Departing TAAFI Co-founders & Board members
Barnabas Wornoff | Jan 11 2017

TAAFI was founded by six individuals who wanted to make an animation festival for you, the people of Toronto. Those six soldiers of cartoonery have fought year after year sacrificing one Wednesday night a month (plus every other night in between) to the animation gods of olde; to build a festival we could all celebrate in our home city. Since 2012, this group assembled monthly to plan, scheme and eat greasy pizza in Liberty village, developing the next big fest. The original founding board members included Ben McEvoy, Barnabas Wornoff, Mark Jones, Richard Duhaney Mike Weiss and Joann Purcell. Joann has since left, and the board has seen many brilliant members pass through it’s doors including Guillaume Lagorgue, Laura Clunie, Helen Lebeau and Angela Stukator, but today we say goodbye to a few of the founders of TAAFI, and I’d like to share with you some of the touches that these folks contributed. 

Mike Weiss, retires today, Mike’s discerning eye has programmed unique inspiring blocks of cartoons and feature films. Not only has Mike led his team in programming them, the block titles still hold the names he gave them! Here are the categories he developed, and from the moment I read them I loved them:


Shorts 1 – Straight Up Toons – Top notch animation and classic cartoons

Shorts 2 – The Reflecting Pool – Artistic masterpieces set to an introspective frequency

Shorts 3 - Hilariously Dark & Incredibly Strange - Chaotic, artistic enjoyment from a subconscious dimension.


Mike also pushed to bring in TAAFI’s first speaker ever, Don Hertzfeldt, our animated person of the year last year Marv Newland, and curated our most popular retrospectives like “Rosto: So Far, So Evil – A program compiling the best of Dutch artist and filmmaker Rosto’s work.” 

Mike has been growing busier and busier storyboarding and now directing at Brain Power Studios. Thanks for helping launch this fest and good luck buddy!

Mark Jones, gave up his board seat to Joe Raasch. Mark continues to help mentor the board on all it’s more tricky elements in the not-for-profit paperwork. Mark always helped run our AGM meetings, and was instrumental in steering the organizations future planning through the super valuable S.W.A.T. analysis sessions, creating a five year plan, which we follow today. Mark has always been the TAAFI father to us all, sharing wisdom in his soft soothing voice, turning our madness into direction. Thanks Mark!

CoFounders Mark 'Santa Clause' Jones and Mike Weiss at the TAAFI 2013 Holiday Party (Grayden Laing, Canadian Animation Blog)


We’d also like to thank two other retiring board members Angela Stukator and Helen Lebeau. 

Angela has worked hard over the years to bring big name speakers including the likes of Eric Goldberg, Mike Surrey, and Allison Rutland. Her connections to Sheridan Alumni and Disney greats has been instrumental to our programming team. This hard working powerhouse brought Sheridan closer into TAAFI and helped develop the lower student price. Angela continues to be a champion of the TAAFI Masterclass series. 

Helen, although super busy, was key to facilitating Corus Quay space events and was always a valued voice to have around the table aiding TAAFI to become the great festival it is today. 


In short, thanks cofounders, former board members and heaps of volunteers, sponsors, partners friends and family for helping create a world class festival, one great idea at a time. 


In 2017 we welcome newest board members to the fold: Robbie Anderson and Lance LeFort! Exciting changes await TAAFI in 2017 and these two exceptional humans are an exciting addition.♦