The program, open exclusively to Canadian creators, pairs 10 semi-finalists with industry mentors for a chance to pitch animated series concepts – submissions begin May 1; The Ottawa International Animation Festival runs September 20-24.
Pitch THIS!, presented by The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) in partnership with Ottawa-based animation studio Mercury Filmworks, provides a unique opportunity for new voices to refine their craft and connect with a large audience of their peers, studio executives, and potential financiers. Applications are now being accepted for Canadian creators to submit their original animated series concepts.
Part of OIAF’s The Animation Conference (TAC) - Pitch THIS! has helped launch careers and put animated series in the spotlight. Past participants include Mansa Chintoh and Malachi Ellis (Project Blackout), Nico Smania (Port Harbour), and Mike Geiger (Winston Steinberger and Sir Dudley Ding Dong).
The opportunity is open exclusively to Canadian projects spanning all target demographics, from preschool to adult series. Creators from underserved and marginalized communities are strongly encouraged to apply, particularly BIPOC, people living with disabilities, women, gender non-conforming, and 2SLGBTQIA+ members of the animation community.
Here's how it works:
Following the application process, the selection committee chooses 10 semi-finalists and pairs them with established industry mentors. Mentors then assist creators with fine-tuning their 10-minute-long pitches in preparation for the semi-finals before the judging committee and TAC audience. Finally, from the 10 projects, judges select two pitches to go head-to-head against one another in the finals on the TAC mainstage.
This year’s Pitch THIS! winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Mercury Filmworks, an annual Harmony license and online training from Toon Boom, and two TAC AnimaPasses to OIAF 2024.
Applications open today, May 1, and applicants can submit their proposals through Pitch THIS! application form. Only two submissions per creator will be accepted. The full breakdown of requirements is available on the OIAF website.
Pitch THIS! semi-finals and finals will take place during TAC (The Animation Conference), running from September 20 to 22, 2023.
“At Mercury Filmworks, we are driven by a passion for storytelling and, more specifically, stories told through the medium of animation,” shared Heath Kenny, Chief Content Officer at Mercury Filmworks. “Our passion and commitment to telling stories with integrity and bold creative points of view have taken us far beyond even what we thought was possible. It is this desire that brings us back for the third consecutive year in partnership with the OIAF to be part of the Pitch THIS! event for 2023.”
Sarah Lamoureux, the OIAF’s Development Manager, added, “We are so excited to be partnering with Mercury Filmworks again to present this year’s edition of Pitch THIS! at TAC! Each year it’s amazing to see how the projects have developed throughout the mentorship process, and, especially returning to in-person editions, the outpouring of support from the conference audience is incredible. It’s a privilege to be able to offer this unique opportunity to a new cohort of Canadian creators, and we can’t wait to see the next slate of animated projects presented on the festival’s international stage!”