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SPEAKER SESSIONS

1pm to 3pm

Melissa moderates this popular industry know-how event. She shares her in depth celebrity advice and experiences. Joining the sessions are industry experts in producing, writing, directing, on-camera performance and much, much, more!

NETWORKING & ROUNDTABLES

3:15pm to 5:30pm

Melissa shares her celebrity experiences and advice is joined by industry experts in producing, writing, directing, on-camera performance and much much more!

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She is the face and force behind Out There with Melissa DiMarco, which is one of the country's longest-running comedy/variety series, also syndicated in international markets.  For over 15 years, Melissa has produced ground-breaking television with a trademark for innovative shows. She has created hundreds of hours of content for networks including Rogers Media, Global, CHCH, FOX, and Out TV. 

As an experienced content creator from all sides: writing, directing, showrunning, editing and on-camera. Highlights include: An Evening with Oliver Stone, Out There with Melissa DiMarco, Dreamseekers, Confessions of a Go-To-Girl, and Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. As an actor/host, Melissa has also interviewed hundreds of A-list celebrities from Brad Pitt and George Clooney to Julia Roberts and Lady Gaga. Melissa has long acted in a number of North America’s most memorable productions. She starred in the Emmy-winning drama, Degrassi: The Next Generation, CBC's Riverdale, as well as films like Red Green’s Duct Tape Forever and Hustle: The Pete Rose Story.

​Melissa and her production company Out There Productions Inc. has won the U.S. International Film and Video Festival’s Outstanding Achievement in Creative Excellence Award, and has been nominated for 2 Banff Rockie Awards for Best TV and Variety Show and 2 Canadian Comedy Awards for Best Writing and Best TV Series. 

Our Former Speakers and Networking Guests

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Director of Photography

Yakubiw’s interest in photography & cinematography began early, he recalls analyzing the tunnel scenes from the sixties movie "The Great Escape". The high school years finally brought some practical photographic experience, which also guided Yakubiw’s interest in motion picture photography.

 

After completing Cinematography studies at Humber College, Yakubiw’s "real-world film business" started from the ground up, literally, "sweeping studio floors" as a Production Assistant, but his desire to become a Director of Photography quickly advanced him through to the Lighting Department. There, Yakubiw gained valuable experience on various dramas, commercials, music videos, and industrials.

 

Subsequent work as a Gaffer honed his lighting skills to the point where Yakubiw was ready to make the next logical transition.

 

In 1987, Yakubiw began to promote himself as a Director of Photography and gained credits on Murdoch Mysteries (2008-), Love You to Death (2006) and The Famous Jett Jackson (1998).

Producer/Head of Marquee Insurance

MARQUEE INSURANCE

Stephanie Herrera heads the entertainment division at McCam Insurance Brokers, called Marquee Insurance. What makes her stand out from other brokers is her firsthand experience in the entertainment industry.

 

Stephanie’s work in the arts has led to nominations for a Latin American Achievement Award and a Canadian Comedy Award. She is a multi-awarding-winning actor, writer, and artistic director and has performed in a plethora of TV, film, theatre, and as a voice talent.

 

She was the host and community producer on several Rogers TV shows, is a published author, is the founder of Durham Improv, and has sat on several film festival judging panels and acted as the Director of Industry Operations for a number of them.

Director

Sergio Navarretta is an internationally award-winning director who is fiercely passionate about bringing meaningful content to the screen. He draws inspiration from Italian neorealism and considers his work an exploration of the human condition. Navarretta’s projects are touching, relevant, inclusive, often humorous, and most importantly, entertaining.

 

Navarretta made his directorial debut with LOOKING FOR ANGELINA, a true crime feature that tells the story of one of the most sensational murder cases in North American history. LOOKING FOR ANGELINA won numerous awards, was showcased at festivals around the world, played to sold-out theatres in fifteen Canadian cities, and ranked amongst the top five in box office revenues for Canadian films at the time.

 

Currently, Navarretta is back in the director’s chair with his passion project, THE CUBAN, starring: Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. (AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN); Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (THE HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG); Ana Golja (Degrassi: Next Class); Lauren Holly (DUMB AND DUMBER) and Giacomo Gianniotti (Grey’s Anatomy).  THE CUBAN tells the story of a naïve pre-med student named Mina (Golja) who develops an unlikely friendship with Luis, an elderly Cuban musician with dementia (Gossett Jr.).  

 

Just prior to the quarantine orders necessitated by COVID19 all over the world, THE CUBAN screened at the Whistler Film Festival and the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, winning top awards at each. THE CUBAN is slated for North American release in 2020 and features the music of Grammy-nominated piano virtuoso, Hilario Duran.

Filmmaker

Andrea Beça is a filmmaker and storyteller. They graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and from the University of Glasgow with an MLitt in Playwriting and Dramaturgy. When asked what they write, they like to say they've written a whole lot of everything, from short stories and novellas to reports, essays, plays, blog posts, screenplays, speeches, web content, e-books, and ad campaigns. They started an indie theatre company, Cowardly Kiss Theatre, when they were just 19, through which they wrote directed, and produced plays for almost a decade.

 

They started shooting and editing video in 2011, and started pursuing filmmaking more seriously in 2013. It’s been the heart of their career since 2015. Since then, they’ve written, directed, shot, produced, and edited a number of films including the winner of the Oregon Documentary Film Festival’s Best International Film of 2019 "We All Believe in You." Recently, they were nominated for a Canadian Cinema Editors award for "Solidarity Film Camp" a short doc that captures the pilot year of a film camp aimed to educate, empower, and inspire marginalized youth in the Edmonton community.

Director

David Wellington is a director and producer based in Toronto Canada. His first feature film, A Man in Uniform, premiered in the Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. He followed up with a screen adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night which won best Canadian feature film at TIFF.

 

His extensive television credits include: The Kids in the Hall, Queer As Folk, The Eleventh Hour, Rookie Blue, Orphan Black, Knightfall and Vikings.

 

In addition, he has directed commercials for clients such as Bell, Coke, Kellogg’s, Ikea, Westjet, Molson and Coors. His work has garnered dozens of nominations and awards worldwide. David is a member of both the DGA and the DGC.

Producer

Muniré Armstrong is a Turkish/Canadian producer based in Toronto with her production company YN Films that was established in 2010.

 

Her recent productions include two feature films shot at Northern Ontario, Canada, Witches in the Woods (2018, director: Jordan Barker) and Tainted (2019, director: Brent Cote) as a coproducer; a fictional web series called Ashbridge (first season - broadcasted on CBC GEM in June, 2019); a feature film called Kreuzberg (premiered at The Montreal World Film Festival), shot in Berlin, Germany and directed by Carl Bessai, distributor Industry Works.  Bikini Moon which was shot in New York City, written and directed by Oscar-nominated Milcho Manchevski in 2016, premiered at Sao Paola International Festival and screened at many international film festivals (Shanghai, Cinequest, Nashville), was theatrically released in USA and is currently being disturbed by Flix Premier and UMC (SVOD) in the USA.

Her earlier feature productions include Bosnian/Canadian director Igor Drljaca’s second feature film The Waiting Room (2015, funded by Telefilm, HGF, Art Councils) premiered at Locarno Film Festival and TIFF, Turkish director Selim Gunes’ first feature film White as Snow (2010, Turkey/ Greece coproduction) premiered at the Chicago Film Festival (2010) and screened and won awards at many international festivals. She has recently completed the production of a feature film called The Protector (2021, director Lenin M. Sivam). She is developing several feature film and fictional series projects with Canadian and international partners.

Bobby 

Del Rio

Playwright, Screenwriter, Filmmaker

Bobby Del Rio is a repped Hollywood actor, writer and director.

 

Most recently, Bobby wrote/directed the feature film The Market - signing a distribution deal with Parallel Universe Pictures during quarantine. The film is currently available on Amazon Prime in the United States and United Kingdom, Vimeo on Demand in Canada.

 

Bobby's play Professionally Ethnic was a critical success at the 2017 SummerWorks festival - with NOW Magazine including the play on lists for: Outstanding Play, Outstanding Ensembles and Outstanding Production. The play was previously published in the prestigious academic journal Canadian Theatre Review.

Bobby served as Creator & Showrunner of IRL the Series - sold to Bell Media for television broadcast. Bobby also directed the short film Dusk - nominated for a 2020 Leo Award. Bobby has become one of the top film moderators on Clubhouse, curating many influential rooms in Hollywood.

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Writer

Kaleigh Sutton is a Toronto based writer and director. She worked her way up to a Development Executive role at Chesler/Permutter Productions, where she wrote, pitched, and developed films for various networks including Hallmark, MTV, Netflix, and Lifetime.

 

She also directed, produced and co-wrote a web series pilot called Date Me. Currently, Kaleigh is the Showrunner Assistant to Melissa DiMarco at Out There Productions, where she is involved in various creative endeavours including writing TV show bibles, TV Movie Treatments,  Pitch Decks, and paid programming. During her time at home, Kaleigh has been working on a feature script and improving her posture.

Creative Director 

FEARLESS

Matkai Burmaster is the co-founder of the Fearless streaming service and a self-made filmmaker behind So That Happened, It's Complicated, Stripped and Committed. Matkai is proudly LGBTQ and is a vocal activist for the inclusion of LGBTQ, female, Black, Indigenous and Disabled perspectives in the film industry.

 

He is also an ACTRA member and works with various local and national arts and film initiatives. Matkai lives in Toronto with his husband and cat and you can often find him supporting local

small businesses and events

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Writer

MK Morris - is a Toronto-based content creator with a love for improv and sketch comedy.

 

Here are some fast facts about her: 

  • ​MK Morris co-produced the comedy sketch channel  Wishful Genies and it's one of her very favourite things - it's also a Where's Waldo of MK voiceovers.

  • Is a Second City Conservatory graduate, and was a Tim Sims Nominee in 2016

  • Has been a DGC Member since 2015 and worked for 5 years before that as an AD/Project Manager on various non-union projects

  • Was the 2nd AD on the Ubisoft Game Watch Dogs: Legion - scheduling things that don't exist is a really cool puzzle.

  • MK Morris produced and hosted the monthly Second City show "See You Next Tuesday" - all proceeds go to the Redwood Women's shelter, a rad charity that you should check out. 

  • Comedians Getting High and Watching Hallmark is a terrifically fun web series/livestream that she does with Rachel Manson.

  • MK Morris worked with comedy powerhouses Comedy League, Cackle Comedy, and Identical Twins Productions 

Assistant Director

James Cho is an assistant director currently residing in Toronto, Canada. He started his career catching the 'co-production trend'

 

in Beijing, China in 2008 where he had the privilege of working with some of the best talent from Hollywood and all over the world. James has worked all over the world, including countries such as China, Philippines, Thailand, Germany, France, Morocco, Iceland and Dubai.

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Brad

Milne

Producer, Director, Actor, Coach

Brad Milne is an entrepreneur, producer, director, actor and coach with 275+ Acting assignments in the past 30 years coupled with 20 successful years experience as an acting coach. Brad has guided more than 1500 students in classes, workshops, seminars, bootcamps and in private sessions in the U.S. and Canada. Overseeing the day to day operations at Milne Studio, he has worked from concept to completion on feature films, TV-Pilots, commercial campaigns, corporate video libraries and more.

 

His coaching of others started in sports as a teen when he guided freestyle skiers to championship levels through his training camps. Less than a decade later and after acquiring his own title of Canadian National Amateur Champion in his freestyle skiing discipline he applied his coaching skills to business where he helped foster success for individuals and companies of all sizes through sales, business development and strategic consulting. From these combined experiences Brad brings a holistic understanding of the artistic and entrepreneurial aspects of the acting career and its intricate craft.

Andrew

Morris

Broadcast: Development and Production Executive

ACCESSIBLE MEDIA INC. 

Andrew Morris is a Development and Production Executive at Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), a not-for-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. In his role, Andrew oversees all independent productions from concept to delivery for AMI-tv.

 

Some recent highlights include commissioning the documentary series Mind Set Go, a 2020 Venice TV Award and multi Leo Award nominee; the series Employable Me, winner of the Banff World Media Festival Rockie Award for Best Lifestyle
Series the past three years in a row; and the podcast/TV series What Happened to Holly Bartlett, one of Oprah Magazine's “12 True-Crime Podcasts That Will Give You Goosebumps”.

Assistant Director, Production Assistant

Alanna Nish is a filmmaker and member of the Directors Guild of Canada and has been an active member in the film & tv industry in Toronto for over 10 years.

Alanna has worked on Star Trek- Discovery, The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Mirror, Mrs. America, Murdoch Mysteries and American Gods, to name a few. Most recently, Alanna was the personal assistant to Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 4).

Her other positions on set include being a 2nd Assistant Director (Disasters At Sea, Intervention Canada, Paranormal 911, Surviving Evil, Nowhere To Hide) and 4th Assistant Director (The Handmaids Tale, American Gods, Incorporated), and Production Assistant on various productions.

When she isn’t working on set, she is creating her own projects. Her husband, Dani Rosenoer, is a music producer and songwriter, they have been creating videos and music together since they met. They have a duo project, Lani + Dani, and released their debut 5 song EP  ‘Crave It’, July 2020.

Editor

Paul Whitehead has been a fixture in the Toronto Post Production community for over 30 years. He has worked on over 90 feature film and television productions both as a First Assistant Picture Editor and Picture Editor. Throughout his career, Paul has always mentored those starting out in the industry and for the last ten years has taught others the art of Assistant Editing in his popular two-day course held by the Canadian Cinema Editors and recently also by the Directors Guild of Canada. Paul believes strongly that experience must be passed on to maintain the high standards that Canadian crews are known for.

Production Designer, Art Director

Ann Bromley has 25 years' experience from the ground up in the art department. A storyteller and designer by nature, she is passionately creative in the pursuit of excellence; sanguine under pressure; and exacting in her attention to detail. A collaborative team builder, she is creatively left-brained, finding practical and budget conscious solutions in support of design objectives.

Aravind

Sundar

Sound Editor/Designer

Aravind Sundar is a sound editor and designer working on feature films, television shows, podcasts, and streaming content for platforms like Netflix. He has worked on over 80 films, 100 episodes of television and online streaming shows, and 200 episodes of podcasts in over 10 languages.

 

Projects he has worked on have won multiple awards at film festivals and award shows around the world and have made it to cinemas and television screens in over 20 countries.  He has a Master's degree in Audio Production and having worked in Mumbai (India) and London (UK) in the past, he has been working out of Toronto for the last 2 years.

 

Some of his award-winning credits from his work in India include Hotel Salvation (2016), Daddy (2017), Hamid (2018), Paka (2021) and some of his more recent Canadian credits include The Next Step (2019), Hudson & Rex (2019), Frankie Drake Mysteries (2019). 

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Assitant Editor, Editor

Spencer has been making movies since highschool. His job at summer camp was to make a video per week for the entire camp to watch. He attended McGill University majoring in English and History, but spent most of his time watching movies.

 

He was assistant to the photographer of the Toronto Raptors and worked as a producer's assistant on CBS network TV shows. Since 2014 he worked on the editing teams for major advertising campaigns, TV shows and Films.

 

A documentary Spencer edited about Nick Cage's Stand in played at hot docs in 2019. He most recently worked on Baroness Von Sketch Show and edited a show for CBC Gem, Late Night in the Studio. He is currently pursuing his MFA at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and recently cut his first feature film, Magnolia Flowers, due to be released summer 2021.

Daryl

Ledwon

Mandy Representative

MANDY.COM

 

Daryl has been in the Film and Television industry for years both in front and behind the camera. As an actor, he has worked on various television programs such as Unexpected Killer, MurderBoard, Paranormal Survivor and Killer Affair as well as indie films like A Song for Us, Snowed Inn and others. A theatre performer, he has been in many plays and musicals across Canada.  He also regularly consults with production companies and casting directors to source talent and crew as the Canadian representative for Mandy.com.

Assistant Director, Production Assistant

Akhil Khithani is an Assistant Director in the Directors Guild of Canada with multiple big-budget T.V and Movie credits under his belt. His credits include Suits (2018), American Gods (2020), Star Trek: Discovery (2021), The Man From Toronto (2020), and Workin’ Mom’s (2020) to name a few.

 

Graduating from Toronto Film School in 2015, Akhil started his AD career at the CFC, 1st AD’ing multiple projects for both the Actors and Directors conservatories respectively. Wanting to improve his craft, he joined the DGC in 2016 and has been working steadily since as a Set PA and more recently, a 3rd A.D.

 

His love for AD’ing stems from his love of music. While AD’ing, he views the set as an orchestra of which he is the conductor. As orchestras must be on tempo and in tune with one another, so must a film crew in order to move forward harmoniously. But instead of grabbing a conductor’s baton, he prefers a walkie

General Manager 

RAVEN BANNER ENTERTAINMENT 

Michaelangelo Masangkay, founding Partner of Top Drone Inc., Director of Production at Toronto Film School and General Manager of Raven Banner Entertainment.

 

Known as a creative suit, Michaelangelo Masangkay has the uncanny knack of transforming and anchoring the projects he participates in by having a discerning understanding of great creative that achieves commercial viability.

 

Using his innate producer smarts, boundless creativity, passion and exceptional resource networks he has stretched every dollar, maximized every opportunity and optimized production value for some of the most successful independent productions in Canada and beyond.
 

From producing a world-renowned Men’s Fashion Week with 22 menswear designer runway shows every Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter as a founding member of TOM* to being resourceful as an Associate Producer for all Hangar 18 Media productions, Michaelangelo Masangkay has earned a reputation as an empowering and engaging leader, committed to his productions and reliably at the helm of every project he takes on.  

Adam

Pal

Director, Writer, Producer

Twenty-five years ago, Adam Pal was coined, ‘a small-town boy with worldwide gusto’ doing live shows from Toronto to China, Las Vegas to Israel. Pal was willing to do anything in the business. “If all the world’s a stage, I am the best boy key grip” -Pal

Pal is the owner/operator of Glass Ceiling Productions, producer, and creator of 4 short union films, producer of digital content, online radio shows, national tv, theatre content and social media.

Pal has taken time to create short stories and is reviewing publishers for a partnership to promote his Novella, Novelette, and said short stories.

Corey

Brown

Screenwriter

Corey Brown has written three feature films, Clean Break (Best Drama Feature at Atlanta Horror Film Festival), Silent Retreat (Best Canadian Feature at Toronto After Dark Film Festival), and Blood Hunters (Audience choice at Hamilton Fright Night Theatre Film Festival) which all have worldwide distribution. Blood Hunters was selected to be part of the Frontieres Market in Brussels (under its working title One Drop) and premiered at London’s FrightFest Film Festival in 2016. Corey was selected to attend the NBC Universal Development Incubator through WIFT and Telefilm in 2006.

 

Corey’s short film scripts include Marv Freetell's Wedding Day (Bravo!FACT), Searching For Wonder (Bravo!FACT, NFB, Reel Asian, Charles Street Video), and an adaptation of Jessica Grant's short story Humanesque. As well, he shared the N Youth Drama Prize and the Kodak Audience Choice Award at the Banff Television Festival for Waiting in the Wings. His script for Buying Time, co-written by Tricia Lee, was a second-rounder at the 2018 Austin Film Fest Script Competition.