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Canadaland Presents: The Backbench Live! VIFF Talk graphic

Canadaland Presents: The Backbench Live!

Live Taping

VIFF Talk with Host Mattea Roach

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When you think about film, art, and creativity, government policy probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Make no mistake about it, our policy makers and politicians can crucially impact the art we make, who gets to make it, and the culture we consume. Good policy can create a thriving, diverse culture — and bad policy can destroy it.

Join Backbench host Mattea Roach and special guests for an unforgettable LIVE podcast taping! Be part of our urgent, thoughtful, and entertaining conversation exploring the contentious Bill C-11 with its potential to disrupt the status quo, the challenges of filmmaking in Canada, and the David-and-Goliath-like struggle of independent art venues against the dominance of the industry giant.


Media Partner


Corinne Lea, Dennis Heaton, Hayden Wazelle, Karen Lam & Matt Hatfield

Hosted by Mattea Roach

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Oct 3


6:30 pm


The Rio

90 min

Book Tickets

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Mattea Roach headshot

Mattea Roach

Mattea Roach is a writer and podcaster based in Toronto whose work engages with Canadian politics and media criticism. They are the current host of The Backbench, a podcast from Canadaland focusing on Canadian federal politics. They have been featured as a panelist on CBC’s Canada Reads and Commotion with Elamin Abdelmahmoud, as well as at events held by TIFF Bell Lightbox and the University of Southern California. Mattea is best known for their appearances on the game show Jeopardy!, and is the most successful Canadian contestant to ever appear on the program.

Corinne Lea

In 2021 in response to the ongoing closures of theatres during the pandemic Corinne turned The Rio into a “sports bar” to protest the political and social bias that allowed sports to reopen while arts venues remained closed.

In 2022 Corinne co-founded Room 228 Films and is writing her first book, Art House Confidential, about The Rio. As Executive Producer, she recently completed Room 228’s first short film, Tiger By The Tail, and the comedy feature film, Outrunners. Corinne is developing several features & continues to run the helm at The Rio.

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Dennis Heaton headshot

Dennis Heaton

Dennis Heaton is a Vancouver-based screenwriter and Showrunner renowned for his deft balance of comedy and the macabre, as showcased in his cult classic zombie movie Fido (2006). Premiering the same year, Heaton’s short film Head Shot – the story of a failed actor fighting for a part in a snuff film – went on to win accolades at festivals around the world, including the prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. Heaton then served as head-writer and Showrunner on such hits as Call Me Fitz and Motive before going on to create the young adult horror-comedy series The Order for Netflix. The global success of The Order led directly to Heaton’s second series for Netflix, The Imperfects.

Hayden Wazelle headshot

Hayden Wazelle

Hayden is a Vancouver-based media & entertainment producer and co-founder of He is the chair of the Black Screen Office (BSO), and sits on the national boards of the Canadian Independent Screen Fund (CISF) for BPOC Creators, and the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), as well as the Motion Picture Production Industry Assoc. of BC (MPPIA).

Karen Lam headshot

Karen Lam

Karen has worked full-time in the film and television industry since 2000. Starting her career as a producer and entertainment lawyer, Karen has since written and directed eight short films; three music videos; a true-crime documentary series for Investigation Discovery (US); a web series, Mythos (2015), created for TELUS; and four feature-length films — Stained (2010), Evangeline (2013) and The Curse of Willow Song (2020), which premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival in September 2020.  The film won the award for Best British Columbia Feature Film, and Karen received a Best Director award at the British Columbia Leo Awards (2021).  Karen has also written television scripts for SYFY and Netflix on the series Van Helsing and Ghost Wars. In 2021, Karen directed the seventh instalment in the Bring It On cheerleading franchise, a Halloween horror special titled Bring It On:  Cheer Or Die (2022) that premiered on SYFY. And in 2023, The Curse of Willow Song will finally be available worldwide on September 26.

Matt Hatfield headshot

Matt Hatfield

Matt Hatfield is the Campaigns Director at OpenMedia, a grassroots community of approximately 380,000 people in Canada and the US who collaborate to keep our internet open, accessible, and surveillance-free. He holds degrees in international relations from UBC and the University of Toronto, and prior to OpenMedia, spent 5 years defending freedom of expression from autocrats and violence at IFEX, a global network of freedom-of-expression groups.

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