2013 Year in Review (*Style 5 HIGH 5!)

Hey everyone, Sam here.

Hope you had a great holiday and are warm and safe.

It’s about that time again where we reminisce about the past year and dream about our goals for the next. 2013 was a challenging year for us at Style5.tv, and also for me personally. Between renovating/moving into our new home, moving into our new studio space at Smiley Guy Studios, fatherhood and daycare worries, (and the various illnesses that come with daycare) there was no shortage of surprises and challenges.  This was truly my toughest year professionally and emotionally.  I have this little quote written down nearby as a constant reminder. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”   In other words, these are the times we level up.

Enough about adversities, here are the little victories or top 5 high moments for 2013.

We call it the Style 5, High 5!   o/\o  (*High five)



We partnered with a studio that I’ve admired for some time. Smiley Guy Studios. They are a mid-sized studio and have made their mark on Canadian television, creating their own shows and largely operating outside of the typical Canadian animation broadcasters.  Imagine that.  This year, Style5.tv moved in, (see “squatted”) to create and collaborate with with amazing and talented Smiley Guy crew. It has been a blast and I couldn’t be more grateful.  Thanks to SG Director of Development, Mike Valiquette, our first collaboration was the web-series revamp of Captain Canuck.

Here’s to many more collaborations!




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In the fall, we were invited to screen an episode of our animated, documentary web-series CRIME, at the Toronto REEL Asian Film Festival.  I’ve been to several RAFF screenings before and they’ve always been humbling and inspirational.  Seeing other Asian filmmakers telling their stories and following their passion was a definite kick in the butt for me.  (And the feeling of camaraderie at this fest is unlike any other.)  The Samson Styles: Fourth of July  Episode screened only once before the Korean crime thriller Confession of Murder by director Jeong Byeong-gil.    Btw Confessions was an excellent freakin movie.  Go watch it NOW!  SERIOUSLY!  GO!

Special thanks to the RAFF team Aram Collier, Sonia Sakamoto-Jog, Heather Keung, Chris Chin, Myung-Sun Kim.


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I know it hasn’t happened yet, but the announcement was enough to make the list.  We are thrilled and excited to be participating in one of the largest independent film festivals in the US.

To everyone that asked, yes, we’ll say Hi to Robert Redford for you.  And yes, we’ll ask him about that 20 dollars he apparently owes you. 🙂



    • 1/18/2014 9:30 pm   Redstone Cinema 1, Park City
    • 1/21/2014 9:00 am   Temple Theatre, Park City
    • 1/22/2014 5:30 pm   Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
    • 1/23/2014 4:00 pm   Holiday Village Cinema 4, Park City
    • 1/25/2014 6:45 pm   Broadway Centre Cinema 3, Salt Lake City


TIFF-logo-598Our film CRIME: Joe Loya- The Beirut Bandit was a mere 2:30 minutes long, so we were surprised thrilled it was accepted at the prestigious festival.  In September 2013, our film played in the Short Cuts Canada program and turned out to be the shortest film at TIFF that year.  (with the longest title lol)

We had a full house at each screening and were honored to share the stage with some pretty incredible Canadian filmmakers.

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Left to right: Neil Rathbone, Fraser Munden, Alexander Carson, Magali Simard, Trevor Cornish, Monia Chokri, Bruce Alcock, Claire Blanchet, Alix Lambert, Sam Chou.

One of the highlights of the fest was the film “Asphalt Watches” by Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehmen.  This film is one of the wackiest and most surreal thing I’ve seen and I had a great time watching it.  It’s also completely hand-animated in Flash.  It took Seth and Shayne 8 years to complete and won “Best First Canadian Feature Film” at TIFF!  That alone is motivation for me.   BTW.  When the last time an animated feature film came out ENTIRELY out of Canada? (was it Rock and Rule? Anyone?)


From watching films, to attending industry panels, to connecting with fellow filmmakers and of course, shmoozing (or trying to) at the parties, the 10-day festival went by surprisingly quick.  If anyone hasn’t had the pleasure in attending the festival, I encourage you to do it.  It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life and I hope to do it again soon.



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The creation of CRIME: The Animated Series was a the most significant and artistically fulfilling project to come out of our studio.  We told the stories we wanted to tell and did it effectively with a small budget.  But that’s not the only reason why it’s #1 on our list.
It’s #1 because we had the opportunity to collaborate with some incredible artists, musicians, talents, storytellers, technicians and curators.
First of all, this all started with Alix Lambert.  If she hadn’t believed in us, CRIME: TAS would have never got off the ground.  We are so grateful that we had the opportunity to work with such a prolific artist, filmmaker, and author. Can you believe Alix and I developed this for 2 years, then produced the series without meeting face-to-face?  That’s the power of internet, people! (I finally met Alix when we screened the finished series MOCA)


Yes, it was Alix’s Birthday

Special thanks to MOCAtv, Emma Reeves, John Toba, Bret Nicely, you believed in us and allowed us to run wild with this series. We cannot thank you enough.

Thanks to the amazing storytellers, Joe Bascetta, Joe Loya, Anon, Nelson George, Samson Styles, and Marcus Mcghee for allowing us to share your stories.

Ta2 Sound + Music for their masterful score and mix. Crush Inc for their emotional and technical support.

Last and definitely not least, the incredible artists/animators that put their sweat and soul into
their work. We could not have done this without you Freddy Carrasco, Michele Assarasakorn, Adam Temple, Kristoffer W. Mikkelsen, Firas Momani, Nathan Dewey, and Nick Fairhead.

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Alix and I are working hard on continuing the series and we hope to give you more dark, heartbreaking and yes – sometimes funny stories of crime.

Small shout out to current projects Captain Canuck (Web-series),  Johnny Physical Lives!! (short film) with Joshua Neuman , and CityKids with Ellery Vandoyeweert (Animated Series)!

ONWARD TO 2014!!!  Let’s keep it growing!!







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