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OIAF 2022 Pitch THIS!’ Submissions Now Open

The festival and Mercury Filmworks announce the annual competition’s in-person return as part of TAC, offering Canadian creators a unique opportunity to refine their craft and reach an audience of peers, studio executives, and potential buyers; entry deadline is June 30.

Canadian creators are invited to submit their original animated series concept to Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) and Ottawa-based animation studio Mercury Filmworks’ “Pitch THIS!” Returning this September as an in-person event as part of the OIAF’s The Animation Conference (TAC), the program provides an opportunity for new voices to refine their craft and reach an audience of peers, studio executives and potential buyers. Submissions are open now through June 30.

The Ottawa International Animation Festival runs September 21 – 25 and TAC: The Animation Conference runs September 21 – 23.

“We couldn’t be more excited to continue our partnership with the OIAF and be part of the Pitch THIS! Event,” noted Mercury Filmworks chief content officer Heath Kenny. “Over the last few years, we have seen the quality of projects and the passion for storytelling go from strength to strength. We are excited to again pair up an amazing group of industry mentors with Canada’s future storytellers. Our belief is that together as a community we can reach higher and go further to create opportunities for Canadian storytellers to be seen on the global stage.”

Pitch THIS! narrows down submission entries to 10 semi-finalists who are paired with established industry mentors, who assist creators with fine-tuning their 10-minute-long pitch in preparation for the semi-finals before the judging committee. The judges will then select two pitches to go head-to-head against one another in the finals before a live audience of TAC attendees, studio executives, and potential project financiers.

“We are thrilled to be joining forces again with Mercury Filmworks as we return to an in-person edition of Pitch THIS!,” added OIAF director of Industry Programming Stephanie Berrington. “During TAC 2021, the importance of mentorship frequently came up during our panel discussions and presentations; it’s the mentorship component of Pitch THIS!, connecting emerging creators with peers and industry executives for invaluable learning and sharing opportunities, that we are particularly proud of and excited to facilitate again through this year’s process. Our team can’t wait to meet this year’s cohort of creators!”

The Pitch THIS! winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Mercury Filmworks, an annual Harmony license and online training from Toon Boom, legal services valued at $1000 from Edwards Creative Law, and two TAC Animapasses to OIAF 2023. Edwards Creative Law will also provide a free 1-hour consultation for this year’s runner-up. Past participants include Nico Smania (Port Harbour), Mike Geiger (Winston Steinberger and Sir Dudley Ding Dong), and Terry Ibele (The Silly Duck Wizard).

"Pitch THIS! honestly helped with the development of Port Harbour a LOT,” shard Pitch THIS! 2021 winner Nico Smania. “Working with my mentor (Casey Gonzalez) and writing the script for my pitch really forced me to look at both the macro and micro of the project. I had to take all these big, vague, work-in-progress ideas and package them into something specific and digestible, which ultimately served the project itself - as well as my familiarity and understanding of it - in ways I didn’t anticipate. It’s currently in development, and I’m super excited to be able to refine it even more!"

This opportunity is open exclusively to Canadian projects spanning all target demographics, from preschool to adult series. Inclusive projects and underrepresented creators are strongly encouraged to apply, particularly women, BIPOC, and 2SLGBTQIA+ members of the animation community. Proposals should include:

  • Project format and target demographic
  • Project synopsis, including logline and character descriptions
  • At least one episode synopsis
  • Biographies of key creators
  • Concept art is recommended but not required

Interested applicants should submit their proposals to Proposals should be in English and submitted as a web link or PDF. A maximum of two submissions per creator will be accepted. Submission deadline is June 30.

Pitch THIS! semi-finals and finals will respectively take place on September 21-22 during TAC. TAC runs from September 21-23 during the OIAF at local venues throughout the Ottawa downtown core. Additional information about Pitch THIS! and TAC can be found on the OIAF website.

Source: Ottawa International Animation Festival

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.