Behind the scenes 2022
Helen duToit -
Festival & Creative Director
For three decades Helen du Toit’s passion for building community, developing talent, and inspiring audiences has made for an exciting international career as a programmer, indie film producer and event planner.
Helen is a Genie nominated producer. Her various production credits include serving as U.S. co-producer on Mark Cousins critically acclaimed 15 hour documentary The Story of Film: An Odyssey, about the evolution of creativity in international cinema. She developed an Italian-Canadian co-production based on John Berger’s novel To the Wedding to be directed by award-winning director Andrea Pallaoro.
A long-term film fan, Helen consulted for film festivals in various capacities for over two decades. She produced the TIFF’s Talent Lab for five years and was Creative Director of Vancouver IFF’s Film & TV Forum for three years. As Artistic Director, Helen was instrumental in rebuilding the Palm Springs International Film Festival, building their audience share into the third highest attendence in the U.S.
Diana Sanchez -
Co-Director of Film Programming
Joining Helen as Co-Director of Programming is Diana Sanchez!
Diana spent over sixteen years as an International Programmer at TIFF, becoming a highly influential voice in the international film festival circuit.
“Beyond building a strong festival line-up alongside Helen,” Diana shares, “I am equally looking forward to welcoming our industry colleagues to our Creative Forum to reignite their shared passion for great cinema in an intimate and inspiring setting.”
Our Advisory Committee
Daniel Bekerman Head of Committee
One of Canada’s most prolific producers, Daniel Bekerman produced The Witch (Sundance and Indie Spirit winner), Falling (directed by Viggo Mortensen), Come To Daddy (starring Elijah Wood) and Percy Vs. Goliath (starring Christopher Walken) amongst many others. His company Scythia Films is also one of the country’s leading service production providers (How It Ends, Ready Or Not, The Craft, Firestarter)
An award-winning Anishinaabe/Ashkenazi multi-disciplinary artist, Tamara Podemski transitions seamlessly from Broadway to the Great Tipi on Manitoulin Island and the Aboriginal People’s TV Network to HBO Studios, sharing stories that amplify under-represented and marginalized voices. Tamara received the Sundance Special Jury Prize for Acting, an IFC Spirit Award, Best Music Video Award at imaginative and American Indian Film Festival Awards, and an ACTRA Award and Canadian Screen Award for her role on CBC’s “Coroner.” Her new Amazon series “Outer Range,” is set to air in Spring 2022.
Tara Woodbury Netflix
Netflix Canada’s first content executive, Tara Woodbury is in charge of developing and commissioning all Canadian scripted series. Previously as EP & VP Dev for Sphere Media Plus, Tara developed and EP’d the smash medical hit Transplant for CTV and NBC. As an independent producer, her sci-fi thriller Night Raiders by director Danis Goulet was a TIFF Gala, won the DGC Discovery Award, and is being distributed by Samuel Goldwyn in the US.
Senior VP Business Development for the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Jennifer Frees formerly served as VP Partnerships at the Toronto International Film Festival. An internationally sought-after business development speaker and workshop facilitator, Jennifer also serves on various boards, including Holland-Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and ArtStarts.
Drew Fagan is a professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto and a senior advisor at McMillan Vantage Policy Group. He is a former deputy minister of infrastructure and of tourism, culture and sport with the Province of Ontario. In addition to BMFF, he is a board member of Waterfront Toronto, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall.
Sudz Sutherland Filmmaker
Award-winning writer/director Sudz Sutherland premiered his first feature film Love, Sex and Eating the Bones at TIFF, which won the Best First Feature Award and 3 Genie nominations. Doomstown, his next feature won 3 Gemini Awards including Best TV Movie and Best Direction. A prolific TV director, at 9PM on February 26th on History Channel, Sudz releases his highly anticipated 4 part docu-series about Black History, entitled BLK: An Origin Story.
Known for her care and passion for story, creative producer Allison Black most recently produced the international award winning Giant Little Ones by director Keith Behrman, which premiered at TIFF ’18. Previously, she produced director Nathan Morlando’s award winning Cannes Film Festival Mean Dreams, and the TIFF award winning debut feature Citizen Gangster. Black is currently in development on several feature and series projects
A seasoned Location Manager, John Rakich is the current President of the Location Managers Guild International and the Location Caucus Representative for the board of the Directors Guild of Canada (Ontario). A frequent speaker about filming in Canada, production sustainability, labour workforce development and training, and the economic benefits of location-based filming, John is also a regular panelist at San Diego Comic Con. His production credits include American Gods, Shadow Hunters, and The Expanse.
After working in advertising and marketing at CHUM Television, CTV, and Rogers Sportsnet, Marni Moreau happily returned to South Georgian Bay to promote CMH Heli Skiing and the Ikon Pass to ski enthusiasts, and to develop Blue Mountain as a location for film and production projects. Marni is the Co-Founder of BMFF.
Stephanie Azam is the Vice President of Development and Acquisitions at MK2|MILE END, an independent Canadian distribution company. Before joining MK2|Mile End, Stephanie was National Feature Film Executive at Telefilm Canada where she oversaw production financing for all of English Canada. Prior to that, she was the Director of Theatrical Marketing at Zeitgeist Films in New York.