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!




Basic CMYK

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.


SamS_1 copy




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.

IMG_0442 copy

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.



title_final__000080 copy

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.

Crime_T4 copy copy

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!!








190248-229530First TIFF, and now Sundance Film Festival! 

WOW!  We are honored and blown away by the love and support for this modest, little web-series.  Alix and I speechless.  After completing the 6 episode mini-series, we made a promise that we could never do anything like this under the same budgetary and schedule constraints.   We were simply exhausted, physically and financially.

But now we can proudly say it was worth it!

Thank you Sundance Film Festival, and a thank you to these amazing artists that helped shape the look and spirit of CRIME: The Animated Series.

Freddy Carrasco, Michelle Assarasakorn, Adam Temple, Nathan Dewey, Nick Fairhead, Firas Momani, Kristoffer W. Mikkelsen





Partners in CRIME

I did what they told me NEVER to do.


Yes, I chose a book by it’s cover. I brought the book home and got half way through before before running to the computer to emphatically email the author. The book was called “CRIME” and that’s how Alix and I started talking. We clicked. We were fans of each others work and we really wanted to work on something together. Over the course of two years, we emailed/chatted, and we developed the idea for the Animated Series. After hours, we’d cut some storyboards together and I’d show her. My team and I even started animating a few scenes, which later became the trailer for the series. We got the attention of MOCAtv, and luckily for us they decided to help us finance it as a part of their YouTube Channel. A Museum financing an animated web series? That was unheard of, but we certainly weren’t complaining. We are so grateful for MOCAtv, they supported us with a Series Launch at MOCA, Q & A Panel and a packed house.


I also had the pleasure of meeting the person I had been conversing with for the last two years. This photo was taken at the MOCA Event, the day I met Alix Lambert for the first time.




More on CRIME


Canuck, CRIME and TIFF 2013

First of all, we’ve moved.

We’ve moved from the from the bustling Liberty Village to the College/Bathurst area, a few steps between Kensington Market and Little Italy.
Our new location is

444 Bathurst Street.
M5T 2S6


Some of you might recognize that address. Yep, that’s the home of Smiley Guy Studios!  Style5.tv and Smiley Guy are now under the same roof, a team-up that we’ve been talking about for a while now.

First of our collaborations is the Captain Canuck web series.   Our beloved Canadian Superhero, Captain Canuck is back.  We’ve brought him out of the woodwork and revamped him for the newer generation.  Here are the first 2 episodes!  (3 more to come by the end of the year)

Also, the CRIME project that we had developed with prolific writer/filmmaker Alix Lambert, got a web-distribution deal and we’re so happy to tell you that can now been seen on the MOCAtv web-channel.
It’s a 6 part mini-series revolving around the subject of Crime.   These are all REAL stories told by the people themselves, all in an animated form.  We had such contrasting stories from criminals to law enforcement to victims of crime, we enlisted the the help of a variety of incredible artists to help bring these stories to life.


We are also excited to tell you that the JOE LOYA:Beirut Bandit episode is Premiering at the Toronto International Film festival!   It’s playing on september 11, and 12.  Check out the listing HERE!


Alix and I will be at the festival, if you are in attendance, come and say hello!


2012 Year in Review: Style 5′s HIGH FIVE

It’s tough being a small studio.  We don’t get contracts from Disney or Nelvana.  We don’t have tax credits to cushion us, nor have millionaire moguls to back us.  For the most part, we are a handful of passionate artists and storytellers and we battle everyday to continue doing what we love, which is telling compelling stories through animation.  2012 was a great year, filled with little battles and little victories.
Here is our top five moments or HIGHS of the year.
Call it, the….um….. Style 5 HIGH FIVE!  (*high five)

ON TO THE TOP 5!!  (in no particular order)



We were so very excited when we were approached with an opportunity to work with  Richard Comely’s iconic Canadian Super-Hero.  All I can say right now is that the project has been quietly in development by the newly formed Captain Canuck Incorporated and the Toronto animation house, Smiley Guy Studios. Stay Tuned!!


#4. RUSH

One of this years highlights was meeting RUSH and producing an animated segment for their 2012 Concert Tour.  If you missed the concert, be sure to get their 2012 Tour DVD and check out “Family Goy”.

Yes, we partnered with Aron Dunn from Treason Media to develop an original series about a rising MMA star and his best friend/manager.

This will knock you the F out.


#2. TAAFI (Toronto Animated Arts Festival International)

Toronto had its FIRST Animation Festival and we were happy to be a part of it.  We brought our favorite artists together and produced the bumper for the inaugural festival which was featured in The National Post and MetroNews!  Looking forward to TAAFI 2013!!

#1. Fly, Colt Fly

This is an action-packed documentary about the Barefoot Bandit.  It is half live-action, half animated.  We’ve been producing the animation for the 90-minute documentary since mid 2011.  Look out for the festival tour, it’s gonna be a wild one!


It has been a great year filled with exciting projects, milestones, small hiccups and small victories.  Thank you all for your kind words, love and support!  We will continue to give you kick-ass animation and to tell compelling stories.   We have lots in store for you in 2013!!




Production Blog # 2: Breaking and Entering

We are at the tail end of our Production, and we are still in constant awe at how brazen this kid was.   Btw, he never had flown before, let alone formal flight training.  You’d think after a crash landing his first flight and narrowly escaping death, you’d kinda lay low a bit, re-examine your priorities.  You know, maybe some soul searching.

Or maybe he did that……. and that’s what led him to steal another four more planes.

I admit that he was a criminal and he was quite reckless at times, but I’ve developed a bit of admiration for him.  He had a goal, and nothing was going to stop him from getting it.

On the Production side:

It’s funny, but we still get questions on how we do our animation,  and we still get shocked reactions when we tell them that it’s mostly drawn.  Yes, we still draw.  :)    This is a 2D production, with traditionally techniques.  We just do it on a Cintiq.

I love you Cintiq.



oh snap….Shit just got real




Captain Canuck

Just a little something to whet your appetite…


Hope to tell you more soon!

Production Blog # 1: A boy that likes to steal things…

Almost two years ago, we were approached with a very exciting project.  I can’t disclose the title yet, but I can tell you it’s a Live-action/Animated  Feature Documentary about um…a boy that likes to steal things. ( and by “things” I mean large flying locomotives.)  No, this is not fiction, this actually happened.

Anyhoo, we’ve been working pretty hard on this project and wanted to start documenting our progress and at the same time give you a sneak peak of what’s going on behind our doors.

Digitally painted Backgrounds


Some of our talented artists doing their thing.


Will show you more soon!