In 2023 the festival welcomed award-winning Canadian industry leaders for six robust Creative Forum sessions, which took place on the first two days of the festival. Guests in attendance included critically acclaimed filmmaker Atom Egoyan, Academy Award-winner Daniel Roher, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Meredith MacNeill, Aleysa Young, Matt Johnson, Chandler Levack, Shasha Nakhai, Dan Bekerman, Paul Barkin, Paula Devonshire and more.
2023 Main Stage Film Talks
Next Gen Creators predict the Future
Next Gen creators are expanding the reach and prestige of Canadian cinema around the globe: Chandler Levack’s irresistible comedy I Like Movies, Shasha Nakhai & Rich Williamson’s Scarborough, Andrew Shim’s gorgeous feature Riceboy Sleeps, upcoming buzz films currently in post from both Caitlin Cronenberg and Danis Goulet, … Talented voices from the Next Generation are here to share with you their vision for the future of cinema.
Shasha is a Toronto-based storyteller with over a decade of experience. Her work has aired on the BBC, CBC, ZDF, and Arte; screened at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); been nominated for 16 Canadian Screen Awards;
named TIFF’s Top 10; and shortlisted for an Oscar. Her first drama feature Scarborough, co-directed with Compy Films partner Rich Williamson, was adapted from the award-winning novel by Catherine Hernandez.
A filmmaker and arts critic from Toronto Chandler Levack’s debut feature “I Like Movies” premiered at TIFF in 2022 and has since played and won awards at festivals around the world.
Marriska Fernandes is a Toronto-based entertainment journalist and film critic. She’s the host of Telefilm’s Maple Popcorn podcast and contributes to The Toronto Star, EverythingZoomer.com, Complex.ca, SHARP Magazine and Exclaim.ca. She’s a Tomatometer-approved critic, a member of the Critics Choice Association and the Toronto Film Critics Association.
In the world of film production, it’s a fine line between success and failure. What makes the difference? Creative financing savvy. While many Canadian producers pull together financing from traditional sources (to whom we are all grateful!), the savviest producers all think outside the box. Our speakers will share their harrowing war stories plus insider tips on how to: secure top talent to render your projects more commercial, create bullet proof financing structures, up your creative game to spike market interest, lure private financing, dodge and weave when things fall apart!
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).
A graduate of U of T and CFC alumni, Paula Devonshire is a member of the Mohawks of the Bay, Quinte First Nation. She has worked with acclaimed filmmakers Neil Jordan, Atom Egoyan, George Romero, Jeremiah Chechik and Alex Kurtzman and produced on the feature films Diary of the Dead, sequel and prequel to Ginger Snaps, Real Time, Survival of the Dead, The Right Kind of Wrong, Wet Bum, Remember starring the legendary Christopher Plummer, Indian Horse, Greta, starring Isabel Huppert, Run Woman Run and Stellar.
Paul Barkin has been producing feature films through his company, Alcina Pictures, since 1997. Focussed on director-driven content, Barkin is known for supporting emerging talent, helping projects maximize their potential, and securing financing and strategic partnerships within Canada and internationally. His award-winning films include Danis Goulet’s Canada-New Zealand co-production Night Raiders, Jasmin Mozaffari’s Firecrackers and Cherien Dabis’ Amreeka. Other productions include the post-apocalyptic thriller The Colony starring Lawrence Fishburne and Bill Paxton, the Nordic revenge thriller Hevn, and coming soon, Jason Buxton’s psychological thriller Sharp Corner.
President of Film Finances Canada, Moira Holmes has overseen the completion and delivery of countless films from Canada’s most celebrated producers and directors. Her previous 15 years experience as an independent producer on feature films, episodic television and documentaries garnered her many awards including Genie, Gemini, Cable Ace awards, among others.
Filmmaker Hike with insider tips
Canadian writer-director Atom Egoyan leads forum attendees on a magical hike Into the Forest and up the mountain, stopping periodically to share great behind the scenes stories and insider tips gleaned from a long, distinguished career in cinema, plus share various entertaining stories. Meet us in the woods!
With eighteen feature films and related projects, Atom Egoyan has won numerous awards including five prizes at the Cannes Film Festival – the Grand Prix, International Critics Awards and Ecumenical Jury Prizes – two Academy Award® nominations, twenty-five Genie Awards – now Canadian Screen Awards – including three Best Film Awards – prizes from the National Board of Review and an award for Best International Adaptation at The Frankfurt Book Fair. Egoyan has also been presented at several retrospectives across the globe.
He has directed several award-winning theatre productions and critically-acclaimed opera productions. Atom was honoured with a 2016 Opera Canada Award (Rubie) for Film and Stage Direction. He recently completed production in Toronto on his latest feature project, “Seven Veils”.
Crack Me Up: The Art of the Belly Laugh
Kim’s Convenience, Baroness von Sketch, Schitt’s Creek, Workin’ Mom’s, Trailer Park Boys… the list of Canadian comedies enjoying huge international success goes on and on. How do they do it?! Join a raucous group of beloved comedic actors, creators and a director as they break down the art of comedy.
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee is a four-time Canadian Screen Award winner for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance as family patriarch Appa in Kim’s Convenience. A self-professed nerd, he is a collector of movies, all things Star Wars, and an avid replica prop builder and cosplayer. Most recently, Paul has appeared in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. Upcoming, you can catch Paul as Uncle Iroh in Netflix’s life action remake of AVATAR.
Meredith MacNeill is a Canadian writer, actress and comedian. She co-created and starred in the hit comedy series The Baroness Von Sketch Show and stars in Pretty Hard Cases, for the CBC.
Aleysa Young made her television debut directing the first season of The Baroness Von Sketch Show, which subsequently catapulted her career to working on popular TV shows such as Workin’ Moms, Kim’s Convenience, New Eden, and Ginny & Georgia. Her most recent projects include The Kids In the Hall reboot, Shelved, and Run the Burbs. Her work has garnered numerous awards and nominations, including the Canadian Screen Awards, Directors Guild of Canada, and Canadian Comedy Awards.
One of Canada’s most recognized and sought-after media personalities, Teri Hart is a multi-talented host, interviewer, critic and producer. Currently appearing as the face of Super Channel with Teri Hart’s Super Channel Superpicks. Teri is also a frequent contributor to CBC’s national radio show “Commotion”. The face of The Movie Network for 19 years and the entertainment reporter for CITY News and Breakfast Television for 5 years, Teri has also appeared on The Morning Show (Global), E-Talk and The Social (CTV).
Quintessentially Canadian: The Making of Blackberry
Canada’s best chance ever at dominating the international smart phone market? Blackberry. But did we ever fumble that ball! After great acclaim at their Berlinale world premiere, writer, director and actor Matt Johnson and other special guests reveal how they transformed a tragic national loss into an at turns hilarious, chaotic, and ultimately wild cinematic ride for the masses.
Speakers: Matt Johnson + Others
Torontonian Director Matt Johnson directed The Dirties (2013), Operation Avalanche (2016) and Blackberry (2023). He is also co-creator of the cult comedy series Nirvanna the Band Show (2017-2019) As an actor he has appeared in Anne at 1,300 Feet and Matt and Mara. He teaches film alongside his producing partner Matthew Miller at York University.
Editor-in-Chief and Chief Film Critic of That Shelf, Jason Gorber is a film journalist and member of the Toronto Film Critics Association, OFCS and the Critics Choice Association. He is CBC Radio Metro Morning’s Film Correspondent, and regularly contributes to POV Magazine, RogerEbert.com and CBC Radio’s q programme. His writing has appeared in numerous publications including Esquire, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Screen Anarchy, IndieWire and more.
Case Study: Navalny. Behind-the-scenes on the way to the Oscars
Winning an Oscar is clearly a career highlight, but how do you reconcile the conflicting emotions sparked by the glitz, glamour and relentless demands of Oscar campaigning with the devastating reality of your documentary subject? In this fascinating case study, Oscar-winner Daniel Roher will share how his documentary Navalny came to be – and how life changed on the heels of its stunning success.
Daniel Roher’s films have taken him to every corner of the globe. Most recently, Roher directed the BAFTA, PGA, DuPont, and Academy Award winning documentary, Navalny. The film premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and received both the Audience and Festival Favorite Award and follows Alexei Navalny, leader of the Russian opposition, who survived an assassination attempt by poisoning in the summer of 2020. During Navalny’s months-long recovery, Roher was filming while a team of investigative journalists worked with Navalny to uncover the insidious would-be murder plot.
Prior to NAVALNY, Roher wrote and directed Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band, his feature documentary debut. The film premiered on the opening night of the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. In addition to his film and television work, Roher is an accomplished visual artist whose work has appeared in galleries around the world.
Barry Hertz is the Deputy Arts Editor and Film Editor for The Globe and Mail. He previously served as the Executive Producer of Features for the National Post, and was a manager and writer at Maclean’s before that. Barry’s arts and culture writing has also been featured in several publications, including Reader’s Digest and NOW Magazine. His favourite film franchise is the Fast and Furious series, and he will offer no apologies for that fact.
Location Tips, Tour & Cider Sampling
On this 90 min tour, top location manager John Rakich breaks down how to assess locations for a smooth production. Tour a stunning array of South Georgian Bay sites: chalet mansions, the Peak’s Club House, private beach on South Georgian Bay, our beloved Hindle’s Hardware in charming Clarksburg, Tom Sawyer Swimming hole, The Roost, and the black history museum – culminating with refreshing local cider sampling at Spy Cider House farm.
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.
Blue Mountain Production Liaison: Marni Moreau
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.