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OIAF’s Pitch THIS! Goes Online in More Accessible Virtual Version

OIAF 2020
OIAF 2020

Festivals and Events

North America

OIAF’s Pitch THIS! Goes Online in More Accessible Virtual Version

The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) and Mercury Filmworks invite Canadian creators to join Pitch THIS!, a competition that aims to kickstart a new animated series concept.

The deadline for submissions is August 20 at 5 p.m. EDT.

Pitch THIS! is a highlight of The Animation Conference (TAC), the OIAF’s industry-focussed forum, which will run September 23 to October 4. The event has been part of the OIAF lineup for over 15 years and has helped launch many projects including last year’s winner Melrose Middle School. Creators Ali Kellner & David Elmaleh spoke about the impact of the win:

“Winning Pitch THIS! sparked key creative dialogues with the nation’s leading production companies and broadcasters, and was instrumental in kick starting negotiations for a development deal.”

Character designs for 2019 Pitch THIS! winner Melrose Middle School (

Character designs for 2019 Pitch THIS! winner Melrose Middle School (

As the OIAF moves online, all its programs including Pitch THIS! will have wider reach. Not only will professional development opportunities be more accessible than ever before, but a program like Pitch THIS! can open up doors for new voices.

“While the mentorship part of Pitch THIS! has mostly been virtual in the past, this year the whole event will be online,” says Azarin Sohrabkhani, OIAF’s Industry Director, “Without the barriers of physically attending the Festival to participate in the popular event, we hope to see even more diverse projects and stories and highly encourage underrepresented creators to submit to the program. This opportunity will give creators the attentive ear of potential partners, collaborators and financiers.”

Ten semi-finalists are partnered with an experienced mentor from the industry, who will not only offer invaluable feedback on their idea but will also help them prepare for their 10-minute pitch in front of the judging committee

The two presentations making the biggest impact will face-off in the Finale, going head-to-head in front of a panel of platform executives and the entire TAC audience. Finalists will compete to win the prize package from Pitch THIS! partners, which includes a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Mercury Filmworks and two TAC Animapasses to OIAF 2021.

“At Mercury Filmworks we continually seek to refine our development process and create opportunities for our artists to grow creatively. Now, more than ever we understand the importance of community and our partnership alongside the OIAF seemed like the perfect expression of our support for the animation community,” said Heath Kenny, Chief Content Officer at Mercury Filmwork. “The Pitch THIS! event is a great way for us to share some of what we have learnt as a group and engage with the creators of tomorrow. We believe that together we can make a safe place to be creative and a creative place to do business.”

Mercury Filmworks will complement the Pitch THIS! program with a series of talks on developing content from an indie Canadian studio perspective, as well as chats with creators about their development journeys.

Pitch THIS! 2020 is open to Canadian projects only, but are now open to all demographics from preschool to adult series. Inclusive projects and underrepresented creators are encouraged to apply, in particular women and BIPOC members of the animation community. Proposals should include: a project synopsis, including logline and character descriptions, at least one episode synopsis, series concept art, and the bios of key creators.

More information available here. Proposals should be sent to


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