Guest Speakers

Guest Speakers

Stay tuned! We will be announcing more guest speakers over the next few weeks.

Laura Good

Title: Scripted Development Coordinator
Company: Omnifilm Entertainment

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Laura Good is the scripted development coordinator at Omnifilm Entertainment, where she is responsible for evaluating scripted series pitches, developing new series ideas and helping to foster projects in active development with broadcasters. Laura’s development knowledge is supported by a decade of television production and post-production experience. In her spare time, she has produced several award winning short films with Vancouver directors. Laura hails from Austin TX and holds a commercial pilot license.

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Leah Mallen’s film and television credits span over fifteen years.  Her films have garnered many accolades and have seen international distribution.  She has produced both dramatic and documentary film, including the recent documentary  film “Coast Modern” which was invited to screen at the Venice Architecture Biennale and enjoyed a successful theatrical run in Canada and the US. She was 1 of 6 International Producers accepted into Amsterdam’s Binger Creative Producers Lab and she recently also produced Mark Sawers’ “Camera Shy” which was awarded 6 Leo’s and is currently being distributed by Cinetic Media’s FilmBuff .  Leah currently sits on the board of Crazy8s in Vancouver and heads up television and film development at Reuion Pictures, a Thunderbird Company.

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Lynne Stopkewich

Title: Director, Rookie Blue

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Lynne Stopkewich is a Vancouver-based filmmaker best known for her edgy, award-winning features KISSED, SUSPICIOUS RIVER, and LILITH ON TOP. Her films have screened theatrically world-wide and competed at many festivals including Cannes Director’s Fortnight, Venice, Berlin, Sundance and TIFF. Lynne has produced features for Matthew Bissonnette (LOOKING FOR LEONARD), Scott Smith (FALLING ANGELS), and Cam Labine (CONTROL ALT DELETE) and also directs for television: The L Word (Showtime), The Firm (NBC) and Rookie Blue (ABC). She helmed the TV feature THE LIFE (CTV) and was twice nominated for DGC Best Director Awards. As a former film student (BFA ’87, MFA ’96), Lynne is an outspoken supporter of indie filmmakers and also teaches, juries, and mentors widely. She is on the UBC Film Production Alumni Advisory Panel and served on the Board of the Whistler Film Festival from 2005-2014.

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A veteran of the film industry for fifteen years, Marc Hofstatter leads the film and digital program for global crowd funding platform, Indiegogo. Originally from New York, he began his career at Bingham Ray’s indie film label, October Films and worked as an independent producer collaborating with such filmmakers as: Chris Weitz, Tom Ford, Peter Sollett, J. Michael Straczynski, and Sam Raimi. Hofstatter later transitioned to Los Angeles, moving to the William Morris Agency. Following his time at the historic agency he went on to serve as a production executive on both the Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox lots. During that time he helped oversee production on such projects as Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, A Single Man and The Golden Compass.

Twitter: @TheOriginalHoff

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Marc Schiller, Founder and CEO of BOND Strategy and Influence, is an accomplished advertising and marketing executive with decades of industry and entrepreneurial knowledge, in the areas of digital marketing, brand strategy, corporate consulting, cultural curation and public relations. BOND helps clients understand, tap into, and leverage the rapidly evolving technologies that consumers use to communicate in the digital era. To that end, Marc and BOND create innovative influencer strategy campaigns that deliver success for a diverse client base, from independent films and media companies to hospitality giants and Fortune 500 corporations. Recent agency clients include: American Express, General Electric, Starwood Hotels, The Economist, HBO, MTV, A&E Networks, BabyBjörn, Seamless, Tribeca Film Festival, Microsoft, Netflix, and a host of consumer product, hospitality, media and entertainment companies. Marc currently consults on marketing strategy for a variety of film projects that include Banksy’s Academy Award-nominated film Exit Through the Gift Shop and Asif Kapadia’s SENNA, Imposters, and Particle Fever. In 2013, Marc was honored by Indiewire as of their “2013 Indiewire Influencers” and sits on the board of directors of the IFP and Eyebeam.

Twitter: @MarcDSchiller

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Matt Di Paola

Title: Managing Director
Company: Digital Innovation, Sid Lee.

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With over 19 years of agency experience, Matt brings a culture-first leadership style to organizations with a focus on innovation, entrepreneurialism and digitally led thinking. Having worked across the spectrum of communications services, including PR & event marketing, traditional advertising, CRM, digital, UX and media, Matt applies that breadth of experience and advises clients holistically and objectively on their marketing problems. He has also worked across key verticals, including finance, consumer packaged goods, travel & tourism, technology, retail and automotive. These clients have allowed him the opportunity to work at the Global level, as well as service specific markets, including Canada, US, Hong Kong & Australia. His focus on the work has helped 3 different agencies win Agency of the Year as well as Cannes Lions, Best in Shows at the CMAs & FAB Awards, and LIAAs along with many other local awards. His entrepreneurialism has helped digital & media agencies evolve and introduce new Comms Planning models (across Paid, Owned & Earned), Business Intelligence & Analytics, Branded Entertainment, Mobile & Social Strategy specialties. Matt is an Executive Mentor with CFC's ideaBOOST start-up accelerator program, sits on the Advisory Board for Dx3, the Fundraising Committee for Toronto's Covenant House and was a Nominee for the 2012 Premier's Awards. He has been published in Strategy magazine and Media in Canada on Innovation. He has presented on Branded Entertainment at SXSW & Banff's nextMedia; MultiScreen Marketing with the AMA & Advertising Week; and the Future of Advertising & Media at Dx3, Schulich, Nielsen360, & Centennial College. In 2011, he was Executive Producer of the off broadway play, "Quake" in NYC and wrote, directed & produced "The Grind" in 2001's Toronto Fringe Festival.

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Maureen Levitt

Title: Creative Development, Western Canada
Company: Super Channel

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Michael Ghent

Title: Producer
Company: Two 4 The Money Media Inc.

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Michael Ghent has eighteen years of experience in the film/tv industry, including five years as a Production Executive for CanWest Global Broadcasting (now Shaw Media). During his career Michael has been part of over 500 hours of factual, scripted, general entertainment, true crime, current affairs, documentary and lifestyle content for a variety of Canadian and international networks. His roles include Producer, Story Producer, Writer and Development Consultant. He won a Gemini in 2007 for Best Documentary Series for Global Currents. He currently develops television movies and series for production companies in Vancouver.

Long active in the media community, Michael was the Creative Director of the Vancouver International Film Festival’s Film and TV Forum for the 2009 season, a Canadian Images programmer for the VIFF, Festival Director for Moving Pictures; Canadian Films on Tour and a publicist for the NFB/ONF. Michael has served on the board of directors for the Whistler Film Festival Society, represented Executives on the board of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and continues to advise the VIFF Industry Conference (formerly the Forum). He is a programming consultant for international films at the VIFF. He holds an MBA/DES from ESSEC University in France.

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Michele McMahon

Title: Development Manager, Independent Production
Company: Bell Media

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Michelle Ouellet

Title: Director/Producer, True Heroines

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Michelle Ouellet (Director/Producer) is an award-winning director and producer. Her feature debut Hooked on Speedman (starring Nicholas Carella, Christopher Jacot, the late Maury Chaykin and Paul Gross) was the recipient of the Maple Leaf Award for Best Canadian Film at The Prince Edward Island International Film Festival and was nominated for three Canadian Comedy Awards including best direction of a film. Hooked on Speedman has toured to a number of festivals and has played on CBC, City TV, FX Canada and Super Channel & is distributed by eOne.  For the web, Michelle directed all six episodes of the critically acclaimed web series The True Heroines, which has been garnering praise from notable publications such as USA Today, The Vancouver Province and The Huffington Post to name a few. For her work on The True Heroines Michelle has been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and won awards at The Leo Awards, Vancouver Web Fest and LA Web Fest. Most recently, Michelle has been travelling the festival circuit with her second feature film Afterparty including Whistler last December and to The Canadian Film Fest where she was awarded The William F. White Reel Indie Award. Last fall, Playback Magazine named Michelle to their prestigious 10-to-Watch list in their annual Hall of Fame Induction issue. Up Next: Michelle is directing and co-producing the web-series Paranormal Solutions Inc. which is funded by the Independent Production Fund. 

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Murray Battle

Title: Director of Original Content and Brand
Company: British Columbia’s Knowledge Network

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Murray Battle is the Director of Original Content and Brand at British Columbia’s Knowledge Network.

Recent documentary commissions include the award winning series, Emergency Room: Life and Death at Vancouver General Hospital, Oil Sands Karaoke, Just Eat It, Backward Class, Father Figures, Do You Really Want to Know? and Coast Modern.

 

In a previous life, he was a filmmaker for over 30 years.

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Nicholas Treeshin

Title: Development Producer
Company: Force Four Entertainment

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Nicholas Treeshin is a writer/director with over 75 episodes of television under his belt, directing for the likes of National Geographic, OLN, HGTV, OWN, CityTV and W Network. Constantly creating and evolving new concepts, Nicholas was born for development. His love of music has led him to numerous collaborations with hip-hop music producer Religion, directing videos for Moka Only, EDGE and Pittsburgh native Jasiri X. In addition to lifestyle-reality television, Nicholas is also passionate about the scripted side of things and his latest short film Leave Us Alone had its Los Angeles festival premiere at Screamfest 2013. With a BFA in film production, Nicholas is a graduate from the University of Regina.

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Nicole Clemens

Title: Senior Vice President Series Development
Company: FX Networks

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Nicole Clemens is Senior Vice President and Head of Series Development for FX Networks where she oversees the strategic development of new comedy and drama series for the network as it continues to expand its robust slate of groundbreaking original programming for FX and FXX. Clemens has been instrumental in guiding a coveted roster of critically-acclaimed new original series, which include Tyrant, The Strain, You’re The Worst, Married starring Nat Faxon, Man Seeing Woman starring Jay Baruchel, and The Comedians starring Billy Crystal and Josh Gad. 

Previously, Clemens was head of the motion picture literary department of ICM Partners, a talent and literary agency representing clients in the fields of motion picture, television, publishing, music, theater, branded entertainment and digital media. 

After founding the agency’s life rights department almost 18 years ago and later serving as a book-to-film/television agent, Clemens transitioned into the motion picture literary department, where she presided over an impressive list of clients including Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club), Neil LaBute (Death at a Funeral), Jason Winer (Modern Family, 1600 Penn), Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy), Angela Robinson (True Blood), Jennifer Celotta (The Office),

Prior to her tenure at ICM Partners, Clemens ran Rod Holcomb Productions at NBC and was a television executive at Spelling Television.

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Nicole Perlman

Title: Screenwriter, Guardians of the Galaxy

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Nicole Perlman received her Film and Dramatic Writing degree from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2003. Since then she has gone on to win the Tribeca Film Festival's Sloan Grant for Science in Film for her screenplay Challenger, which also placed on the 2006 Black List. The same year she was named one of Variety Magazine's Top Ten Writers to Watch, and more recently was listed in The Playlist's Ten Screenwriters On the Rise in 2013. Nicole has written for Fox 2000, Universal Studios, National Geographic Films, Disney Studios, Cirque Du Soleil Films, and 20th Century Fox. She was a member of the Marvel Writers Program from 2009 to 2011 where she first began developing Guardians of the Galaxy. She is currently adapting the upcoming YA novel The Fire Sermon for Dreamworks, as well as developing the Matthew Swift fantasy book series for Skydance Television. 

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Ondi Timoner

Title: Director, Creator of A TOTAL DISRUPTION

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Ondi Timoner has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival twice. Her 2004 doc, DIG!, about the collision of art & commerce through the star-crossed rivalry between the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre — and her 2009 top prize-winner, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC, about Internet visionary Josh Harris, who showed by example how willingly we will trade our privacy and in the virtual age — were both acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for their permanent collection. Her other features include Join Us (2007), The Nature of the Beast (1994), and COOL IT (2010).

Ondi is currently directing and producing A Total Disruption, an interactive video portal for innovators, artists and entrepreneurs- documenting the thought leaders and doers who are driving the greatest revolution in the history of mankind with technology. CEA (Chief Executive Artist) is a series of short films that have emerged from A TOTAL DISRUPTION featuring artists like Shepard Fairey in OBEY THE ARTIST, Amanda Palmer in AMANDA F***ING PALMER ON THE ROCKS (Best Doc Short — Sheffield International Doc Fest), and Russell Brand in RUSSELL BRANDS THE BIRD. She also produces and hosts BYOD (Bring Your Own Doc) — the only talk show focused on documentaries in the world, with an archive of over 100 episodes in which Ondi interviews the leaders in doc filmmaking in discussions about their work.

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Phoenix Gonzalez

Title: Co-Founder & COO/Head of Business Development
Company: Dotstudioz

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Phoenix is an entrepreneur who brings 15 years of sales, marketing and business development experience to the company. At Dotstudioz, she successfully delivered the conceptual infrastructure to Scion, Cinemax HBO, and garnered advisors from Vimeo and Rubicon Project. Known for her persistence, her prowess includes building best-in-class teams, and managing social media and tech platforms. She also runs ‘AMP">http://ampexperience.com/">AMP Experience’, her LA-based women’s organization. Gonzalez is an actress who has been in films with Jackie Chan and Forest Whitaker, was Miss Teen Toronto and 1st Runner Up in Miss Cities of America. She studied Electrical Engineering at DeVry University. 

Twitter: @Phoenix Gonzalez | https://www.linkedin.com/in/phoenixg11" target="_blank">LinkedIn

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Prem Gill

Title: Director, Original Production & Programming
Company: TELUS Content Solutions

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Prem is a passionate ambassador for talent development and storytelling. She drives the development of content for TELUS’ community programming commitments on Optik TV and led the creation of http://www.storyhive.com/" target="_blank">STORYHIVE. STORHYHIVE is a Kickstarter-inspired online platform where local creative talent can pitch projects and garner crowd support to compete for funding from TELUS. The top projects as voted on by the community receive production grants from TELUS and distribution on Optik TV.  Prem was recently named in a Globe and Mail article referencing the power list of 10 women who matter in English Canada as film and content creators and decision makers. Prem is also on the board of directors of the Vancouver International Film Festival and the National Screen Institute.

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S. Siobhan McCarthy

Title: Co-creator/Executive Producer, PARKED

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Award winning film and web series producer, S. Siobhan McCarthy, is the CEO and Executive Producer of blyssful Productions and red trike media inc. She is the co-creator, Executive Producer and showrunner of the web series Parked, which is currently on the festival circuit. Parked received funding from the BC Film + Media Interactive Fund, the IPF and Creative BC, and was a part of the CFC Media Lab’s ideaBOOST Affiliate Program. Down Here, her first feature film, premiered at the 2013 Whistler Film Festival. As an innovative, transdisciplinary artist and educator, Siobhan also produced WAM, BC’s first international disability media festival through Kickstart Disability Arts when she was the Co-Artistic Director. While she was there, she executive produced five short films including Will, which won the Golden Sheaf at the 2013 Yorkton Film Festival and Patience and Absurdity, which represented Canada at the Paralympics Games in London in 2012. Siobhan has been the Production Manager of the Vancouver International Film Festival Forum for over a decade. She has a slate of film, television, and web properties in development. In 2014, she was chosen as a Bell Media National Fellow and won the WIFT Banff Scholarship. 

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After leaving her title as Exhibitor Relations Manager at Magnolia Pictures, Sara Kiener began her grassroots outreach tenure with Frederick Wiseman's La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet and Nicole Opper's Off and Running before joining forces with Merrill Sterritt to create Film Presence. Since then, Film Presence has implemented grassroots outreach and social media campaigns for over 50 films – including 20 Feet from Stardom and 5 Broken Cameras - as they prepare for their theatrical, DVD, broadcast and festival premieres, with an emphasis on organizational partnerships and community building. Film Presence has also overseen the outreach and social media for multiple crowdfunding campaigns, including An Honest Liar, Miles Ahead and the 2012 Oscar Shortlisted The Waiting Room. Sara is a member of the IFP Advisory Board.

Twitter: @SaraKiener

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Sarah Dodd

Title: Co-Executive Producer, Motive

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 Sarah completed her B.A. in creative writing and history in art at the University of Victoria, and her M.F.A. in creative writing at the University of British Columbia. Sarah is an experienced screenwriter and story editor whose varied television credits include: PSI Factor Chronicles of the ParanormalCode Name EternityBeastmasterThe Shoebox Zoo, Blood Ties, Falcon BeachThe Border, Endgame, Primeval: New World and Arctic Air. Sarah developed the popular book series The Saddle Club for television and helmed the story department in its first season. After two seasons as the executive story editor and writer on the YTV series Zixx (for which she won a Leo Award for Best Screenwriting), Sarah was promoted to show-runner for its third season. While working continuously in television since 1995, Sarah also co-wrote the award-winning short film The Sparkle Lite Motel with director Cory Kinney and participated in the NSI Features First program with her horror feature Extinction. As a story editor, Sarah has worked on such feature films as DefendorWeirdsville and Hank & Mike. Sarah is currently the co-executive producer on Motive for CTV/NBCU.

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Scott Smith is the director of two acclaimed dramatic feature films, rollercoaster (2000, winner Best Narrative Feature SXSW) and Falling Angels (2004), starring Miranda Richardson, and adapted from the novel by Barbara Gowdy. He has been nominated for both Genie and Gemini Awards for his work in film and television, as well as a Director's Guild nomination for Best Director - Feature Film for Falling Angels. His first feature length documentary, As Slow As Possible, was nominated for the Don Haig Award in 2008.

Scott’s recent television work includes directing the pilot for MTV’s American remake of British teen hit Skins (nominated for Best Dramatic Series Gemini in 2011), the pilot and 13 episodes of hit HBO Canada comedy series Call Me Fitz, starring Jason Priestley (for which he won the Gemini Award for Best Direction in a Comedy Series in 2011 and DGC Award for Best Comedy in both 2011 and 2013).

Most recently, Scott directed the pilot for new Hallmark series Signed Sealed Delivered, created by Martha Williamson and starring Eric Mabius and now serves as an Executive Producer and Director on the series.

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Selena Paskalidis

Title: Co-Founder & CFO/CMO Partner
Company: Dotstudioz

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Selena Paskalidis has more than 10 years of experience in film, television and digital production, as well as creating financial and operational business models in tech and entertainment. At Dotstudioz, she deals with all aspects of the business and manages Dotstudioz’s financials, as well as the marketing strategy and content creation. Paskalidis is a highly accomplished filmmaker, and worked her way up very quickly in Canada’s film, television and digital industries.  She started her career as Head of Business Affairs in long form drama, and moved effortlessly in to development before taking the reins in production. In 2013, Paskalidis has worked with companies such as the Food Network, History Channel, Women’s Network, National Film Board of Canada and the Discovery Network. She has also developed and produced feature length films in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and her current film John Apple Jack will be screening in September at the California Independent Film Festival. 

Paskalidis loves being thrown out of her element, and feels this is when she learns the most and grows as a person. She believes that in order to be a Producer, one needs to understand the business side of finance, marketing and distribution. Her hobbies include basketball, cooking and international travel. She has a BComm in International Business & Marketing, and holds a special place in her heart for Excel. 

Twitter: @salsapasks | https://www.linkedin.com/in/selenapaskalidis" target="_blank">LinkedIn

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Shirley Vercruysse

Title: Executive Producer
Company: National Film Board of Canada

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Shirley Vercruysse is the Executive Producer of the National Film Board of Canada, Pacific & Yukon Studio, based in Vancouver BC. Prior to joining the NFB in February 2014, she was independent film and television producer based in Calgary Alberta. Credits include; Fubar II, the first Canadian film to open the high profile “Midnight Madness” section of the Toronto International Film Festival; Radiant City, winner of the Genie Award for Best Theatrical Documentary & waydowntown winner of the prestigious Toronto City Award for Best Canadian film at Toronto International Film Festival. Other feature credits incldue The Future Is Now!; Angels Crest; Comeback Season; A Problem with Fear. Television credits include Gavin Crawford’s Wild West; My Rona Home, Season's I and II and The Secret of the Nutcracker.

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Simon Davis Barry

Title: Creator, Continuum

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Simon Barry is the Creator/Show-Runner of the top rated and award winning series Continuum, now in its 3rd season on Showcase, SyFy and Netflix. Continuum has been sold in 133 countries world wide.

Simon recently launched Reality Distortion Field (RDF), a Film and TV production company with former Brightlight Pictures co-founder, Stephen Hegyes. RDF is focussed on high quality premium genre content for North American and International audiences.

Over the last 20 years, Simon has sold Film and TV projects to Warner Bros., DreamWorks, Universal, Columbia, Working Title, CBS, FOX, FX, TNT, USA, and many independent companies.

Simon is a graduate of the UBC Film and Television Degree Program and a member of the WGA, WGC, DGC and IATSE. 

Twitter: @SimonDavisBarry

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Straith Schreder

Title: Director of Brand Marketing
Company: BitTorrent

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Straith Schreder joined BitTorrent in 2012 to develop the organization’s publishing platform by working with artists, filmmakers, and fans to design a new storytelling format built for the Internet. BitTorrent Bundle, launched in 2013, is an immersive experience that emphasizes the connection between viewers and creators, a toolkit that allows for sustainable direct-to-fan engagement and distribution, and a social object that increases in value each time it’s shared. Recent Bundle projects include Moby’s community songbook, downloaded over 8 million times, the world’s first 3D printed music video, created by Cut/Copy, digital download as global testimony, in partnership with the Oscar-nominated filmmakers of The Act of Killing, and the crowdfunded original content series, Children of the Machine.

Twitter: @BitTorrent

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Tom Charity

Title: Film Programmer
Company: Vancity Theatre

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Trish Dolman

Title: President, Producer/Director
Company: Screen Siren Pictures

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