Festival director and Co-founder
Vicky Chen is the co-founder and festival director of Cartoons Underground, she is what Singaporeans would call a chili padi – a tiny, fiery pepper that packs a real punch. At just over five feet tall Vicky has lived and worked in 4 countries across Europe and Asia, crossed the arctic circle at 23, started an AI business, and contiues to champion an award-winning female empowerment non-profit organisation, SheSays Singapore. In her day job, Vicky works in adtech acrosss several APAC markets. As a big fan of animation and cartoons, Vicky saw the gap in the industry that had an unbalanced focus toward animated films outside of Asia. At 21 years old, she partnered with Patrick Smith and founded Cartoons Underground, to bring short animated films from all around the world to Asia, and to showcase young emerging talents from SEA to the rest of the world!
Patrick Smith is known for his metaphorical hand drawn short films, as well as his experimental stop motion films. His formative years were spent as a storyboard artist for Walt Disney, and animation director for MTV. Smith is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the New York Foundation of the Arts.
Tan Wei Keong
Tan Wei Keong has been curating at Cartoons Underground as Program Director since 2014. He was awarded the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council of Singapore in 2019.
His animations explore his identity through personal storytelling and fantasy worlds. His most recent film 'Kingdom' has competed at the Berlin International Film Festival 2019. His previous film ‘Between Us Two’ received the Best Singapore Short Film award at Singapore International Film Festival 2017 and Grand Jury Prize Documentary Short at Outfest Los Angeles 2018. His films have been selected at many film festivals, including those at Annecy, Zagreb, Taipei and Toronto.
Esther is a project manager, video producer, and a 'let's get sh*t done' kind of person. Born in Canada, raised in HK, she worked in production in Sydney, London and then Singapore, founding and managing production companies, Citron Violet + Vitamin Change. She has a love for storytelling and collaborating with talented teams to bring a common creative vision to life. With a soft spot for animation production, she joined the Cartoons Underground team in 2019 to manage the social channels and provide project management support for the production of the festival.
Jia Lee is a triple threat – a designer, illustrator, and animator who dabbles in the whimsical. Cheerful and imaginative, her work strikes a quirky balance between digital and analogue methods. She’s worked with various commercial and independent clients, including Apple, National Gallery Singapore, Ethos Books, Nutella. In 2020, she created the key art and branding for the 2020 Singapore International Film Festival, and the key illustration and branding for Busan-nominated feature film Tiong Bahru Social Club. Since 2016, Jia has been leading the design strategy for Cartoons Underground, including rebranding it with its current brand identity. She is a founding partner of the Cannes-nominated independent animation studio, Finding Pictures.
Education Partnership Lead
Jerrold Chong is an animation filmmaker/director whose films have screened at numerous international film festivals, including Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Busan International Film Festival, Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF). His recent animated short film, Piece of Meat, premiered at the 2019 Cannes Director’s Fortnight and was selected at the 2019 Annecy International Animation Festival, on top of various other international film festivals. His films “Automatonomy” and “What Has To Be” have also won the Best Animation Award at the National Youth Film Awards Open Category consecutively for the last 2 years. He is the co-founder of local animation studio Finding Pictures.
Jaymi McManus is the founder and director of Mischief Makers, proud production partner to Cartoons Underground since 2016. Orginally from the UK, Jaymi has lived and worked in Singapore for over 16 years and started Mischief Makers in 2015 as an experiential design and production lab. A passionate live visual artist and all-round tinkerer, Jaymi has creatively directed and produced projects with multiple instituional, corporate and not-for-profit organisations and is a long time advocate of the local Singapore night-life and entertainment scene. Noteworthy projects achieved by Jaymi and his collaborators include SOLIS at Singapore Night Festival, Strawberry Space with Fat Fish Famillia, ZoukOut and Cartoons Underground.
Brand Engagement Lead
Athira graduated with a Bachelor of Honors in Animation from LASALLE College of the Arts in 2019, specializing in 3D Animation. With experiences such as directing her final year student film (which made it to Lift-Off Sessions as a finalist), and hosting local artsy events, Athira has expressed her knack for design and love for volunteering! Apart from CU, she volunteers for SheSays, an award-winning organization for women in the digital, creative, marketing & communications industry.
Her love for the Arts and events led her to organize her own event “Beyond Animation” for students/fresh graduates in the Digital Arts field to understand the Singaporean Art Community more and to uncover the options and career paths upon graduation. She hopes to organize more of these events and spread her knowledge and love for Animation and the Arts!
Sarah joined the Cartoons Underground team in 2018, after being introduced to festival founder Vicky by a mutual friend. A lover of all things creative and independent, it was a natural fit from day one. With a penchant for for connecting the dots and big ideas, she oversees the communication strategy and community engagement for Cartoons Underground. Originally hailing from Pakistan, she has called Singapore home since 2010 and owns The Moon, an independent bookstore and cafe based in Chinatown.
Enrique Caballero is a CG Artist with over 24 years of experience in the CG industry, he has worked as a Character Technical Director on Happy Feet and Legend of the Guardians, and as a Character Modeler on Where the Wild Things Are. Currently he is Head of CG at One Animation working on the Emmy Nominated Oddbods.