the TMNT and Co-Directed the Rise movie for Netflix.

Eric Bauza, Voice Actor, Hollywood

Eric Adrian Bauza is a Canadian-American voice actor from Scarborough, Toronto who is known for being one of Mel Blanc's successors for Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. He also voiced Stimpy Cat in Ren & Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon, White Pantera in El Tigre, Foop from The Fairly OddParents, Fozzie Bear from Muppet Babies and the Beagle Boys from DuckTales.

But most importantly he voiced Splinter in RISE of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV Series

All times ET

From the TAAFI newsroom:

Andy Suriano: The man, the myth, the Hair

So one minute you’re concocting space bachelor vom-a-thon comics to escape from under the thumb of the universe's most monopalistic mouse, and the next minute you’re getting rug-pulled while sculpting an extended toy commercial into an artful and hilarious cult-classic.

There’s no denying Art Ward and Andy Suriano brought a renewed energy and style into this middle-aged franchise, with a frenetic style, vivid characters, and character depth that feels astoundingly 3-Dimensional. We felt blessed to connect online in 2020 to hear them talk about the series production,

And now Andy Suriano, along with Ant Ward, are making it out to TAAFI in real life to talk turtle, and share the experience of further elevating this troupe of scrappy sewer terrapins into a feature-worthy foursome.

But will we learn the big secret behind this illustrious artist that fans are fighting to find out?  Let’s hope so, because in spite of hours of internet research, I still don’t know how he gets his hair to look like that.

Is it genetics? Is it products? Do you take supplements? Who is your hairstylist, and do they have a waitlist? The fans want to know, Andy.

But will Toronto find out... 🐢

Don't miss their LIVE closing talk @ TAAFI 2022!

TAAFI is a local reunion for global animation.

Our Animation Industry Conference starts Thursday November 10th and runs till Saturday November 12th with both IN-PERSON as well as ONLINE talks, panels and presentations. Thursday night and Friday are online, but Friday night turns to IN-PERSON at a VIP mixer event sponsored by Nelvana. Then all day Saturday is IN-PERSON downtown at the Toronto Reference Library for exclusive in-person only talks followed by a party at the Artful Dodger. 👀 ya there.


Stream a Mountain of Entertainment, including your Nickelodeon favourites on Paramount+! Try it FREE at!

Originally published: November 10, 2022.

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